Almost all companies across all industries now have blogs, but not all of them are seizing the benefits of this tool for their marketing and PR strategies.
For startups, blogs are probably the best platform to channel their content. If you create good content, sharing and spreading it becomes easier and more effective.
From my experience writing articles for a financial startup, no matter the industry you’re in, thoughtful content creation and some planning with your team will make the difference.
So You Want to Sell?
When planning your content and discussing with your team, go beyond the simple objective of selling your product. That’s your ultimate goal, but not your means to it. Instead, think of the difference you can make, both in/for your industry and your reader’s/buyer’s life. Even if your company is offering a product or service, good content addressing needs and communicating interesting information will just drive you to an effective PR and sales strategy, because you will be creating value for everyone.
Blogs are not meant to be a platform to put excessive content about your company or your product, so don’t make it a sales pitch. Write about things that matter to the audience you want to reach, address their needs and concerns, and, if you can, at the moment they need it. That’s how you create genuine engagement and how you earn trust.
Here are a few tips:
- Your audience is the center of all your strategy. Understand your audience – permanently. Your target audience is not just the one you defined when working on your business model. People and circumstances change, new problems and situations appear, and you need to do your best to be aware of all that. If you can provide the answer to their questions, if you’re there for them at the time they need you, people will appreciate it and it will help you build their trust in your brand.
- Find your own personality. The tone you use is a factor you need to shape according to your industry and your audience. You can be playful if you’re addressing kids in an online education platform, but for the health or financial industry, you might want to sound more formal and solid. You might also learn along the way the tone your people feel more comfortable with. It’s a permanent test, especially as your audience starts growing.
- Use your audience’s feedback as fuel for future posts. Be open and interactive. Questions, comments, and even critiques can be a great source of ideas for new material, and debate is good. Check other blogs in your industry for two reasons: to glean how good they are, and to seize the chance to cover what they might be overlooking.
- Make it look nice and useful. Nice doesn’t mean complex, multicolor or too eclectic. A blog needs to be simple and neat looking. Help yourself with images and/or photos if need be, and turn complex data into simple infographics. For photos, try to be original and real, don’t just go to stock photo sites. You can even take your own pictures and then play a little with Instagram or other photo-editing tools that will differentiate you from the crowd.
Sharing the content you create is also important. And while social media is a great tool, not every network is appropriate for every industry. Find the channels that best suit your sector, personality and content. But first, you need to commit to offering quality content.
If you’re the CEO of your startup and not the blogger (although you might be both), let that person be authentic and creative with the writing. You probably can’t afford an editor now, and blogs are not newspapers, so just provide the guidelines and define the overall points above.
Additionally, if you’re thinking of launching a blog soon, make sure you have a stock of articles ready beforehand that can cover you for one or two weeks. It will give you time to keep working on new material while keeping readers entertained.
Lastly, don’t forget to update regularly (search engines reward frequency), and always double-check grammar and spelling.
Give your blog content that people are eager to share.