Does it Make Sense For Startups to Create Content?

I wind up interfacing with a lot of different San Francisco startups at different events, and the conversation invariably turns to marketing, and then I get questions about one of the biggest trends in marketing: content creation. More specifically, why is it such a big deal these days and do I have to do it? This occurs regardless of industry, target audience, even at all various stages in their investment and development cycle. It’s a good question to ask too, because it means that the startups have been keeping their pulse on the marketing industry. The short answer is this: 1) content creation has always been a big deal, it just hasn’t always been discussed as such. 2) Not necessarily, but if it is good fit for you, there are a few ways about it.

In many cases, content creation is a smart marketing tool with many benefits, particularly for those in the competitive San Francisco startup arena. However, like all marketing approaches, it’s not for everyone. So let’s get a better understanding of what’s involved, and by the end of this article, you’ll know whether or not it’s worth your time, money, and effort.

What Is Content Creation?

To get started, let’s examine what we mean by content creation and how it can be helpful for your startup. Content refers to anything that could engage a viewer on the web. That means blog posts, full-length articles, infographics, meme-based graphics, podcasts, videos, and more. If someone can click on it with the intention of reading/watching/listening to it, then it’s content. Content creation, then, is the task of building that from the ground up. For marketing purposes, agencies like Forward Push refer to content creation as creating these items over regular intervals so there’s always something to distribute or discuss.

How Can Startups Benefit From Content Creation?

startup-marketing-content-creationThere are both inbound marketing and general marketing benefits for content creation. From an inbound perspective, content creation — particularly when handled on a regular basis with regular distribution — gives you the means for creating a sustainable digital footprint. Given all of the digital pathways that lead to your brand, articles, infographics, videos, etc. can all be indexed by search engines, shared on social media, and much more.

And from a more practical perspective, content creation can be repurposed over and over again. Want to make your startup stand out at a tech event? Start handing out some nice-looking infographics. Need to convince investors that there’s traction for your startup? Send out the case study you’ve created. Content can be used to represent your brand in many different ways and many different places; that’s why we say that investing in content has been around long before Google search engine spiders cared about it.

When Is Content Creation A Poor Fit?

The title of this article is “Should Startups Invest In Content Creation?” and the key word there is invest. You can invest time, money, or energy into an endeavor, but only if you have the resources to devote to it. Let’s examine how those break down:

  • Time: Maybe you enjoy writing or graphic design but your primary role is as a programmer. Can you find the time to write an article or make an infographic?
  • Money: Content creation can be outsourced to a firm like Forward Push or other agencies, but only if you can afford it. Does your marketing budget have the capacity to pay a contractor for services?
  • Energy: For some people, writing or other forms of content creation are painful processes, and cranking out a three-minute video or writing 600 words can be a long, draining process. Is your staff willing to commit to getting these done?

Content creation is a poor fit if you can’t answer “Yes” to any of these questions. Your marketing efforts are better spent on other avenues — for example, paid search ads or ads on social media platforms allow for immediate exposure while providing strict control over budget.

What Should Your Startup Do?

Content creation requires commitment, and the main reason for this involves visibility. If your blog is stagnant with months between posts, people will notice when they check out your site. On the other hand, if it is filled with regular updates, this gets the attention of Google, social media, and potential clients and investors. So when your startup decides on how to approach things, consider the pros and cons presented above. If you’d like a little more clarity regarding the commitment needed to turn content creation into a true asset, contact me at Forward Push — I’d be happy to answer your questions and clear up any confusion about this marketing trend.

Bonus Content

Download The Startup’s Guide to Content Creation PDF for free. Click here.

By Marc Apple