9 Tips to Conquer Startup Content Marketing


Everyone is doing it. It’s no secret. Google something and what often comes up in the first few results are links to a blog, a video, or an article related to your search terms. These aren’t particularly formal websites, but are very well written (And high trafficked) pieces of content hosted on someone’s, or a company’s, blog. What are they excelling at in particular?

It’s Content Marketing!

And guess what? We are all trying to conquer it. Some have been successful, others have failed. The ultimate question is, where do you stand?

It’s not for everyone or every company, but if it is something you are doing or planning to do, here are nine tips to dominate the space.

1. Create Really Great Content, Really!

Hire writers, use an editor and promote the crap out of your content (We will get to that), but seriously just create GREAT stuff. I know, everyone makes this the first point when they discuss content marketing, but it cannot be stressed enough: great content is great marketing.

Create content that is remarkably useful, that is enjoyable to consume, and that lets the reader know exactly what to do next.”

- Sonia Simone, Co-Founder of CopyBlogger.

Who is creating really great content?
  1. Copyblogger
  2. Kissmetrics
  3. Unbounce
  4. Hubspot
  5. Copy Hackers
  6. TwistImage
  7. Dollar Shave Club
  8. Salesforce


2. Be Consistent. It’s Expected!

When we first started the Onboardly blog, we posted here and there. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t consistent and it certainly wasn’t fun. But we got our ducks in a row and created an editorial schedule that held our entire team accountable to publishing twice a week, Monday’s and Thursday’s (There is a science to those days). No matter what, we post great content on those days. Though we haven’t done much to grow our following yet, we have developed enough of a community who has grown to expect to hear from us. I doubt any of them have it in their calendars to look for the next Onboardly post on a Monday, but internally, we work hard to stick to our guns and make sure we follow our own rules. It’s essential to the success of our Content Marketing Strategy.

3. Content Promotion is 80% of the Work

Derek Helpern said it best; most people spend 80% of their time creating content and only 20% promoting it. “If you spend all this time creating content and not promoting it, how are you going to make sure people even know your content exists?” If a tree falls in the forest … Dun dun dun! Look, I know it takes FOREVER to create super-great-awesome content and you think you have won once your drafts are published, but the reality is that your work has just started. At Onboardly, we have identified that it takes eight hours from blog post idea to publication – writing, editing, SEOing, uploading, etc. If Helpern’s math is right, I still have 14.4 more hours to put into promoting this piece. Yowza! (See why hiring a Content Marketing team is important? Note: this is not a self-promotional message. Wink wink.)

4. Use Your PR Skills

What? You need to know a little PR? Heck yes! How else are you going to get the best people to interview, help promote content, generate leads, get more traffic and conversions and ultimately get your content in front of the right people – influencers? You need to dust off that PR for Dummies book and get to work. PR and Content Marketing, it’s a collaboration, not a competition!

5. Great Content is Not Enough

I am not going against the first point. Take #1 and #3 together, that’s power! But now you need to sprinkle on some engagement. Your content needs to create a sense of urgency, for someone to take action. Whether it’s for them to share, comment or, heck, become a paying customer, there needs to be a clear purpose for you ‘giving’ something away.

For it is in giving that we receive.”

- St. Francis of Assisi

6. Mobile is Inevitable

Hello responsive design! You’re sexy. With more people turning to their mobile phones to do more than call their grandma, your content strategy needs to deliver on that tiny screen too. Experience across multiple devices needs to be seamless. Let’s face it, we are all publishers today and with that comes the expectation that your content will be easy to read and share from anywhere despite a possible slow connection.

This “mobile-first” approach is important because it forces you to design for the most frustrating viewing experiences — a small screen and a slow connection — and zero in on what matters most,”

explains Giovannia Calabro in his piece for the Content Marketing Institute.


But load time (speed) is also an important factor. “Research shows even small delays in load time can turn away viewers, and so a design that begins with the mobile experience prioritizes speed, leading to a better desktop experience as well”

7. Know Your Audience

A rock band will stop at nothing to swear and smash their guitars on stage. They wear horribly tight leather pants and cheapish white t-shirts, look grungy and entertain without manners. They can do this because they know their audience. You wouldn’t do that with your content without FIRST taking note of who you are targeting.


Don’t pick a topic to write about. Pick a person to write for.”

- Janet Aronica


Determine the following:
  1. Who is your target reader? (Age, gender, nationality, favorite sports team)
  2. What other blogs or resources do they read?
  3. What can you teach them, and what can you give them?
  4. What personas will you create?
  5. What is your voice?


8. Pick the RIGHT Keywords

First, think about how people will find you online. What search terms can you anticipate people using to get to you? At Onboardly our main focus is startupPR, customer acquisition and content marketing. Some have very high competition, but guess what? We are working to rank for them. Should you do the same? It depends. Dive into the Google Keyword Tool to see what keywords have high competition and to discover the right terms to use.

To start, pick up to 10 keywords with the volume range you are looking for and test them, say, using paid channels [Sorry Mr. Accountant, you are going to have to invest some money into your content marketing plan]. It won’t take long to discover what works and what does not.

From there, start generating topic ideas using a mixture of keywords. Put them into an editorial calendar and get writing!

9. Reuse and Recycle

If you have published enough blog posts, you most likely have enough content to create an eBook or whitepaper. And you most certainly have enough to create some kick-ass slideshare presentations. Make sure you are using as many relevant channels as possible; webinar, resource centre, video, infographic, you name it. Reuse and recycle your content. Speaking at an event and don’t know what to say? Grab your eBook as an outline. Need to beef up your Clarity profile? Use video and blog posts. There are always many reasons and purposes for your content so don’t be afraid to repurpose.

Though it’s a buzzword, Content Marketing is live and here to stay. It will grow and adapt to the changing business landscape, as it already has in the past couple years, but it shouldn’t be ignored.

What tips can you suggest for content marketing that I may have missed?



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About Renee Warren

Renée Warren is the Co-Founder of Onboardly, a company that works with funded technology startups that have a product their customers love. Often referred to as a ‘geek in stilettos’, Renée has been an entrepreneur since she was 17 years old. Having run a successful restaurant at such a young age, she quickly learned the necessary skills and tactics needed to promote her companies. Her belief that one must always measure content strategy against a benchmark - i.e.: customer acquisition - is perhaps what has led her to achieve time and tested results with startups she’s worked with in the past and moving forward.