Content creates your story, brand, and identity. It’s highly achievable to break down the path to success for becoming a true “content company”.
Content is King. What a concisely beautiful concept. Source: Say Daily
When Bill Gates wrote one of the most famous business articles, “Content is King”, in 1996, the internet was yet to be mainstream, it was rather in its infancy. It was before social media or even Google itself.
Bill Gates probably already knew that content is the real brand and story behind a company or individual. Content creates the natural story of a brand. It creates a relation with its customers and a unique identity.
Especially at the beginning of the startup journey, the story of a company and how it communicates with the target audience is extremely important because most startups don’t have a high budget for push marketing via paid ads or creating their own content frequently and consistently.
The best part of content marketing is it creates organic growth once the strategies and execution plan are in place.
To me, it’s always great to break down the processes. This way, a complex system can be much easier to understand and it’s the same way with content marketing.
You need to make a plan and strategize before you take action. Source: Accounting Web
Content marketing can be broken down into two parts. Creating the content and posting inspirational content throughout the web automatically and consistently.
As in anything, consistency is key for content marketing. You need to set high standards for timing so that your audience trusts you in time expecting high-quality content each time.
Let’s delve into how you can create inspirational content consistently.
Creating User-Generated Content
We all have limited time and content takes creativity and time. So, your strategy for a growing brand can never be creating your own content if your product itself isn’t content creation.
You need time to improve your product and grow your business. Therefore, your content marketing should be built by your users mainly and then, by content creators.
User-generated content is key to success in content marketing. Source: Social Media Week
Once you have core users, then, you can contact them and give them certain incentives such as free products or credit for their next purchase.
From a company perspective, content marketing should be defined as content created by users strategized by the company. The company sets the strategies and standards, opens the playground for the users so that users can add value to the company or product they love.
Users don’t necessarily create content for companies for something in return. They do it because they love the product and they identify themselves with it.
Therefore, creating a great product is what makes you stand out for content marketing. You need to focus on creating a lovable product by many and build the story around it and why you are different from all other products.
Content Creators can be Your Biggest Window for Growth
Content creation is deep into our global culture. Thanks to the amazing power of the internet, you don’t have to own a major media company to make yourself seen by millions. Some content creators have more following than major media companies.
Being a content creator is a full-time job that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Source: Talking Influence
What makes content creators even more special is they build personal relations with their followers. People follow them because they identify with them and they trust their insights about what they like.
Therefore, when content creators post about your product, even if your product is hardly known by anyone, you become an instant brand.
How to Start Collaboration with Content Creators
I have always been a believer in the practicality and benefits of content marketing.
As an entrepreneur with an engineering and business background, I started more than a few companies and collaborated with content creators extensively for one of the fashion companies of mine, BagPrime, a drop shipping company I built on Shopify with over 7,000 bags and worldwide shipping.
Start with creating the list of content creators. There are two ways to create a list of the best content creators for your product. Finding them using the available content creator tools or hiring a content creator expert.
The best content creator tools out there are Upfluence, Brandbassador, and CreatorIQ. They have tiers of membership and they give all the hard data necessary such as followers and engagement rate (ER) and most importantly, you can search by filtering the targeted audience and location.
Upfluence is one of the content creator hubs that you can use to find influencers. Source: Source Forge
The path that I tend to choose for content creators is different. I hire content creator experts who are solely dedicated to working in the space. I post a job on Upwork stating the exact requirements such as how many content creators I need (mostly 100) from each social media channel (Instagram, Youtube, Facebook mostly) or type of blog.
A good way to clarify your job description is to state the range of the number of followers and the engagement rate. I mostly want to work with content creators who have 10k to 100k followers because they are more eager to work with startups that are willing to compensate with discounts or free products. Also, their followers are still more engaged than the content creators with millions of followers.
In the meantime, I make sure that my social media accounts look good and promising. The reason is that when I contact the content creators on Instagram for example with a direct message, the first thing they look at is my profile and if the product and profile look promising, then, they are open to collaboration. If not, they would directly ask for compensation. They also think of their own content and if my content would inspire their followers.
There are more than a few strategies you can use to start your collaboration with content creators.
Referral marketing. As most people name it affiliate marketing, referral marketing is an extremely effective way to create natural buzz and sales for your product. Basically, you can give a discount of 10% to the followers and content creators can also get a 10% from the sales. The percentage can always change depending on your negotiation skills and your margin. It’s always best to have high-margin products so that you can grow your business. 50% margin is a good standard for high-growth companies.
Referral marketing is a win-win for content creators, followers, and your company. Source: The Shelf
Giveaway. People like free stuff, games, and worthwhile and doable challenges. Plan a contest such as giving away a certain number of your products when certain actions are executed.
A great example can be reposting a certain post, following your account, inviting a certain number of friends on social media to a landing page of your contest, or posting content with a certain hashtag that you created for the giveaway campaign. Users may also create their own content using the hashtag.
Companies Using Content Marketing Most Brilliantly
Each content-marketing smart company embraces its own strategy and builds its content around it consistently.
I find 3 companies, namely, Gymshark, Tesla, and Casper, very innovative and unique with regards to their strategies and consistent execution because they know branding requires consistency with actions.
Gymshark, as a fitness apparel company, is the Fitness King of Instagram. The company was founded by a teenager, Ben Francis, back in 2012. From the very beginning, they embraced Instagram and content creators as their main marketing channel.
Fitness ambassadors of Gymshark created a fitness kingdom of 60 million followers. Source: Gymshark
Instagram is the right platform for fitness enthusiasts and Gymshark works with content creators in 131 countries to create visual buzz. They have over 5 million followers and with the sum of the followers of their ambassadors around the world, they are able to reach 60 million people.
They also integrate this marketing with offers and paid ads on Instagram so that they strengthen their presence and differentiate themselves from other brands.
Their complete focus on one social media channel and interesting posts with influential content creators who are fitness creators bring them an extraordinary advantage and loyal following by millions.
Tesla focuses on creating a great product and innovation. As in most other ways, the way Tesla approaches marketing is extremely innovative.
Jaden on a Tesla in the air. That definitely creates a buzz. Source: Drive Tribe
Tesla doesn’t have a marketing budget. Instead, they create exceptional products and keep innovating so that content creators and Tesla owners create the natural buzz for them without paying a single penny.
Elon Musk actually closed both his Instagram and Facebook when he had millions of followers. Instead, he is just using Twitter to dominate the news instantly.
Tesla is an outlier both with regards to its product and its CEO. Therefore, the leader becomes the content creator while content becomes the product. The interesting and innovative Tesla content is loved by content creators.
Casper, as a mattress company, in addition to creating foam mattresses that are foldable and easy to transport, created a fun and interesting story about a neglected part of our lives, sleeping.
When you see a Casper story, you know it’s Casper instantly. Source: Pinterest
Casper’s stories are fun answering the neglected questions or making the unexpected approaches about sleep. Informing people about our relation with sleep while entertaining them.
The part where Casper mastered its content marketing is blogging. Pillow Talk and Van Winkle’s blogs are complete success stories. Casper basically created all its social media content revolving around its blogs to attract its customers to the blog.
Casper Pillow Talk blog traffic sources. Source: Overthink Group
If customers are interested in a humorous and informative sleeping blog, then, they would naturally be interested in a Casper mattress. This idea is brilliant because they are not selling mattresses to the customers, but they become the brand, which people consider when they think of sleeping or when they need a mattress.
The Final Step. Automating Content Marketing.
As you create your strategy of which content platform you will focus on and how you will create the buzz, the final step is to create a constant and consistent flow of top-quality organic content.
You may consider 3 platforms, namely, Buffer, Loomly, and Missinglettr, which offer similar value propositions: making your content marketing smart and scheduling them to post consistently.
Buffer is basically posting on social media and scheduling made easy. You integrate your social media accounts, invite team members if necessary, upload your posts and schedule them.
Buffer is easy to use and you can also invite your team members to collaborate. Source: Buffer
Buffer saves plenty of time so that you are not distracted daily to create and schedule new posts. You can periodically enter your posts, ideally once a week or even once a month and then, Buffer takes care of the rest.
Loomly is a more advanced social media tool that creates a complete assistant for content creation.
Loomly is a great all-around content marketing tool. Source: Capterra
What makes Loomly unique is that it creates recommendations for possible posts using RSS feeds and trending topics on Twitter. It’s also a great tool to collaborate with your team members and interact with your audience.
Loomly even helps for post and ad design. It’s a strong tool that you can manage all your social media accounts, customize your posts and see the results of each post to analyze accordingly.
Missinglettr is a relatively new social media tool and what makes it unique is that it integrates AI for social media posts while suggesting texts, images, and tags.
Missinglettr has a free trial option. Source: ShoutMeLoud
You are able to integrate one of your social media channels such as Medium, enter the link of the post, and then, the system automatically generates the possible posts with the images, texts, and tags. It’s easy to edit all and once you are done editing, you can schedule them to post on Twitter and Facebook.
Missinglettr also has a new feature, which is branded as “curate”. Curate lets you add your content into Missinglettr and then, content creators from around the world, 24,000 to be exact, share the content of each other, that they find interesting.
Content is King and always will be because humans live with stories.
As a company in the 21st century, once you find your story, it’s much easier to share and find your target audience. You just need to create the right content marketing strategy for your brand and become great at execution by finding smart solutions.
In this regard, content marketing is much like SEO. It takes a little while to build, however, once you have it flowing, it may become the prime source of business if you can strategize correctly, motivate your audience to tell your story, and use the tools for automation.