A Start-up’s Guide to Content – Part 1: The Necessities
Anyone planning to bring a business idea to the market has plenty of other things to worry about besides content. However, good content is a crucial part of successful branding on the Internet. A company’s image, and thus its ultimate success, depends on the right kind of communication. Sooner rather than later, those launching start-ups should begin to think about how they communicate, how they convey their message, and what content they want to use to represent their company.
We will look at the most important ways to begin customer communications and show you what type of content will be useful for your new company. Part 1 explains how start-up content should look and how best to deploy your website and blog content.
How should start-up content be designed?
The content required to achieve your own communication objectives will vary according to the industry, product or type of communication. However, there is a kind of “initial-phase content:” content that every company can use right from the start – even when time, money or resources are in short supply. This is content which, though relatively simple and inexpensive to produce, is at the same time very important to increase your reach, spread your ideas, strengthen your brand and distribute your product.
In many respects, start-ups are much the same as any other company: Just like small businesses or corporations, they have employees, products and goals, and they must find customers and transact sales. Nevertheless, there are features that differentiate start-ups from other companies. Forbes offers an apt definition stating that start-ups are mostly new, rather small companies often with very specific, innovative ideas. As a basic rule, they are somewhat short of cash but have plenty of potential for growth.
These distinct start-up characteristics also affect their content. On the one hand, they restrict their ability to communicate – because of budget restrictions, for example, the content should be as affordable as possible. On the other hand, the idiosyncratic approach of some young companies also presents opportunities they could employ for their communication.
Unique: The more unusual aspects of your start-up can be translated into your own communication approach. This allows companies to create some unique features.
Innovative: Innovative ideas can have an especially motivating effect on users and customers. If you communicate your innovation well, you can position your company as something distinctive.
Growth potential: Your potential for growth can not only be used as an internal motivation, it can also be used to develop a positive brand image and communicate it to the world.
Tight margins: Having a low budget does not have to be exclusively negative. In communication, it can help to convey a specific image of the company. A small start-up with big ambitions and huge challenges can gain a good deal of sympathy.
So what content does a start-up need?
The character and attributes of your content are important, but good content and the right communication channel must go hand in hand. Basically, start-ups can access the same channels as established companies. However, some types of content are more important for young companies than others, and some channels are particularly suitable for start-ups and their peculiarities. The following content types would form a basic package:
1. Website Content:
Whether it’s a start-up or a large business, your website presence must be appropriate. For start-ups, the website provides an opportunity to attract visitors using your ideas, and it offers a chance to convince them of your vision. Where else could your brand image be better realized than on your own website? In addition, your website is the ideal place to present and explain your own product.
What should your website content look like?
Depending on the development phase of your start-up and the stage of the Customer Journey, a website should focus on information-driven or transaction-driven needs. For example, during the early stages when it’s a matter of increasing your company reach, well-prepared informational content can help you improve your brand image better than strictly transaction-driven communication – even on your website.
Use content to attract users and potential customers to your web presence. Explain the uniqueness and strength of your product and why it’s so innovative. Create your unique company brand via your website. With exciting, high-quality communication, your chances of turning users into brand ambassadors increases: Enthusiastic users will recommend your product to others.
The cost of a website will vary in accordance with how much you invest in the technical infrastructure and design. In terms of content, it’s a good idea for start-ups to write content themselves to keep down costs. After all, nobody knows your product, your business, or your perception of what you wish to communicate better than yourself. If resources are scarce, or you have little faith in your own writing skills, it may be worthwhile to outsource the copywriting.
What specific content should be created?
Home page: Often, and certainly for the time being, a single page that captures and explains your whole idea, your product, your prices etc.
Vision / About: A page that focuses on the idea, history, and vision of your start-up
How-to / Product page: A product page that explains exactly what your product is for, for whom it is intended, and how it works
Prices and plans: The exact pricing and payment models relating to your product
2. Blog content:
A blog is an excellent way to inform and entertain your users and potential customers with your own content. Blogs can be written relatively cheaply and – provided they are properly targeted and distributed – should create more enthusiastic customers.
What should your blog content look like?
You can use your blog to creatively deal with every topic that relates to your products or company. A blog is not about selling to the reader, so the content does not have to be transactional. Instead, you should aim to build a relationship with your customers and interact with them. Reach new readers and create a positive image by publishing informative, entertaining, and interesting content. This will turn your readers into fans and followers.
Your company blog is also the place where you can position yourself as an expert. The big advantage you will have as a blogger is you bring expertise, know-how, and a passion for your product. You won’t have the same freedom to employ and express your own special style anywhere else, so a blog is the ideal vehicle to help consolidate your brand.
If you write it yourself, then blog content is relatively cheap. However, founders and CEOs of start-ups will always have limited resources. Some alternative approaches include: guest articles (an inexpensive option), your own editorial department (rather expensive), or the copywriting department (cheap to expensive, depending on the provider). When your business grows bigger and needs more content, you will also need to think about scaling.
What specific types of content are available?
– News: News about your company or industry
– Helpful blog articles on your own topics, including guest articles
– Interviews with experts
– Case Studies / E-books / White papers
Good website content and interesting blog content are your first steps to developing a communication style that will convince your customers. In Part 2 of this series, you will discover why landing page content is important for start-ups and what good newsletter and email content should look like.
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