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5 common mistakes when starting up content marketing

by Ana Lopez
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Content marketing is one of the most important promotional strategies for early-stage startups. The reason is that it can be done without any capital and can provide a great return on your invested time and effort if done right.

If you have your content marketing strategy depending on your capabilities and needs, chances are you are wasting your time.

Here are a few mistakes that inexperienced founders often make when deciding to try content marketing for the first time.

1. Investing too little time or resources

While content marketing can be done without money, it still takes time and resources to be effective. You need to be able to consistently produce high-quality content, and on top of that, you need to put in the extra effort to promote your content.

This is not something every early stage startup can afford. If you have very little time, it might be better to invest it in developing, testing and selling your product and put off content marketing to a later stage when you can get it right.

2. Focusing on quantity over quality

Given your limited time and resources, you would often have to choose between quality and quantity, in which case quality should be your choice. Quantity is great, but when it comes to content, quality is non-negotiable.

We live in the age of user-generated content – there’s an ocean of things to read, watch, and listen to. This means that in order to stand out, you need to produce exceptionally good content for your target audience.

3. Having unrealistic quality expectations

That said, as an early-stage startup, you need to put your quality expectations into context. High quality content does not necessarily need high production value. High production value is usually too expensive for fledgling startups, so you’ll need to provide enough value in some other way – usually by saying original, useful, and interesting things about your topic.

High gloss and high production value are two of the many things that can make a piece of content successful, and they are generally not critical. Considering their cost, they are not worth the investment while you are short of resources in the early start-up phase.

4. Failure to define a target audience

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying to cater to a general audience. Instead, in the early start-up phase, you should focus on a niche starved for good content, and put your unique spin on it.

You need to know who your ideal customer is, what their pain points are and how your product or service can help them. This information will guide your content creation and ensure it resonates with your target audience.

Clear targeting makes it much easier to promote your content, and the feedback and communication you receive will be much more productive for your product development efforts.

Last but not least, by choosing a niche you avoid direct competition with professionals who have access to more resources.

5. Create content that is too promotional

Your audience doesn’t want to be sold at every turn; they want valuable, educational content that helps them solve problems or learn something new. Content marketing is usually at the beginning of the sales funnel. You need to provide value to your audience and gain their trust first. You would be able to get leads and convert them only because of that.

In summary:

  • Keep in mind that you need to invest a significant amount of time and effort to do content marketing right
  • Focus on quality over quantity, but learn to deliver quality without consuming too many resources
  • Target accurately and intentionally promote your content
  • Don’t oversell in most of your content pieces

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