First 20 Content Pieces to Create that Will Actually Drive Revenue
CEO of Letterdrop, former Product Manager on Google Search
As the founder of a startup, you're probably feeling the weight of needing to create content to get customers.
Your instinct might be to hire an SEO agency. Been there; done that. It's not the move. Trust me.
I've been in your position and spoken with hundreds of other YC startup founders — figuring out how to build inbound with content is a common roadblock. You have limited resources, runway, and a bazillion things requiring your time.
Let me save you from blowing tens of thousands of dollars on an agency to figure out your content strategy as an early startup (not saying agencies are bad; you don't need one right now). Follow this formula, and you'll be good for the next five to six months, assuming you can publish weekly. It comes down to getting to know your ICP, breaking down their thought process, and using content to answer questions at each stage in the buyer journey.
Steps to Generate Your First 20 Blog Post Ideas
Generating blogs that matter revolves around understanding how your customer thinks. How are they finding you, what is their #1 problem, do you speak their language, and how close are they to paying for a solution?
Step 1: Reach Out to Your Ideal Customers
Talk to at least 10-20 of your ideal customers. You can sample these from your existing customers, and if you're not there yet, do some cold outbound. Tell them you're a founder, the problem you're solving and that you would like to ask them about their life. You'll get A LOT of Nos or no response, but you only need a handful to talk.
Ask customers for feedback on their experiences and opinions to understand what they want, and you'll deliver valuable content.
Step 2: Listen Actively and Take Notes
Your goal is to actively listen to your ICP and uncover stories and experiences that can inspire content. I highly recommend reading the book The Mom Test to understand how to be a good interviewer. It helps you listen instead of projecting your assumptions on your customer.
Record the meeting to reference it later if you're doing Zoom calls. You can use a tool like Fathom or Fireflies to get a transcription.
Ask your customers to describe their day-to-day. Watch out for:
Frustrations they organically mention
How they searched for solutions
The ins and outs of their job
The stakeholders in their organization
What tools do they use today
What products excite them
Their past successes and failures
You should also actively take down notes. Transcriptions are great, but what you write down pinpoints what sticks out and helps you listen better.
Step 3: Search for Unprompted Feedback in Customer Support or Reviews Sites
This is raw unfiltered feedback where your customers reveal their questions, desires, what they're happy about, and what makes them upset.
If your product has G2 reviews or similar, you can find feedback there. You can also comb through the support chats on Intercom or Zendesk.
You should note down all the questions being asked here as well.
Step 4: Consider the 4 Stages of Awareness
The buyer journey has four stages of awareness: unaware, problem-aware, solution-aware, and product-aware. You need content that answers your customer's questions at each stage.
If you want a spreadsheet template for the below framework, we can email it to you.
Here's what an example of what a 4-Part Content Solution Framework looks like:
Every stage offers an opportunity for a blog post. We'll show you how to create a handful of posts mapping to each stage.
Step 5: Develop 5 Different Types of Articles for Each Section of the Framework
Here's a list of 5 different formats that'll drive traffic to each stage of your content framework.
"How to" articles that solve your customer's problem
Time to take the 4-part framework and multiply it by these five articles per stage to get your 20 blog posts.
1. "How to" Articles that Solve Your Customer's Problem
"How-to" articles attract customers searching for solutions. You might want to do some keyword research to understand the search volume here and optimize for the right "how to" question. But otherwise, just focus on writing a really damn good guide on how to solve a business problem. You can re-use this content as sales enablement.
These articles provide steps to complete a task or reach a goal, which drives traffic to your website. This article you're reading right now is a "How to" article that is helping you create your first 20 blog posts.
Here are some sample "How to" article ideas to publish at each stage:
If you offer a content generation tool like Letterdrop, you can provide templates for creating content calendars, content briefs, and blog posts. These tend to be in the Solution Aware stage since the user is clearly already looking for a solution through templates.
People trust other people's opinions. 68% of customers make buying decisions after seeing a partnered campaign. Try co-marketing by interviewing experts in your space and writing down what you learn from them. They'll increase distribution by sharing the resulting content for you on their feeds.
Here are some examples of how the experts fit into your content framework:
Product Aware: 18 Best SEO Tools That SEO Experts Actually Use In 2022
From Idea to Impact: Focus on Your ICP for Effective Blogs
A blog may seem like just another item on your never-ending to-do list, but it's your ticket to building authority online. And what better way to build authority than to be the one-stop shop for solutions throughout the buying process?
Talk to your customers. Map the buyer journey. Tie solutions to the pain points that crop up at every stage. You'll have 20 blogs out in no time — without those SEO agency fees weighing down your conscience (and your pockets).
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