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Startup Marketing in the Age of Content

Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition

Your marketing launch is the most important element of startup success these days, to get customer attention in this world of information overload. Yet it is the one element that too many entrepreneurs focus on only as an afterthought. Everyone assumes their product or service is so great that “word-of-mouth” will carry the day for them.

Even great products need great marketing “content” to fuel the ascent of their online message. I just finished a modern-day primer on the key elements of great online content in “Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition,” a book by Michael Stelzner, founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com.

Michael delivers field-tested guidance on how to create the core elements of great content for your announcement, your webinars, blog posts, Facebook contests, newsletters, Internet TV, and other initiatives. It’s all about content that will bring the masses to your business:

  1. Highly relevant. To get to the core of what’s relevant to customers, you need to know them well. Use your content as a way to make a connection between your business and things that matter to them. The more frequently you can deliver content that meets the needs and desires of your customers, the more relevant you will become to them.
  2. Educational. Helping customers discover new ways to solve common problems can quickly build you a loyal following. Your content must continue to deliver new ideas. In simple terms, this is where you share your knowledge, as well as the guidance from other experts, for free.
  3. Easy to digest. A conversational tone should be the basis for all of your content. Highly relevant and educational content if irrelevant if you can’t make it easy for people to understand. Common approaches include the use of metaphors, tell stories, and always stay on topic.
  4. Visually appealing. The eye is just as important as the mind when it comes to customers. The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is still alive and relevant. Make sure your paragraphs are short. Use callouts and bullets to help the reader speed through your content.
  5. Conversation inviting. Great content is conversation. If you want to connect with customers, put aside your writing formalities. Your language doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s pretty simple to do. Simply speak out loud. Then write it down. The message should spark a side conversation between friends, and a follow-up comment to you.
  6. Lacks a sales angle. Great content shouldn’t have any obvious marketing messages or sales pitches embedded inside of it. If your content is about your specific product or service, that’s not great content; it’s marketing collateral. People won’t flock to marketing materials.

Creating these core elements is a lot easier if you can team with outside experts to help you. They have what your readers seek – important, worthwhile knowledge, and some experts already have a large following of their own. They are a shortcut that can put you far ahead of your competition.

Some experts are so instrumental that they are called “fire starters.” These are people who have so much influence that their endorsement can ignite your efforts nearly overnight. The best potential fire starters have the eyes and ears of people who closely match your ideal base. Nurture these relationships, and provide generous value to them in return.

Every marketer throws around the word “content,” but few have mastered the art and science of creating useful, thought-provoking, and viral content. Great content doesn’t happen by accident. Start early in your planning, build your own skills, or find the best expertise you can afford. There is nothing more devastating than a good business that fails to launch.


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Author(s) (other articles by )
Original Publication DateOctober 26, 2011
Related categoriesMarketing

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  • Anonymous

    I’ve worked on several interesting startups and in one of them the owner was so excited to launch that we launched without any content despite the advice not to and the entire team paid the price for that decision. You need to launch with some type of content: to get users, media, your employees, and advertisers enthusiastic and aware of what you are trying to do. I think that a lot of social networks make it easier to get some pre-launch buzz and find ways to get your prospective customers interested in what you have to offer: certainly there are a lot of companies listed at buyfacebookfansreviews.com that do nothing other than this type of promotion and this is where I think the marketplace is headed, much to Google’s disappointment. Apple has some flaws, but they’re the most polished and most successful company in the world. Do you think Steve Jobs would have let them create a contentless presentation and let them launch a new product without marketing information and a show that would delight people. I’ve seen this way too often in my life and this is a mistake that you can’t make after you’ve put in all of the time building up your product. It’s a penny-wise and pound foolish decision to avoid this aspect of your product.