Growing Your Startup with Great Content

By Sean Brown | July 6, 2017

Running a successful advertisement is no different than trying to win an argument against your friends, family, or coworkers. It’s not likely you’ll convince someone see things your way by getting in their face, intimidating them, and being aggressive. You have a much better chance of success when you decide to “use your words;” and while this phrase is likely part of your daily vocabulary if you’re a parent, learning to use your words properly is equally important to the world of digital advertising.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Simply put, technology continues to make it easier for advertisers to reach a ton of users in a short amount of time. In combination with a full team of marketers, strategists, consumer analysts, and creative professionals, this increase in efficiency can spell out a dominant marketing combination if you can afford it.

For the public, this generally means a ton of ads slapping you across the face whenever you visit a page on the internet. Increased advertising efficiency has created a culture of quantity over quality, something that is almost guaranteed to reduce your average CTR.

Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems

Fortunately, it’s almost impossible for startups to truly over advertise due to their inherent lack of initial resources. With endless capital to spend on advertising, it’s easy to make the mistake of inundating your viewers with valueless banner ads only to find out that all of your potential customers turned into dedicated Adblock users.

Now here’s where using your words starts to come into play. Just like an argument, advertising comes down to efficiently convincing someone to hear you out. Regardless of the medium, your users aren’t going to click through if they aren’t getting some form of perceived value, either through your content or what you’re trying to advertise.

If you’re only using banner ads or popups, the margin for error is thin; you likely only have a few words and seconds to capture the full attention of your viewer. On the other hand, advertising through content gives you time to tell the complete story of your product and how it benefits users, significantly increasing the chances of viewers responding to your CTAs.

Always Craft Content for Individuals

Captivating content always starts at the individual level. Regardless of how massive your audience is, no two viewers will ever be the same. If you expect your content to generate a response, you need to start by putting yourself in the viewer’s shoes.

Customer profiles are great for identifying where you should be advertising, what types of content your customers are consuming, why they’re interested in your product, and how you should go about getting their attention. Think of your customer profiles like the blueprint of a building. Just like how you’d never build a house without first planning every detail, you shouldn’t start advertising without first knowing exactly who you’re trying to reach.

Looking at things like age, gender, spending habits, location, career, hobbies, household size, education level, etc., allow you to design content that resonates at the individual level and speaks directly to the pain points of your viewers.

Emphasize the Story Surrounding Your Product

The features of your product are largely meaningless if you can’t get anyone to look at it in the first place. For that reason, it’s really not about what the features are, it’s about what they do. Content marketing makes it easier to give the features of your product some much needed context.

Content allows you to show your product’s why and how as opposed to its what—and that’s what people care about. The best way to get people interested in your actual product is to paint them a picture of exactly how it’s going to benefit them.

As you expand your reach, it’s important to make sure your content feels authentic. Luckily, the test is pretty simple: if you aren’t interested in the content you’re producing, your audience won’t be either.

Content marketing is all about informing customers about the effects of your product without shoving it in their face. The goal is to get people interested without completely killing their curiosity.

It may sound counterintuitive, but the advertisements within your content should feel indirect. Remember, your product is a solution to someone’s problem. Traditional advertisements reverse the order and put the solution before the problem, which doesn’t make much sense.

Content, however, allows you to paint every detail of the problem, why it’s important, why the current solutions don’t work, and what you propose to fix it. We all know the phrase “content is king,” but the true king is actually context.

Optimize Content for Different Platforms

Every platform has its nuances and requires special attention to ensure your content is properly optimized. Though the numbers make it appealing, Facebook isn’t the best place to post long-form text content as most users are going to scroll right past. On the other hand, your written content is likely going to do quite well on a platform like Medium where you know users are interested in long-form text.

Don’t just copy and paste your advertising efforts across multiple platforms. That’s not to say crossposting will hurt your cause, but don’t waste your time posting content users aren’t going to look at. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Twitter all have different layouts, audiences, and guidelines conducive to making certain types of content more effective than others.

Make the Ad Part Relatable

After finding the best channel and setting the stage for your viewers, it’s time to hone in on the actual advertisement part. Here, the key is subtlety. The purpose of advertising through content is to get potential customers to resonate with the problem at hand before trusting your solution.

For this part, you’ll likely need to go out and talk to your customers. Finding out exactly how people are using your products allows you to create content with a wide range of relatable use cases.

In a world where every site you visit has a banner ad and 30% of desktop users have an Adblocker enabled, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to find new ways to break through all of the noise. Captivating content is the key to reaching your audience without forcing them to deviate from their normal routine.