Content strategy for startups

I get it. You’re running a small, rapidly growing startup, everyone’s doing the job of five people, and you haven’t hired a content writer yet.

You know that it’s important to get word out about the exciting work you’re doing—so that customers find you, the best talent wants to work with you, collaborators are knocking on your door and you’re tapped to speak at fancy events.

So you get your business development manager or your technical staff to write some updates on your website, LinkedIn and Twitter, to show the world you’ve been doing stuff and showing your face at conferences.

But it’s dry. No one’s sharing it. And it’s not updated enough.

I also get that working with content agencies can be expensive, and haggling out contracts takes time and brain power. It’s just not at the top of the priority list right now.

This is where freelance content writers like me can help. You can just dump messy notes in our inboxes—rambling voice messages are also an acceptable form of briefing—and we can turn it into polished copy that grabs people’s attention.

Freelancers have few overheads. Yes, good ones will be highly experienced, but they will be good value for money. Often their work will be a mixture of regular clients and ad hoc, one-off projects, some turned around very quickly at the last minute. That means that you can test them out with one piece of content before committing to anything more long-term.

Having that relationship in place will ensure you make the most of opportunities and grow your brand, while making sure that your staff focus on things that they’re actually good at.

So what type of content should you post?

  1. One idea, story or piece of news—giving a talk, launching a new service, or winning funding, for example—can be repurposed for each platform you are active on.
  2. Make sure the emphasis is on shareable tips that have value for the reader. You want to be someone people actively follow in order to feel that they are learning something.
  3. Break up the text to make it scannable and include explanatory headlines so it’s easy to read online. Lists (uhh, like this one) work particularly well. Think “7 things I learned at such-and-such event” or “5 ways [your product] will transform the future of [your industry].”
  4. Be sure to include terms relating to your industry that people will search for online (SEO). This will be obvious to many of you. But headlines with clever wordplay aren’t necessarily better than just summarizing the topic in plain English.
  5. Tag other organisations where relevant on social platforms and start conversations. It will boost your profile.
  6. Stay consistent with your publishing schedule. This is a tough one, but having a retainer arrangement with a content writer can help. Think of it like a personal trainer. If you’re paying them for two pieces of content per month, then you’ll make sure you’re going to get that damn info out to them every two weeks.
  7. Have fun and let your personality shine. You can be authoritative enough to trust with gigantic investment sums and still be a human. One of my favourite industry experts to follow on social media is William Pomerantz, VP of Special Projects, at Virgin Orbit. (@Pomerantz on Twitter.) He always shares valuable advice and news, while giving a strong sense of who he is as an individual and what he cares about.

If you’d like to get in touch about collaborating on a content strategy or getting some writing work off your plate, contact me here.

There are a million ways of getting your stories doing out into the world, from speeches to podcasts to blogs. Just make sure you pick one. You’re doing important work. Get the word out.


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