By Martin Zwilling, Founder & CEO, Startup Professionals
These days every new entrepreneur understands that an innovative product or service is necessary, but not sufficient, to start a business. You have to build a web presence with marketing content to get visibility above the almost 300 million other new websites created last year, and attract the customers you need. But most entrepreneurs dont know where to start.
Of course, there is a plethora of experts emerging out there who are anxious to offer you guidance for a large price. Im always on the lookout for real experts and pragmatic guidance on how to get started. A good place to begin is the classic book on content marketing, Accelerate!, by Arnie Kuenn, a friend and expert in this space. In her book she offers guidance on and examples of new and modern approaches for the rest of us:
- Build a blog. According to Hubspot, websites that have blogs get twice as many inbound links, 400 percent more indexed pages, and more than a 50 percent increase in traffic, compared to websites without blogs. Search engines and people love blogs these days.
- Join the conversation with community forums. A forum is a discussion site on a relevant subject, hosted and moderated by you, which adds authority, content and traffic to your website. The registration process to join can give you a very targeted email list.
- Curation, the most efficient content. Curation is humanly aggregating, filtering and reposting the best-of-the-best content on the web, relative to your product or service area. This shows your knowledge and positions your company as a thought leader.
- Win with engaging contests. Not a new idea, but when used creatively, this can entice new prospect traffic and backlinks to your site. People love to submit stories, vote on other entries, and receive the recognition of even small prizes or product rewards.
- Traditional publishing out, eBook self-publishing in. You dont need a real book as a base for electronic books, as people now prefer something akin to a white paper on steroids. Its just another way to demonstrate credibility and attract traffic.
- Keep them engaged with eNewsletters. These are regular updates, usually monthly, via website and email that help with customer retention, and remind your customers that you are the expert in your industry. Supplement text here with video and audio.
- Widgets and badges. A widget is a mini app that displays or updates data either locally or on the web to share something of value and interest. A badge is a simple graphic designed for fun, to show support, or promote certain standards online.
- Look like an expert with interviews. By having frequent conversations with experts in your industry, you rank yourself among the top, and show you are connected.
- Videos, stories in motion. Simple videos less than five minutes long that you can create yourself and upload to YouTube for display on your website can turn a blasé idea into a winner. Keep the atmosphere relaxed and fun to increase traffic, and maybe even go viral.
10. Provide convenience through podcasts. A podcast is basically a non-streaming webcast, usually audio only, for those who want the convenience of downloading and listening via iPod or mobile phone while commuting or working out at the gym.
There are a lot more content examples that could be on this list. But dont let the number overwhelm you. You dont need to tackle them all just pick a few that you think you can do well, and consistently. The key is new content on a regular basis to attract the attention of search engines and new customers.
Most importantly, dont wait until you have perfect content. Start creating content today. The more you create, the more momentum you will build, and the more effective the content will be.
Martin Zwilling is the founder and chief executive officer of Startup Professionals, a company that provides products and services to start-up founders and small business owners. Check out his daily blog at http://blog.startupprofessionals.com or contact him directly at email@example.com.