Disclaimer: It will take months before you start seeing any results.
Great. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s dive in.
Don’t spend $1 on content marketing before writing your manifesto blog post.
What should your manifesto post include:
- The story of why you started your startup
- What your vision and goals are for the future (Think product roadmap)
- Who it’s for and how it’s going to change their lives
- An explanation of how you fit into the overarching marketplace, don’t be afraid to call out your competitors by name.
You want this post to be overflowing with authenticity so it’s probably a good idea to not outsource this to a freelancer and write it yourself. But definitely pay a professional editor 2-3 hours of time to give it a comb-over, especially if you’re not a native English speaker!
The manifesto blog post will set the precedent for your content strategy moving forwards.
Why it’s so important:
- It humanizes your startup and gets people rooting for you
- It cements your positioning in the market
- It cements your ICP (ideal customer persona) as well as who is NOT a good fit for your solution
It’s you putting the stake into the ground, saying, “we’re here!”
Don’t skip this blog post!
If you’re thinking of just managing all the content yourself, then good luck!
Not that it’s impossible (there are numerous case studies of Indiehackers who managed coding, design, and marketing themselves for a very long time before bringing on help) but in my opinion, it’s a bit masochistic.
Just to put things in perspective, when I started GrowthMentor back in 2018, I had 10+ years of experience in marketing under my belt (in my prior life I was VP of Growth at EuroVPS and my forte’ was, content) and even I didn’t dare to try to go it alone.
I brought along my most trusted freelancer Dane Cobain to help me out.
I was just too busy “doing startup shit” to write all the content myself, but I knew it had to be done if I was serious about giving this startup a fighting chance down the road. I wanted to plant the seeds of SEO early on as I had zero intentions of
selling my soul raising funding from VCs so I knew that PPC would be out of budget for me and wanted a growth channel that would give me compounding returns (SEO).
Instead of spending time doing the writing, here’s what I did instead to leverage my time:
- Created a content strategy
- Wrote the outlines for Dane (often times the first draft, too) and project managed everything
- Editing and keyword optimization after he’d deliver the posts
- Distribution (fancy word for “share on Twitter and Facebook”)
I’ll go over all the bullet points above in detail, but before that, I want to talk about how to find a really good writer like Dane.
How to find an amazing freelance writer to help you in phase 1.0
I wish I had some epic secret to share, but I don’t.
I simply hired a lot of writers on Upwork over the years and through the process of trial and error, I stumbled on Dane Cobain and decided that he was going to be my #1 go-to for really important writing assignments. I just really dug his writing style, his stoic nature, the fact that he makes Youtube video reviews for books, and ability to mirror my irreverent writing style and ghostwrite for me.
So to distill this, here are some options to find a great writer to help you with your first 90 days of content marketing at your startup:
Create a content strategy
This is the anti-theory, anti-academic approach, written specifically for you, the founder who just wants someone to tell them what to do.
- Figure out what people are typing into Google when they’re in “shopping mode.” For example in our case, it’s “find startup mentor,” or “where to hire a marketing advisor,” or “GrowthMentor alternatives.” These are all queries that have high purchase intent. You need to prioritize ranking for these kind of keywords first. The more specific you can get, the better. For example, “startup mentors for bootstrapped SaaS founders” > “Startup Mentors” unless you are going to pack the heat and write a killer blog post like the one that we did. This one ended up ranking position #1 for “startup mentor” within 2 months of publishing when we were little babies. Now our homepage ranks for position #1 and that blog post doesn’t rank anywhere, which is cool with us 🙂
- Write “alternatives to” blog posts but don’t be a dick. Be honest about where the others are better than you, and showcase your “X factor.” Here’s one that we did comparing ourselves to Clarity.fm. This blog posts has made us about $10k in revenue.
- Write a “round up” style blog post rounding up all the players in your industry. Give a fair analysis, do it yourself if you’re the founder, nobody knows your industry better than you. Here’s the one that we made comparing all the online mentoring platforms out there, segmented by type of mentorship platform. Have an originality nugget that makes your round-up stand apart from the others.
- Look into if you can play the “scale out” SEO game with use case-specific landing pages (that also happen to have some volume). When we launched GrowthMentor, we made over a hundred of them by hand, I wrote about it here 3 years ago. Don’t be lazy like 90% of everyone else and just swap out keywords in the H1, H2, and 2 occurrences in the body and call it a day. Make sure that each page has a section that makes it unique and adds value. Here’s an example of a use case-specific landing page we made that’s also brought in at least $20k in revenue. Time to create? 30 minutes.
- Interview people in your niche and create journalistic-style content that’s got a unique perspective, is a bit contrarian and is interesting to read. I mention this last because a.) it’s super hard to pull off, but b.) if you can, it can be a game-changer. It is possible to pull this off without you being the core interviewer or writer but you do need to set up standard operating procedures (SOPs). These usually are the result of lots of trial and error doing it “manual mode” until you figure out the recipe. We’re still working on this ourselves.
If you’re currently in the process of creating a content marketing strategy for your startup but don’t have unlimited cash reserves to hire full-time writers, consider speaking to a growth mentor that specializes in content marketing or content operations.
Here are some questions bootstrapped founders usually ask me:
- Where can I find a good freelance content copywriter (trade-off for quality/cost)
- What sort of budget should I spend for a “good enough” content copywriter?
- What publishing cadence is ideal for a bootstrapped startup?
- What sort of results should I expect to see from my content strategy over 3,6,12 months
- What do you see working and not working in early-stage startup content marketing strategies?
- What distribution channels should I focus on?
- What about just posting on Tiktok, LinkedIn, or Youtube? Do I even need a blog?
And then there’s the whole dilemma of “is this even worth doing if my content isn’t better than what’s already out there.”
A valid point as there are 4.4 million blog posts are being published each day.
What makes your content so special that it’ll stand out?
If you don’t have a good answer, then probably don’t invest the resources to create the content.
Leaving you with a shamless CTA, if you want to chat through your content strategy, sign up to GrowthMentor.
- It’s really not that expensive compared to similar alternatives
- The mentors are all qualified and are a joy to speak with
- You’ll be part of a community filled with like-minded founders and marketers