Why now is the perfect time for startups to create content

“Content is king.”

It’s a phrase that many entrepreneurs are familiar with, but few truly understand.

Content is one of the most affordable – and effective – marketing tools companies have at their disposal. It doesn’t cost much these days to create a high-quality explainer video, never mind a 750-word article. What’s more, good content can drive traffic to your website, position you as an authority in your field, and build awareness around your brand for years to come.

Unfortunately, many startups still struggle to reliably produce well-thought out, meaningful content. Instead, most of the content I see startups put out reminds me of the kind of stuff you’d find in the dollar bin at Bestbuy – of little value and a waste of time.

This has to change. With people staying indoors more and international travel severely limited due to COVID-19, demand for content has never been higher. In order for today’s startups to outperform their competitors, they’ll need to invest more time and resources into high-quality content creation.

The growth of the distraction economy

The death of the travel/adventure economy has given new life to the distraction economy.

In an interview with AdAge about the ramifications of COVID-19 on advertising, Omnicom Group North America CEO, Scott Hagedorn, stated,

“. . .people are desperate for new content as something to do . . . everybody’s looking for whatever, anything, something new coming out that they can divert their attention towards. . .”

And that,

“. . .there’s definitely, I think, more attention paid to streaming. . .”

It’s no surprise that streaming content has kicked into high gear. It’s authentic. It’s in the moment. And, most of all, it makes you feel like your world is bigger.

I wrote about the growing popularity of live streaming in an article titled, “What Instagram in a global pandemic can teach us about human nature,”

“The fact that hundreds of thousands of people are tuning in to Instagram live during a global pandemic suggests that if humans cannot be together, they at the very least want to see something together. In other words, humans will naturally gravitate towards shared visual experiences. . .”

But it isn’t just the consumption of streaming content that’s increasing. Across the board, every generation from Gen Z to Boomers is consuming more content – be it online videos, online press, over-the-top (OTT) media, or broadcast TV.

In short, there’s never been a better time for startups to create original content. Below, I’ll list five of my top content creation tips for 2020 that can help companies create better, more impactful media.

5 content creation tips for 2020

1. Be authentic

If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this: the content you produce needs to be authentic. Humans have an uncanny ability to sense when something is “off,” and nothing is more off-putting than when someone isn’t who they’re attempting to be on screen.

Whether it’s a video or a blog post, find a way to showcase the human side of your company. Not the bloopers around the office or the rendition of a cold, corporate manifesto – but rather what your organization stands for and why. Your customer will thank you.

2. Focus on user experience

In my opinion, the Libra whitepaper is one of the best whitepapers ever made. That’s not just because it’s well-written and immaculately organized – it’s because of the user experience for the reader.

Instead of just creating a PDF version, Facebook took the time to create a one-pager site for its Libra whitepaper, complete with a detailed glossary and floating sidebar menu for ease of navigation. This makes for a much more pleasant read, especially for recurrent visitors.

What Facebook did isn’t by any means hard or expensive to do – it just took a little bit more time and effort. When you find yourself crafting your next whitepaper or product page, keep the user experience top of mind.

3. Make your content easy to find

No matter how great your content is, it won’t do you any good if your audience can’t find it easily. Make sure your website is designed to make content consumption as easy as possible by performing an internal audit every 3-6 months. The more content you have, the more likely it is that users can’t find it efficiently.

4. Compile your best content for new users

Creating compilations of your ‘best of’ content (e.g. content hubs, recap videos) is one of the most effective ways to hook new users. By presenting a new subscriber or potential customer with your highest-value content right away, you demonstrate immediate value and increase the chances of retention.

5. Maintain brand voice across content

This last tip ties back into the first; when multiple people are producing content, it’s important they all maintain the same brand voice (e.g. calm, confident, lighthearted, academic). Otherwise, the content you’re creating won’t seem authentic at all. As mentioned earlier, disingenuity is one of the gravest sins when it comes to content creation.

Corporate content can change society

With the demand for fresh content at an all-time high, many startups are being forced to re-think how they approach content creation. Content is no longer a “nice to have” marketing tool – it’s a necessity. In some instances, it could even be considered a moral imperative, given the influence corporations can have on the modern world.

Aaron Hoddinott

Investor and marketer willing to take big swings at bold ideas.

Aaron Hoddinott

Investor and marketer willing to take big swings at bold ideas.