When you found a new startup, you urgently need to attract and retain your first customers – so, content marketing and social media marketing will be key parts of your promotional strategy in the early days. But how do you go about writing engaging content?
Christopher Blunn, Partner at Haines Watts London, sat down with Steve Ash, content writer and founder of CommsBreakdown, to find out ‘How To Write Killer Content For Your Startup’ and the importance of unlocking your own stories, insights and passion for your product.
How did you first get started in content writing and marketing?
“I actually first started writing business content at PwC, firstly in their brand team and then as the editor in their tax marketing team. That gave me a really good grounding in taking complex and technical topics and turning them into interesting, readable articles.”
“Then I moved to Xero, where I was the content writer for their UK marketing team. Switching from a huge corporate organisation to a smaller company like Xero was a real eye-opener and I learned a huge amount about how startups and small businesses work – and, more importantly, how they used content as a key part of their marketing and promotion.”
“That knowledge was invaluable when I went freelance and set up my own running my own content writing business.”
What are the foundations of good content?
“Content is everywhere around us in the digital age. We’re constantly surrounded by messages in advertising, social media posts and web content that’s clamouring for our attention. But not all of that content is good… in fact, lots of it is pretty bad.”
“If you’re going to start writing content and maximising your content marketing, I think it’s vital that your startup had a very clear vision in place. You need to know why you’re in business, what your aims are as a company and what core values will drive your growth.”
“That core vision acts as the foundation for your brand identity, your style and your overall personality as a startup, and plenty of startups don’t get these basics right. If your content is going to be consistent, on-brand and engaging, you really do need to agree on the fundamentals behind your business vision, right from the get-go.”
Do you have to be a good writer?
“People do get scared of writing. A blank page can be a daunting thing, if you’re not a professional content writer. But my outlook is that ALL of us can be good writers; it just takes some time, practice and dedication to turn yourself into a good content creator.”
“Good content is all about telling stories, and that’s something we can all do. Writing a great blog post, for example, is all about sharing the knowledge, advice and enthusiasm that’s locked up in your own head as the founder. In the first instance, you don’t need all the spelling and punctuation to be right… you can sort that later on. What’s important is getting what’s in your mind out into the world and down onto the page.”
“When I’m working with startup clients, I see my role as being the ‘content midwife’. I don’t conceive the ideas, I just help founders and CEOs give birth to those insights that were already in their heads in the first place.”
How can startups get started with content marketing?
“Getting your content marketing started isn’t actually that complicated. It takes some time to get the fundamentals in place, so you will need to set aside some time to plan and work on the marketing. But once the basics are in place, there aren’t too many hurdles to climb over.”
“If you’re an early-stage startup that’s about to dive headfirst into content marketing, to my mind there are three core elements you’ll absolutely need in place:
- A great website, so you have a digital ‘shop window’ and a content hub where you can promote your products, post blog posts and keep customers updated with what’s going on as you grow, develop and become a more rounded enterprise.
- A good social media presence, making use of key social platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to build up an online following, and interact with your potential customers and prospects.
- Frequent, engaging content, so you have regular new posts on your blog and social platforms. That’s the really key thing, for me. You’ve got to keep that pipeline of content flowing if you’re going to engage people and turn them into advocates.”
With those basics in place, you’ve got all the digital infrastructure you need to start writing and posting content, and getting your key brand messages out there into the market.”
“There’s plenty more you can do, as the company grows, so you can factor in things like paid advertising, video case studies or even running your own podcast. But, for me, the key is to just get out there and start writing – take that first step and see where it takes you.”
Find out more about kick-starting your content marketing in Steve’s book – ‘How To Write Killer Content For Your Startup‘
Helping you put marketing at the heart of your strategy
Digital marketing and content creation will be invaluable elements of your startup strategy and growth plan as the business begins to expand and look for new customers.
In the early days of your startup, the barriers to content marketing are small. As the founders, you can cover most of the content and marketing tasks yourself, once you’ve got a website up and running. If you’re passionate about your startup idea, you’ll have plenty of drive to begin talking about the inherent value of your products and/or services.
But, as you grow, there’s a sound case for outsourcing your digital marketing and content creation, freeing up your time, as the founder, to focus ON the business, not IN it.
The breadth of the Haines Watts network means we can connect your startup to the different outsourced marketing support you might need – whether that’s a content agency, SEO experts, or a video production company.
Talk to one of our London Business Advisers about kickstarting your business plans.
Haines Watts are London Accountants and business advisors.
Want to know more? Call us on 0207 025 4650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org