By Christina Logsdon and Kate Campbell
To ensure the right people — and as many of them as possible — hear your company’s message, you need a content distribution strategy.
First-time founders can often be skeptical about the benefits marketing serves. Some early-stage startups may not understand the how of marketing or why telling their unique story works in the first place.
But a product doesn’t sell itself — even when it’s the best product available. No one knows unless you find a way to tell them.
Content distribution is how you can shout your message from the rooftops and create repeatability to ensure that your audience hears and sees it multiple times.
Many startups have a great story. Often, they just need a friendly nudge to tell it.
How to Start with Content Creation: Messaging
Creating and distributing content doesn’t have to be hard or take up a majority of your time or resources.
You need to know who you are before you can tell the world. And startups often don’t know exactly who they are. You need to put in the time upfront and obsess over what you are and what you want to be. Also, decide what your startup is not, because when you try to be everything, you end up being known for nothing.
Your why is the foundation of your message, so start with your messaging hierarchy, the narrative that connects with an audience and drives value. It’s not just about producing content. It’s about ensuring that all that content weaves a narrative throughout the company.
You need to develop a hierarchy that’ll define exactly what your company wants to say, including:
- Who you are:
- What you do:
- How do you do it:
- Who do you do it for:
- How to contact you:
- Key differentiators:
Only when you know your market like the back of your hand can you truly define your vision, strategy and execution plans, and differentiators. This is what becomes your unique point of view.
There are thousands of AI startups, but what is unique about yours and how you disrupt the market? What’s working or not? What needs to be improved? That’s where you start to cut through the noise and find what you want to say.
Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose and Repeat
Once you have your messaging and point of view, it’s all about getting it out there with a disciplined and focused content distribution strategy. From here, even with limited resources, you can do effective, consistent marketing.
Think of the 80/20 rule: You should only spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% distributing it.
Develop a strong content strategy that breaks up the key messages in your messaging hierarchy into multiple, diverse forms of content, such as blog posts, social media posts, videos, infographics and more. Look for creative ways to tell your story from different angles. There are endless opportunities, channels and sources from which to pull.
Don't ignore marketing!
and how busy founders can consistently make time for it.
Content Strategy: The Groundwork for Scaling and Brand Building
Make your existing content work more and go even farther for you. Instead of creating a new blog from scratch, revive a past blog post where the information is still valid, then update it and redistribute it. What is old is new again.
For example, take York IE. We want to have the freedom to advise entrepreneurs to do what is best for them and their startup. It’s a new approach.
We knew there was a need for this type of firm in the market, but we wanted to test our assumption. So we floated our messaging early, in a tweet from CEO Kyle York:
A $15M, $25M, $50M exit should still be considered a roaring success. Our startup culture has minimized this result for founders. That’s a shame.
— Kyle York (@kyork20) August 16, 2019
It clearly resonated. We knew we were onto something, so we doubled down and prominently featured this messaging on our homepage. To reinforce that concept through our content, we published a blog post. We then took quotes from that blog and turned them into social media assets.
Once we started to own this message through our owned channels, we started to distribute it through earned media.
The results spoke for themselves: Overall website traffic increased by 77%, and organic traffic nearly doubled. On the blog specifically, overall traffic increased by 47% and organic traffic saw a 2.5X jump. Our York IE community has grown to more than 10,000 followers across our social platforms and newsletters. We’ve secured coverage in Business Insider, TechCrunch, The Boston Globe and more, and we’ve told our story across dozens of podcasts.
Consistency: The Real Magic in Content Distribution
When you’re sick of hearing yourself, that’s when people will start to notice. Repetition and frequency are essential. Studies have shown that it can take upwards of five to seven times for someone to listen to a message before it becomes effective.
How do you plan to break through the noise and disrupt the industry? If you want to be heard, your messaging needs to be loud and clear. That’s where drumbeat marketing comes in by providing consistency and repeatability.
Every conversation you’re having is you telling your company’s story. Every day is an opportunity to build your brand, as is every touchpoint that someone has with your startup. If someone walks away unsure of your messaging, it is a lost opportunity.
There is no silver bullet. Have patience. Remember, it takes consistency and time. Stay true to your vision. Lean into your why. And above all else, just get started!