Content marketing and blogging have become buzzwords in the startup world. To most marketers, “content is king”. I kind of agree with it but not all content is king, though. Content marketing and blogging, in particular, are strategies that are giving great results to many startups and small businesses. Indeed, blogs are useful to reach your target audience, get leads and convert them.
First, I want to answer something that I hear often: “I am pre-revenue, I don’t need to work on sales or marketing: my goal is to raise capital. I will work on a revenue model later on.” This is a big mistake and sorry to be blunt. You need to think about a revenue model from the beginning and having a blog can definitely help you with it. Not having revenue for startups worked a few years ago but now, investors are looking for revenues. Not having a revenue model is one of the main reasons why startups fail and by having one yours can succeed.
This is something I’ve heard often. Indeed, several startups contacted us saying that they did a blog but their blog was not bringing any traffic or any leads. We tell them that they might have a blog but you need to have a strategy behind it. In this post, I am going to show you how to grow your startup revenue with a blog.
Why Do You Want To Have Your Own Blog?
Originally, why did you decide to create a blog? If it is simply to follow the advice of so-called experts, you are missing a strategy to help you get results. And by the way, what do you consider results? You must set the overall goal of your blog, in line with the overall goals of your startup. Do you want to start a blog to simply generate traffic? Do you want to increase your startup revenue? Do you want to improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)? Do you want you or your startup to be recognized as an expert in your industry? Do you want to attract more qualified prospects to your website and improve your conversion rate?
It’s crucial for your startup to know what the goal of your blog is.
What Is The Mission?
In the absence of a strategy worthy of the name, your blog will have little to no success. If you want to accelerate the success of your blog (who would not?), the value and visibility of your blog will be your main assets to be quickly found.
How can I add value? Easy… not so much: start by answering the challenges faced by your ideal users. An idea is to write any questions your potential users may ask and answer each by a blog post. Become a real useful resource. You need to find what your audience wants to learn and share as well as what you want to talk about.
It’s crucial for your content marketing strategy to be efficient to find the sweet spot for blog content: it should be content about which you have passion, interest and expertise in order to bring value to your audience. Your blog content should resonate with your audience and make them want to know more and share it. Your content should be engaging in order to have an effect on your startup revenue.
According to an Orbit Media Studio survey, it usually takes around 2 hours to write a good blog post, the blog posts are getting longer (Meaning that bloggers give more insights in their content) and most bloggers blog weekly. It means that you should reserve time for blogging, have a schedule and blog regularly. Also, it is important to diversify your blog content. Don’t only write text, you can create infographics, slide shares, podcasts, videos, charts, e-books, surveys, webinars…
Find Your Target Users
Once you have clearly identified your mission in terms of content and the goals of your startup blog, you can adapt your startup blog to attract the right audience. Indeed, a blog will not bring traffic by itself. You need to promote your content. There are many different channels where you can find your audience. I believe that social media should be your first attempt to attract visitors. Then, you could also try paid advertising and reach influencers in your niche to show them your content. A growth hacking strategy with a lot of A/B testing, data analysis and optimisation will help you find which channel fit your startup blog the most. Tracking your blog analytics is key in order to create more user-centric content and also improve your existing blog posts.
Why Should Your Startup Have A Blog
Having a quality blog is beneficial for your startup. I believe you should start one as soon as possible. Even if you are starting a startup from scratch, having a blog will help you spread your word, giving you exposure, getting feedback and more.
Building A User Base And Get Leads
You’re probably thinking that attracting visitors to your startup blog doesn’t actually mean getting new users or customers. And you’re right.
This is where other inbound marketing techniques are efficient to get traffic, convert it into a lead or even a customer. Implementing a Call to Action (CTA) button on your website such as a “Purchase Now” or “Learn More” or a newsletter subscription list are examples. For instance, you can get email subscribers by integrating an email subscription form such as SumoMe on your blog.
The CTA is a way to convert a visit into a registration by attracting his/her attention. CTA typically includes an offer or a free product demonstration. As the name says, the goal is for the reader to take action, so the call-to-action has to be attractive. In return, you can ask the user to enter their email address and there you go, you have a lead.
Convert Leads Into Sales
Getting a lead is just a first step. You now need to convert them into sales in order to increase your startup revenue. When a potential customer has already consumed many articles of your blog, you will know perfectly how you can help and the sales process will be much faster. Keep that in mind!
To convert your leads into sales, you need to put in place a sales funnel. What I recommend is to create an email marketing strategy. After getting emails of subscribers, you need to keep your subscribers in the loop by creating great email marketing campaigns. You can send them your new blog posts, newsletters, special offers or create a drip email marketing campaign. Your sales funnel and email marketing strategy have to be A/B tested as well. The headlines, the CTA, the time you send the emails, the format, the colours, everything has to be split tested in order to find what brings you sales.
Blogging Will Save On Advertising
When you get your blog content positioned in search results, you are investing in an asset, since the articles you post will allow you to capture your target audience and visits will come continuously without having to make any additional spending.
This does not happen when you bet for paid advertising because when you stop investing, your website stops appearing. The advertising of this type is based on a monetary investment through some specific keywords. When the money stops, your blog will no longer appear in the top positions. It means when your advertising budget stops, the revenue you get from it will stop too.
This does not happen with organic content, allowing you to attract traffic continuously and sustainably. This is why a blog and having a content marketing improves your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as opposed to a paid strategy (SEM = Search Engine Marketing). Therefore, a blog is cost competitive compared to advertising.
You should also know that it is important to make SEO-friendly blog posts. You should put the right keywords on your blog title, meta descriptions, blog content, h1/h2 titles and also on the Alt Text of the image. However, although I am aware of the importance of research, I have never chosen the way of optimisation for search engines. I prefer to focus on optimising for people. To be precise, this means that the information I get from our ideals personas dictate the keywords I use.
If you just start blogging for your business, there are chances that the domain of your blog is new. The search algorithms such as Google or Yahoo often give preference to the old and famous blogs. This is why it is generally considered that it takes about six months to begin attracting visitors from the search engines.
Integrate Ads On Your Blog
Another way to increase your startup revenue through your blog is to integrate ads. I am not going to explain too much about it as I believe you need to have a lot of traffic in order to make money through ads. The goal of this article is to show you how to make money by selling your product or service, not really how to integrate ads. If you still want to get some revenue through ads, you can have a look to Adsense, Chitika or Propeller Ads for example.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make some extra earnings. This is the process to take a commission by promoting other company’s products. For instance, if you like a book on Amazon, you can have an affiliate link directing to it. If a person clicks the link and buys this book, you will get a commission. For instance, you can check the Amazon affiliate program to know more about it.
Brand Recognition And Reputation
The safest thing to say is that not all visits you receive on your blog match your target audience. Even the captured leads may not be your target, or they might not be interested in buying your product or service at that time. However, you are adding value to your blog and your content, and this translates into a solid relationship that will position you as an expert and a leader in your field. Thus, it is possible that when the time comes, those leads will prefer your company. It’s a good investment for your startup branding and for the future!
How do I gain visibility?
Implement a social media strategy for your startup by developing a strong presence in social media and try to share your content on each platform your business is present. However, be sure to avoid uniformity. User behavior varies depending on the platform and the top marketers, who know perfectly well social media, write messages in line with the different social media channels. To summarise, if you publish a blog post on three social platforms, you must write three different messages.
The Six-Month Rule
If you are just starting to blog, treat your troubles patiently. One of the main flaws of bloggers is impatience. Everyone must read your article. After all, you consider yourself as a thought leader with many years of experience in your industry.
Do not worry about the early traffic or you will be disappointed. You should love and embrace patience. Persistence is key when blogging. Focus on the steady creation of useful content, and if you did your work and if you know your readers: they will find you. The number of readers will grow substantially, but probably not exponentially at first.
Then, when visitors start to flow from the search engines, after about six months, you will realize gradually that your old items contribute significantly to your overall traffic and the traffic will start to grow substantially. It’s at that point that you begin to see peaks in traffic, the number of subscribers to your blog will increase and you will really start converting through blogging.
How Long Does It Take
It depends on what you mean by growing. If you create a great blog post today, addressing to the right target, with a great CTA and you promote this blog post well, you could increase your revenue straight away.
But, you should not think this way with a blog. Blogging and content marketing are long-term strategies because it will allow you to increase your traffic, get leads, improve SEO and convert leads into sales. So, to see a substantial impact on your startup revenue, I usually say that it takes 6 months.
This is why a content marketing strategy is a long-term focus.
Startup Revenue Through Blogging
In order to increase your startup revenue with the help of a blog, you need to know well your audience and your readers. What do they want to read? What are they interested by? You need to find the sweet spot between what your audience wants to discover and what you want to say. Blogging should be part of the overall marketing strategy you defined.
It’s also important to know how to promote your blog. Indeed, you could write the best piece of blog but no one will find it if you’re not able to promote it.
Blogging should be part of your inbound marketing methodology. A blog is made to attract visitors but attracting traffic is not the final goal. You need to have a strategy (Such as email subscription, call-to-actions and email marketing tactics) to transform traffic into leads and then convert leads into sales through the creation of a sales funnel.
Blogging will have a great impact on SEO and also on your startup branding, visibility and recognition. But, you have to keep in mind that it will take you several months to significantly grow your startup revenue with a blog. Resilience is key for your startup success.
[This post by Jonathan Aufray first appeared on GrowthHackers and has been reproduced with permission.]