Why Content Marketing is Important for Startups
Globally, marketing nerds and ad gurus collectively unite on the fact that quality content makes for a winning promotional strategy. To understand the importance of content marketing and how startups can effectively benefit from a smart content strategy, we caught up with Jason Mandell, co-founder at LaunchSquad, a creative communications agency that specializes in PR, content & video. Read on!
What makes LaunchSquad unique?
LaunchSquad is where brands go to break ground & share stories of insight & inspiration.
Over the past decade, we’ve continued to push ourselves to innovate and evolve our services to align with the world of new media. We believe in taking a holistic approach to communication that takes advantage of all the ways that a story can be shared through owned, earned and even some paid media. Our services are supported by a mix of media relations, content marketing, creative campaigns, video production, social media and digital strategy.
We’ve worked with companies of all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s helping develop Amazon’s self-publishing business, supporting StubHub as it transforms its business, building American Giant into one of the hottest new fashion brands in the world, or taking Okta from an early stage software startup to a promising staff of more than 500. We believe our fine-tuned set of services and constantly-evolving talent can develop a winning communications program for virtually any company.
Share with us some of your most memorable projects/assignments/clients. How did LaunchSquad transform these businesses?
There have been many interesting projects that are etched in our memories.
- Allbirds came to LaunchSquad as a two-person upstart with a vision to introduce the world to a new kind of shoe company made from sustainable products and sold direct-to-consumer. We unveiled Allbirds by releasing dozens of stories across every category of media and these stories converted to explosive success as the company sold through the first three months of projected inventory in a mere three weeks. Time Magazine’s headline captured the story well: “The World’s Most Comfortable Shoes.”
- Otto burst onto the scene in early 2016 with breakthrough self-driving technology for trucks. We unveiled the company to an incredible media reception and helped put Otto on the radar of every company in the auto industry and, in August, Otto was acquired by Uber.
- Stubhub wanted to position itself as more than just a destination for transactions. Initially, we helped them create messaging about being “more than a ticket” and more recently, we’ve helped lead the conversation about the “experience economy.” As a result of our strategies, we’ve built incredible relationships with various media and have really helped to make StubHub famous when it comes to the experience economy.
What are some DIY PR tips that you’d advise to young startups?
A little bit of reading and business research can go a long way. Get to know the people covering your industry and identify those who are relevant to you and your company. Then, go ahead and start a dialogue by either engaging with them on social media or reaching out directly via email to introduce yourself and what you are doing. Send something concise, direct, authentic and not overly self-serving.
When exhibiting at a startup fest or a tech event, what should a startup do to get maximum eyeballs?
It’s easy for startups to get lost in the mix at the larger tech conferences like SXSW or CES. New companies should focus on what truly makes their product, service or tech stand out from everybody else and lean on that to make a splash. If your company isn’t quite ready for primetime or your founder isn’t a formal part of the program, you should view these events as business development opportunities rather than showcases or a major PR opportunity.
How should startups go about creating and promoting video content marketing?
Visual storytelling continues to grow in importance and impact. Short-form video is more dominant today as compared to the two-minute “explainer” videos of the past. Develop a few 30 to 45-second videos that quickly tell your story and share them through your social media handles. Then consider putting some promotional dollars behind it to give it a lift and to ensure that it builds traction with the right people. Another top tip includes making sure your video aligns with your goals – whether that be awareness, engagement, acquisition or clicks/downloads/sales. Keep a clear focus of what the video is intended to achieve before you start creating it.
What should a young startup do in order to build a sustainable content marketing plan?
It’s important to take a step back and develop an overall editorial strategy and direction and then set practical goals. Don’t overcommit in the initial phase or set expectations that are unrealistic. It takes a committed effort to develop a sustainable and impactful content marketing campaign. It is imperative for you to opt for a quality-over-quantity approach; focus on generating compelling, story-oriented pieces as opposed to content that is directly promotional in nature. Always think about who will be consuming the information and what will they be interested in.