With content being so crucial to the success of any brand of business, startups need to start investing in them as early as possible. But while crucial, content isn’t admittedly the only focus a startup should have – and in the hustle to get other things up and running, it can be all too easy for content to take a backseat.
Admittedly, while content isn’t always the first item on the agenda, startups can be wasting their best opportunity to build their content foundation if they don’t take care of it from the very beginning. By creating a content foundation, startups get one of the best ways to define their brand, helping it reach more customers and sales.
Unlike other departments, startups can enjoy all this without the need for a massive team. All it takes is an understanding of what kind of content they want to represent their brand and a little know-how with how to push it.
So what do startups need to keep in mind when building their own content foundation? We’ve outlined the steps below, but one thing that startups need to remember most of all is to define (and be sure of) who they are before they start writing. This way, your content stays consistent, even as you scale up your production.
Any great foundation of content starts with value: essentially, what your content has to offer for your audience. As a startup, you need to clearly state your value in your content, or any leads you may capture will lose interest and fail to move forward with you. Giving your content value – or a reason why people should read it – is one of the best ways to make sure that you have something worth engaging with.
A style guide is a crucial document that everyone in your company (or at least anyone who works with content) should always have access to. Style guides contain the heart of what makes your content read the way it does; the tone, branding, the must-haves and must-avoids of whatever you write. This reference will be the standard as to all content you create moving forward; so finalizing a style guide is essential before writing any piece of content at all.
Once you’ve figured out what exactly your content should look like, it’s time to narrow down the type of people you want to read it. Market research, defining your buyer persona, and understanding your place in your industry can all help enormously with figuring out who your target audience is. The closer your content is to your target audience, the more likely they are to engage with it.
Today’s average customer has access to a wide variety of different types of content to consume, and you need to figure out the best ways to deliver your content to your audience. Content isn’t just words on your website – it can be anything from email to social media postings. Even graphic presentations require content: so pick which method works best for the audience you want to reach.
Finally, content should inform your future production long-term. Reviews, reactions on social media, internal reporting, and generated leads are all useful metrics to judge how well your content has been received. If you find that a specific type of content generates the best response with your audience, you can allocate more time and resources to producing that type of content compared to the others.
While startups do have some leeway to produce their own content from the very beginning, there will be occasions where you simply can’t spare the resources to create your own content or train your own content team from the ground up. For these cases, outsourcing can be an excellent alternative to get the content you need.
Outsourcing has plenty of benefits for startups in particular, including but not limited to:
With the right content partner/outsourcing agency, you’ll be able to meet your content needs without too much work on your end. This allows startups the breathing room they need to keep on working on the most important parts of their company, without having to worry about content suffering in the process.
But what if you’ve never worked with outsourcing before? There are two things that startups need to consider when outsourcing their content writing:
Startups do have options with the way that they outsource their content strategy and production – and an experienced content production agency can integrate with the overall content plan without too much issue. Here are three examples of how outsourcing content can work into your content plan:
In-house and outsourced writers can work together
If you already have resources and personnel for content, you can simply have them merge with the outsourced writers that you’ll be getting. Your in-house team can help train the outsourced writers in your style, and the outsourced writers can help support your in-house content team with increasing production.
Develop your own content strategy and outsource the execution
If you prefer developing your content internally but can’t spare the resources for actual production, then you can simply develop your content strategy from the beginning and outsource the actual writing to a content partner. You can set a regular schedule for the types of content you want to publish, update the outsourced writing team with feedback, and otherwise help guide content production without actually producing it yourself.
Create your content plan from scratch with an experienced agency
For startups that feel like they’ve found the right agency for their content needs, it’s possible to just outsource everything about your content production from the very start. An experienced content agency can build your content plan from the ground up, handle production, and grow your content marketing efforts with minimal supervision. However, this does require a certain degree of trust in the company you choose to partner with – so choose wisely.
The second thing that startups should remember when outsourcing content is that it will still cost money to outsource – but the benefits that you get back in return are worth the investment. The fear of potential costs can often scare off startups from going with outsourcing writing, but it’s actually possible to keep your overall costs lower when using an outsourced company compared to building an in-house team.
Time spent vs time gained
One of the reasons why outsourcing may potentially save you money in the long run is that you gain a lot of time when you partner with a content agency: time that you would have otherwise spent on training, deliberating, and executing your content strategy. An outsourced company already has everything you need from a content team, requiring only initial discussions about your content needs and how to meet them.
ROI on content production
A concern that many startups often have with investing in content is the ROI: how do you determine if what you’re putting into content is worth it? By outsourcing your content production, your content partner can provide you detailed reports about how your investment in content translates into actual gains for your company. No need to second-guess yourself or make up your KPIs – the agency can take care of that for you.
Quality vs quantity
Startups can sometimes get carried away with the technicalities of content production, which can result in them producing too much content with not enough quality. This is a bad idea for many reasons (as search engines are coded to penalize this sort of behavior), and often it becomes a problem that won’t be detected until it’s far too late in the production process. By hiring an outsourcing agency for your content production, they can proceed with writing your content with best practices in mind.
Startups face a big challenge writing their content from the ground up, but it’s also their best opportunity to get it right the first time. With a proper content foundation and some outsourced help, it’s possible to produce and publish high-value content for you and your audience – tools that can be crucial to getting your startup off the ground.