Your brain child has finally come to fruition and now it’s time to promote the hell out of it so it doesn’t fail. No pressure. Lucky for you there is content marketing.
Unlike with traditional outbound tactics, your startup won’t succeed by dropping a lot of money on a billboard or magazine spread while you sit back and observe all the new consumers who come your way.
While it’s not a “spray and pray” tactic like its outbound marketing friends, content marketing can be a lot friendlier on the budget.
But there is always a catch, right? Are you ready for it?
I will tell you this: promoting a new product through content marketing is a slow build. Content marketing is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. But at the end, when you see your brand crossing the finish line, you’ll be so glad you put in the time.
If you think that you can give your start up the time and effort it takes to properly promote it, than please keep reading because implementing the following strategies in to your marketing efforts can make the difference whether your brand or new product fails or succeeds.
If you take nothing but the following paragraph with you, then I’ll still feel like I’ve accomplished something with this post:
Good content marketing for your start up is marketing that falls in to the hands of your target consumer and doesn’t look like marketing. It’s a piece of content or an app or a video that genuinely helps the consumer. It’s something they want to read or watch. It’s marketing in disguise.
#1 – Enlist the Help of Influencers
First I want to clarify that an influencer isn’t an influencer because they have a large audience.
An influencer is an influencer because they have a loyal audience and they write about the same space your brand falls in to. Thus they have a curated group of your target consumers.
Locating your influencers is half the battle. There are tools to help like:
- Traackr if you have a decent budget
- Followerwonk is a great one to find Twitter influencers
- There are a handful of tools to help you find bloggers as influencers here is a good rundown.
- If budget is sparse, no fear. You can Google for influencer lists and you will find a handful in your niche. The manual and free way takes time but it can be done.
When you reach out to influencers present your brand as a solution for a common problem. Introduce yourself and use the fact that you’re a startup. It’s appealing to many people to get in on the “ground floor.”
You’re trying to spread the word that you exist, you’re creating awareness. The best way to do this is to have someone try out your product and give their input. So send out as much free product to influencers in your niche as your company’s budget can handle.
#2 – Find Niche Bloggers
Bloggers are a segment of influence marketing and blogger outreach is exploding all over the word of mouth marketing scene. Consumers trust reviews from their peers and they look at bloggers as peers and really trust what they have to say. In fact 81% of the online population trusts the information they get from bloggers.
The best part is that unlike traditional journalists, bloggers are niche based so you can find bloggers who write about the super specific topic that pertains to your brand.
Here are some of the most popular post tactics when working with bloggers:
Guest post: Guest posts are a way for you to prove yourself as an authority in a space. A good guest post is one of thought leadership and links to your brand discretely. It’s not a post about the product you are promoting, rather an interesting topic that would attract the audience you are trying to reach.
Run giveaways: With this tactic, usually the blogger writes about your product and runs a contestin which one of their audience members wins your brand’s product. Often anentry is a Facebook like or Twitter follower creating new audience members for your start up while simultaneously creating buzz around your product. I’m personally a big fan of this tactic.
Product review: depending on the blogger, you will either need to pay them for their product review or at least send them free product from your brand. They will give their honest opinion of their experience with your new product. This serves as a great word of mouth recommendation.
#3 – Ebook
What is the biggest pain point that your product solves? Write an ebook about this topic. What topic would attract your target consumers? Write an ebook about it. Get the drift? Write an ebook about an interesting topic, not about your start up or your product.
For example, if your start up sells an app that allows vegetarians to locate vegetarian friendly restaurants in close proximity you wouldn’t write an ebook about your app only.
You would write an ebook about the best vegetarian dishes at chain restaurants. Or even vegetarian recipes. The point is that your target consumer—vegetarians—find the book useful and they download it. In the book you reference your app as a solution to finding vegetarian restaurants for dinner.
Like I said content marketing is marketing that doesn’t make your consumers feel like they’re being marketed to. Good content marketing first and foremost helps your audience.
#4 – Smart Email Marketing
Contrary to popular belief, email marketing isn’t dead, it has just evolved. You don’t want to buy an email blast and talk about your product, you want to send potential consumers something they actually want. Whether it’s a free ebook or coupon or access to an app, your email marketing needs to focus on something that can be of use to your consumers.
For example if you created the awesome ebook as I suggested above you want to promote it. Whether you can afford an email blast or you have a list of email addresses, email marketing is a great way to promote your fantastic piece of content.
#5 – Empower Your Advocates
Advocates provide invaluable marketing for your brand through their passionate and sincere recommendations. You just need to make sure you empower them with good content to help them spread these juicy mentions of your new product.
Sometimes brand advocates mean well but there is nothing worse than someone spreading false information (thought accidentally) about your start up while it’s still just a baby.
Here are some tips to keeping your advocates accurately informed while not coming across as being controlling or abrasive.
- Keep them up to date with emails about what is happening within your brand. This will make them feel special and ensure they have accurate information.
- Equip them with proper media links and make your brand’s information and resources easy to find.
#6 – Create Buzz Before Your Product is Released
A little bit of hype can go a long way. Just look to Apple for inspiration. They don’t release the new iphone without a bunch of buzz surrounding it before it’s even available. Here are some strategies to create your own hype:
- Give out exclusive samples of your product to influencers before the rest of the world gets access. This way they’ll write about your product and create a desire for it before it’s even released.
- Send out teaser tweets, posts and videos.
- Let people pre-order. There is something about getting something first that creates hype and urge to order something before it’s even released.
#7 – Check Out Promoted Tweets
Promoted tweets for businesses are a great way to create awareness about your start up and/or a new product you’re releasing. Simply create a tweet that you want to be seen by many eyeballs and create a Twitter for business account.
Once you’ve done this, you can set a budget and bid on how much you’re willing to pay per Twitter interaction. I love this model for two reasons.
- You only have to pay for the people who interact with the tweet. Meaning they clicked on the link in the tweet or retweeted it.
- You can set a budget which means you don’t have to spend a fortune.
To read about how to set up promoted tweets check out this article.
#8 – Be Visual With Your Content
From infographics to memes to posts with a lot of pictures, visual content gets shared and digested by more consumers than content that feels like a big wall of text coming at them.
What topic of interest to your target consumers can you turn in to an infographic? A funny meme? Or a visually driven blog post or “how to” type of content with pictures?
If you have some awesome data or creative idea to make an infographic that will go viral and money in the budget, hire a designer to help you take it to the “awesome level.”
#9 – Join Online Communities
There are several digital channels that host an array of online communities that attract people with targeted interests.
If you’re a B2B business than LinkedIn has some great groups for professionals.
Google Plus is great for both B2C and B2B. From travel photos to marketing technology groups, the spectrum is covered here.
The goal with the online communities is to engage. You can use them to share your content and I definitely encourage this.
But more importantly, communities are a great opportunity for you to become a resource on a topic. When people have a question and you answer it, all of a sudden your brand looks like an authority and people will remember your brand name for future needs.
Whether your favorite community source is LinkedIn or Google Plus, pose intriguing questions to start thought provoking discussion. Not to mention, this will introduce you to new people in your product’s space.
In order to not come across as overly promotional, keep in mind the half and half rule. Half of the stuff you post on the communities can be content you’ve written and the other half should be content by other authors or discussion questions.
#10 – Be Available
Through tweets, blog posts and Facebook posts, make yourself available to engage with every audience member who mentions your product or asks a question.
In fact, when possible, turn those consumer generated questions in to a blog post and publish it.
Make your audience feel special, like they are part of something that no one knows about. Interact with them so they feel part of your brand. This will just make them eager to share your product with their friends and family. There is something about knowing about a product before the rest of your Twitter followers that just makes you feel cool….
Check out some Quora questions and see if you can be a resource and pose your product as a solution.
While content marketing can take a while to yield measurable results trust me when I say the marathon is worth it.
You’ve already put the time in to your product and your company and content marketing is the area where you get to share all of your hard work with the world.
Do you have a question about content marketing for product promotion? The purpose of my blog is to help anyone interested in content marketing with tips and strategies so ask anything in the comments below. I’m happy to be a resource.
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