Startup teams have one objective, make money before running out of cash.
Marketing, while effective, is inherently risky and mistakes are expensive. Bootstrappers and VC-funded startups are shying away from splashy (TV) and tricky (PPC) tactics and giving content marketing strategies and blogging a second look. Some of the more nimble startups are finding that blogs are more versatile than previously thought.
If you are unsure about how a blog can help your startup, then consider these 3 points:
1. Blogs create demand:
The Kissmetrics blog is a terrific example of how a content can create demand out of thin air.
A year ago, I began studying how to use analytics to improve blog performance. For the most part, I confined my attention to Google Analytic because it’s free and relatively easy to use. I couldn’t see myself spending any time reviewing Kissmetrics or its competitors. But, I found myself on the Kissmetrics blog almost everyday reading posts like “How to Use a Single Metric to Run Your Startup.” and other relevant, well-written posts. Each of these posts subtly implanted a simple idea, “Smart marketers use better metrics.” Over time, the blog created demand for a deeper suite of metric tools. Last week, I had the novel idea – maybe I should give Kissmetrics a try.
Blog’s have the unparalleled ability to implant and slow-cook an idea. This idea soon turns into a need, and need creates demand. Startups who don’t start (or grow) a blog may find themselves outhustled by a competitor who creates demand and steals customers.
2. Blogs explain while your product is special.
Your customer hates advertising. Over the last 20 years, they have evolved sophisticated mental filters that block all but the most subtle marketing messages.
However blogs still engender trust and authenticity. Depending on your industry, you might find that your blog is the only cost-effective way to tell your product’s story.
Thankfully, blogs have built-in features that allow for compelling storytelling. Your blog can tie copywriting with powerful imagery and video. Tight integration with social platforms offers you unprecedented rich through retweets, LinkedIn Shares, Facebook Likes, and Pinterest pins. No other tool in the marketing arsenal has a better combination of tools for reach and messaging effectiveness.
3. Blogs equip loyalists.
Last week, I was asked to diagnose why a company’s social media program was failing to move the sales needle. The management team had a few promising theories, poor content, not enough Facebook likes, not enough comments, etc. AS we talked about them, I realized that we hadn’t talked about one of their blog’s most potent uses. I asked “how are you using your blog to equip your loyalists?”
After about 10 seconds of uncomfortable silence they asked, “What do you mean?”
“Well, you say that people adore your product. I believe you. How are you making it easier for these folks to tell your story? Believe me they want to talk about you, but they don’t want to sound like a company spokesperson. You need to give them some practical stuff to share”, I added.
I offered them a few ideas, here’s one of them: look for unusual and novel ways to use your product and share these tidbits with your customers. Enthusiastic customers are probably your most dedicated blog readers.
The Sharpie Blog, yes – the marker people, is a great example. They have filled their blog with stunning art and cool tips for using Sharpies for more than just putting your name on your cup during birthday parties. The art and tips are memorable, making it easy to remember to bring up Sharpie, in a non-weird way, when talking with a friend.
Think about your product. There’s the “right” way to use it, but how about the unexpected ways? Share these tips on your blog and your most loyal customers will use them to recommend your product.
Although blogs are easy to create, startups need to follow a carefully choreographed strategy to get results from their blog. You will need to balance your marketing objectives, staff resources, and time to create a streamlined blog that successfully tells your story and creates customers. The good news is that your blog is a force-multiplier. strengthening your website, sales team, PR, and customer service efforts.