Everyone knows that content is king, but B2B startups have a challenging time competing with big brands and global tech companies—who have large budgets and in-house creative talent making it easy to create compelling content consistently. So, it begs the question, how should startups allocate their already stretched resources to drive growth?
Most startups turn to paid advertising given its ease of implementation and quick wins it creates. It’s the path of least resistance. The issue with this approach is the moment the money runs out, the leads stop rolling in. And believe me, the money will run out, because let’s face it, the lead quality from paid ads is not excellent. This I can confirm.
When this realization happens, most startups pivot to content creation. But where they start matters.
We recommend focusing on the low-hanging fruit that will provide the best return on time invested before creating expensive videos, complex and exhaustive white papers, or multi-part tutorials. Below are five ideas. Each recommendation is focused on achieving two things: increase product discovery through search and establish trust with your target audience.
A Robust FAQ
It seems obvious, but many B2B startups don’t realize that customers have many questions about their product—even if the answers are scattered across your website. Collecting all the questions that customers have (even the not-so frequent ones) and using those to build out a full FAQ page can do wonders for SEO and customer satisfaction.
And it benefits your startup, too, in that you won’t be fielding phone calls and emails answering questions that should be easily found on the website. Customers don’t want to call or email—you’ll save everyone time and reduce customer frustration. As a bonus, with Schema/Structured Data mark-up, you may also get rich snippets showing up in search results.
Potential B2B customers want to know what others think — it’s why G2crowd and Capterra exist. There are many places to collect reviews, such as Google My Business, LinkedIn, but G2 and Capterra have unique appeal to B2B startups in that they tend to rank highly in Google search results for high-volume keywords.
A great way to jumpstart this process is to solicit reviews from customers yourself and direct them to one of these two locations. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more common for unhappy customers to leave a review than a happy customer, so it might not be a bad idea to offer an incentive such as a discount or upgrade in exchange for a review.
I’m not recommending you start paying for positive reviews here; just simply asking your happy customers to take 15 minutes to help. Maybe a kind gesture or incentive to say thanks.
While it’s a great strategy to have your customers leave reviews on G2 or Capterra as they rank organically for key search terms, don’t forget to include these customer reviews directly on your website. If you have a little room in your budget, ask a satisfied customer if they would be willing to be interviewed briefly about the experience with your product.
Video has become more and more critical. An asset like this can be repurposed and reused across multiple channels, including your website, YouTube, social media, and other locations that your target customers frequent. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to get your first few video assets created.
Let’s face it: sometimes other companies create such great content that you just must share it. Don’t just drop a link in a blog post or infographic on your social and call it a day. Explain to your readers why you think it is an essential piece of content and, if possible, analyze any data that comes along with it.
Even better—if you disagree with the article, infographic, or another type of content, explain why your startup has a different viewpoint (and why you’re right, of course).
Some B2B startups shy away from content curation because they believe it leads potential customers away from their business. While you must give credit where it’s due, they’ll still be reading the content on your website, social feed, or newsletter. Curating relevant content shows that you’re keeping tabs on the industry, customer insights, and market direction.
Recycle, Reuse, and Promote
Old content is still good content. A blog post you wrote months ago may not have been seen by everyone, so turn that content into a list-style post to share on LinkedIn.
Tweet out stats from an article that has been languishing on your blog for weeks. And you don’t necessarily need a professional graphic designer’s Photoshop skills to create a simple meme. Canva is a quick and easy way to turn your old content into an engaging infographic.
Given the pace of social media today, it is imperative that you avoid the ‘one-and-done’ method of promotion. If you invest the time in a great piece of content, don’t shy away from posting about it several times for the next few weeks to ensure visibility.
A Company Newsletter
A newsletter not only gives you the opportunity to collect email signups, but it can also help showcase your insight and expertise. While a monthly newsletter is a time commitment, it doesn’t have to contain completely original content. Like our ‘curate content’ recommendation above, your newsletter strategy can focus on curating the best content you or your team has read over the past week, month, or quarter.
Scour Twitter for relevant, intriguing, or interesting tweets about your industry or link to content created by industry analysts that you know will resonate with your audience. Just make it easy to consume – consider adding statistics or other data in big, bold letters to capture the reader’s attention. If you venture down this path, just be sure that you can maintain consistency. Don’t jump the gun and overcommit.
If you are time or resource-strapped, start with a monthly or quarterly newsletter. If your newsletter content is compelling, people will be anticipating the next issue. Think Mary Meeker Internet trends report.
You can interview anyone for a quick blog post or even a video if you have the equipment. It doesn’t have to be a regular customer: interview an industry thought leader that happens to use your product or one of your partners for industry insights.
Head over to HARO to place a request for pitches on a specific topic or theme. Getting interviews isn’t as hard as it seems; you can produce great content with a little creativity.
You can even interview your own staff so potential customers can get to know your company. And when they see or chat with that person, it will feel like an established relationship. This is especially relevant for your BDR’s and SDR’s when prospects can put a face to that cold outreach, response rates will skyrocket.
Yes, content marketing is challenging. But it’s a requirement for B2B startup growth.
With the rate at which startups are expected to produce content, it can be challenging to balance great content with a limited budget. After several months of weekly content development, startups often run out of ideas or lose steam.
Just remember that content marketing is an investment. While it may not pay dividends immediately, the ongoing ROI it will provide as your startup grows will be worth it. So be creative and pace yourself. Consistency is key. With a little creativity, you can and will beat the big brands. David vs. Goliath. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. And embrace the suck.