The opinions expressed by contributors are of their own.

If you are familiar with content marketing, you know what the desired end-state looks like.

  • A blog that generates the majority of your website’s organic search traffic as well as a significant portion of your sales leads
  • Downloadable resources and educational webinars that add heaps of new email contacts to your marketing list every month
  • Videos, podcasts and guest articles that help your brand get discovered in channels outside of your website

If you are starting from scratch, how do you get there? Existing content libraries are not used by B2B startups. They don't have the time or resources to do trial-and-error. I've put together a little plan to help you get your startup content program off to a good start. How to calculate the return on investment for your content marketing campaign.

One of my company's most reliable sources of content-sourced leads is an article about alternatives. These visitors are looking at a competing solution. They are looking for a reason to buy elsewhere, and something is stopping them from doing that. If you can position your solution as being strong where the competitor brand is weak, you will have a good shot of turning these visitors into sales leads. If your article is against one of your main competitors, you will come off as unreliable. Even if your company doesn't have direct competitors, you can still get mileage out of this content type. Do you know how your potential buyers are addressing the problem that you solve? It can be through peripheral solutions or manual effort. Then, write an article about the pros and cons of each method, with your solution at the top of the list.

2. Time-saving templates

We all want to take work out of our day. B2B sales and marketing professionals rely on email to communicate with their customers and templates help us do that. We have had a lot of success publishing content around cold email templates, marketing email templates and welcome email templates. One of these expert-sourced templates will usually bring more success than trying to create something from scratch. Template content is a great way to associate your brand with expertise and helpfulness. Potential buyers will be more likely to engage with your other content if you provide something that gets them a quick win. When they need the kind of solution you provide, what are your buyers trying to do quickly? What can you do to get them 80 percent of the way there? Brainstorming ways to save your buyers time. If you decide to gate it, the resulting content will drive traffic to your site as well as help you collect more email addresses. Is your content worth the download?

3. Thought-leadership that takes a stand

It's not about what you offer in a crowded market. Everyone is offering the same thing. Thought-leadership is any content that involves a member of your team sharing original insights or opinions related to your industry. Many brands attempt this type of content, but it disappears without a trace. The reason? It doesn't challenge the reader enough to make them want to read it again. The status quo is represented by all the market leaders in your category. Ask your company's founders some questions.

  • What’s broken about our industry?
  • What’s the most ridiculous thing that customers in our category accept as an unchangeable fact?
  • What is our crusade? What do we want to change about the world around us (not just about our industry)?
  • Whose minds are we trying to change, and what are we trying to convince them of?

The foundation for thought-leadership content can be formed by the answers to these questions. Don't worry aboutruffling feathers. You want people to talk about you? There are 4 proven tips for creating a competitive business.

A word to the wise…

It's a mistake for startups to try to get their brand to rank for broadKeywords before their website's domain authority is established. If you are launching a new health supplement company. It's very unlikely that you will organically land on the first page of the search engine for the phrase, best vitamins. Competition from established brands and review sites has led to this. My advice is to focus on long-tail phrases for the first few years of your brand's existence. You will be able to create more content around specific phrases. Best vitamins for new mothers or health supplements to prevent the common cold are phrases. This type of product type for specific use case content is just as valuable for established businesses. My company still gets hundreds of sales leads from articles like this. They attract purchase-motivated visitors with a very specific requirement that the product must address or else it is a deal-breaker. After you knock out everything else on the list, I suggest putting some effort into this type of content.

I hope this will help your program get off to a good start. Let me know which types of content have made an impact on your business by connecting with me on LinkedIn. Thank you for reading!

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