You’ve probably figured out that I’m crazy about great content. I believe in the importance of content. That’s why I’m always looking for ways to support start-ups and SMEs in writing more and better content. So, when I came across a recent WIRED.CO.UK article on the hottest start-ups in London, I got curious about what their “content life”. I’ve been busy curating content and blog post ideas for you.
Start-ups like Monzo, Digital Shadows, Ravelin and mum-tech, Let’s Mush did not fail me. They have been doing their content homework – yay! The result is these 12 blog post ideas from London’s hottest start-ups. I hope you’ll try one each month of 2018.
Monzo is a Fintech company that prides itself on building a bank for the business community. Its website has a strong identity, in addition to blogging a couple of times a week.
Blog post idea 1: Give a Rundown of Your To-do List
On Monzo’s blog, it has a rundown of the company’s to-do list. This includes what they want to achieve for their customers and creates anticipation for new features, events and technology.
Nested is a Property technology company. It has made the property sector fresh and fun, calling themselves: “The estate agents with a difference”.
Blog post idea 2: Publish Customer Stories & Reviews
A whole section of their website is dedicated to customer stories. They get pictures and data from the customer and put together the story. Data includes how long it takes to receive an offer for their house and the % valuation that they eventually get on the sale.
Digital Shadows – As a leader in digital risk and cybersecurity, this start-up uses content to show credibility and build trust with target customers. They have a well-established blog with around 250 blog posts written so far and a resource centre with several whitepapers and data-backed reports.
Blog post idea 3: Deep dive into Your Expertise
Digital Shadows oozes credibility through their web content. They go deep into trending topics such as GDPR and cybersecurity. Their detailed reports are easy to download and do not require you to provide an email address. But they leave you wanting to give it to them anyway!
Let’s Mush is an app that helps mums make local mum friends, like a Tinder for mums. It is in a group of apps sometimes referred to as “mum-tech” or “parent-tech”. The app has a growing community in the US, Canada and Australia.
Blog post idea 4: Address a Common Pain Point
There are a number of useful and humorous articles on the Let’s Mush blog. The writers have a nice way of tackling everyday challenges of being a mother. As a mother myself, I totally relate to these posts. Addressing common pains is a great way to engage with an audience on a deeper level.
Starship Technology is a company building a network of robots. Its founders are the co-founders of Skype, Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla. They are well-funded and they have already run several tests all over the world.
Blog post idea 5: Re-post Third-Party Press Releases
These guys skip straight to third-party articles that mention them. Wired, The Telegraph and London’s Evening Standard are just some of the places that have written about this innovative start-up. The Starship Press page publishes the first two lines of the articles and then points visitors to the full article on the original third-party website. If you don’t like to write/have time to write but you are getting a fair bit of media coverage, this is one way to go!
Seenit is a content tech startup that helps users to curate stories via their app. With clients like Unilever and Adidas, the company is revolutionizing video story-telling with a combination of community and technology.
Blog post idea 6: Showcase Customers Using Your Product
By the nature of their product, Seenit has tons of content from customers using the product. Customers submit their stories, videos and behind-the-scenes scoop. It appears that this kind of content is so popular that Seenit has separate pages for blogs and stories. There are stories from organisations such as Adidas, The Body Shop. The National Lottery and BBC Three. If you have big name clients, this could really work.
Blog post idea 7: Create a Guide
One of the many things that Seenit is good at is helping its users get the most out of the product. Its blog has a number of “Guide” posts like this one, Playlist of Guides to Story Writing and Telling, which offers more value to users and gets them really making the best use of the Seenit platform.
Smarkets is a betting exchange that allows its users to bet against each other. I was impressed with the variety of content that this start-up has curated on their blog. They come across as experts, not just in betting but in software development and data science.
Blog post idea 8: Capture What Happens Behind the Scenes
This company often publishes blogs that give you a good idea of what it would be like to work there. They also introduce new employees via blog posts. One of my favourite posts is from June this year where their Head Chef, Tony, was interviewed about a day in his life at work. Nevermind the blog post – I was like, “They’ve got a chef?! I want to work there!”
Habito is an online mortgage broker that wants to make it easier to apply for a mortgage. In January this year, the start-up raised £5.5 million in a Series A round led by Ribbit Capital.
Blog post idea 9: State a Statistic, Then Pose a Question
This blog has great content and advice for homebuyers. In particular, they state a statistic related to their industry and then ask if the reader is part of that statistic. For instance, 43% of Mortgage Holders Paid More This Week – Did You? is a blog that asks if the reader is part of a statistic and then provides 7 ways to get a better deal to avoid paying more. It’s an eye-catching title and the subsequent content is valuable for those looking for a good remortgage deal.
Ravelin is a fraud detection platform that “never stops learning”. Its clients include Deliveroo and Easy Taxi. The platform reduces fraud incidences by more than 50%.
Blog post idea 10: Start a Podcast Series
This company writes regular content. But I was particularly fascinated by their podcast series, which hails as the only podcast series that is focused on helping their customers understand the issues of fraud, chargebacks and payments. It is a well-resourced and established podcast. Experts from KPMG, Office of National Statistics and MMC Ventures are just some of the people who have featured on the podcast.
Blog post idea 11: Review New Technology in Your Industry
I got double ideas from Ravelin. Yes, that good! They reviewed Google Cloud Platform on their blog, explaining why they have embraced it at Ravelin. There is also a link to the full case study, which is on the Google Cloud Platform website. If you use third-party tools and you love it, consider collaborating on a case study. The exposure, goodwill and value is a triple whammy!
Hibob is a cloud-based HR management software with the strapline, ” Shaping the future of HR”. The online HR hub wants to change the outdated deposition of HR departments. The start-up recently raised £19.5 million in Series A funding and has expanded to the US.
Blog post idea 12: Offer Helpful Tips & Tricks
True to their mission, Hibob has a wealth of tips for HR teams and professionals. On its blog, you will find posts from a range of topics such as how to attract and retain talent, successful onboarding and scaling up company culture. Their purpose is clearly to support HR teams and they do this well through a prolific company blog.
These are the kinds of content that the hottest start-ups are producing. Every single start-up on the list had a form of dynamic, regular content on their website. Content marketing helps to increase brand awareness and credibility. It can educate, motivate, convert and support your customers.
If you have limited time and resources to regularly write on your company blog, get in touch with the team at YO! Marketing today by emailing us at email@example.com to learn more about our unique content writing services for businesses. We are technical and we are writers.
Marketing budget: Don’t let your online spend skyrocket
When you start a new business, it takes time to know which marketing tactics will work for you. You can’t just copy other people because your customers are likely to be different. It can be difficult to set a marketing budget that drives sales.
More and more marketing is online e.g. social media and on your website. Experiment with different ways of generating new sales for your business. Use videos, e-books and articles engage your audience. Pick one or two social media platforms then manage them well, and ensure that you are measuring performance against your goals. Look at the sources of your web traffic and where your sales originate from. Spend more in those areas.
Marketing budget: Offline works if you can crack it
If you prefer offline marketing such as printed flyers, brochures and leaflets, that’s great! These channels are still powerful in helping people to learn about your business.
Do research to identify your ideal customers. This does not stop at a macro level. Create a short list of around 10 businesses that you want to convert to customers. Allocate money in your marketing budget to send a creative direct communication to these potential customers. It could be a well-worded letter or something that symbolises the value you offer. Whatever it is, make it memorable so that you leave a positive impression. Then follow up with a call or email.
Cafes and community centres in your area might allow you to put your flyers on their notice boards. Also, approach doctor’s surgeries to see if they will display your leaflets in their waiting rooms.
To get the most from print marketing materials, including a code e.g. FLY10 that a potential customer can quote to get a 10% discount or additional bonuses. This allows you to measure how many people use the code, and see if your investment is worthwhile. Without tracking your returns on the budget you spend on offline marketing, you won’t know what is working.
Marketing budget: Infographic
Here’s an infographic with a few more tips on managing a tight marketing budget —>
by Yekemi Otaru
Personally, I love video marketing for two reasons:
- They quickly communicate ideas
- They make me connect on a much deeper level compared to text on a page
But don’t take my word for it. There are some incredible stats about online videos. For instance, over half a billion people watch a video on Facebook every day. Do you realise how many people that is? That is 8.3% of the people on earth!
Video marketing increases trust in your brand.
Recent stats show that 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers and over half of marketing professionals say video gives the best ROI.
- Forbes stats: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2017/09/22/top-10-video-marketing-trends-and-statistics-roundup-2017/#1faa4cd77103
- Hubspot stats: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-marketing-statistics
- Socialmediatoday stats: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/50-social-media-video-marketing-stats-2017-infographic
“If you’re not using video marketing as part of your marketing strategy, you are losing out big time”
For start-ups, videos are a great way of connecting with your audience with engaging content. You don’t need fancy equipment – a camera phone and some good lighting are all you need. Videos can humanise your founder/CEO, showcase new clients or promote testimonials from existing ones. You can reveal your workspace, your team and your partners. Facebook Live, Instagram Live and LinkedIn Video make on-platform videos so easy, anyone can do them – just hit live!
Stuck for content ideas? Then give us a buzz for an inspiring chat. As a final stats treat, check out this infographic from Website Builder – 127 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Video Marketing
Have you ever considered a purchase but you were put off because there simply weren’t answers to your burning questions? It’s a definite yes for me. I recently moved house and my list of questions over the period of buying, selling, moving and settling in has been never-ending.
Imagine that you are dealing with a company that seemed to read your mind. They know the questions you have before you ask them. Even better – they ‘ve answered them!
When creating content for your customers, it is great to give them new information, tips and tricks. But what could be amazing content, is content that answers the questions they have. The questions differ depending on where they are in their buying cycle. Here are 3 steps to help you to create amazing content based on customers frequently asked questions.
Create Amazing Content: List possible questions
Get a piece of paper, a blank excel page or post-its – however you roll – make a list of questions that customers have asked you before. Stand in their shoes and write down the questions you’d have if you had never met your company or product. Don’t forget to write down questions that potential customers might ask. This is very important because answering these questions properly could increase your sales enquiries. Customers read hundreds of pieces of content before they get in touch with the company. Make sure they find the answer they need.
Create Amazing Content: Segment questions for before, during and after a purchase
You have a bunch of questions now. Make a note of whether these questions are likely to come up before, during or after a purchase. This could help you personalise the content, and make it relevant. Questions asked after a purchase are often ignored so if you do this well, your customers will love you even more. Think about customer care and how you can keep providing crucial answers to questions that come up after the deal is closed – this builds customer loyalty.
Create Amazing Content: Answer the questions
So now, you have to answer the questions. Seek help from your front line support team or technical experts if you need to but ensure you give clear responses to the questions. There are many ways to answer questions. You could provide a simple one-word response if that’s all it requires. For instance,
Q. How long will my subscription last if I do not renew it?
A. 12 months.
Some questions might require one sentence. For example,
Q. Do you also offer social media support?
A. Yes, we do offer support for Facebook and Twitter only.
But really amazing content gives deeper responses to more complex questions. Such content requires more thought. Here are ways that you might answer frequently asked questions to create amazing content:
Providing real-life examples of how your product or service was used is powerful. If you have willing existing customers, ask their permission for a case study. As you write the case study i.e. how a customer used your product, you will be answering many questions about how the product works, what problem it was solving and what the outcome was. You might even be able to use the case study to answer questions around pricing, particularly if you have a complex pricing model or a tailored one that depends on individual customer cases.
Audio listening is a personal favourite of mine. It is growing among busy entrepreneurs and business people so it is a good way to provide content to that audience. This is also a great ‘after purchase’ content that existing customers can subscribe to and tune in regularly. Podcasts help you to talk to your customers as you answer their questions. You could invite guest speakers to support your podcasts, tackling questions that might be outside your area of expertise.
If you sell a product, you can do a demo to put online. Make the demo short and focused on a particular feature of your product. It might make sense to create a series of videos for each key feature, depending on what you have listed as frequently asked questions. You don’t need much gear to do these videos. Create software videos with Camtasia for instance. If it’s not software, a good camera phone, microphone and tripod can be all you need to show your product in action.
Encourage customer-generated content
Customer-generated content has been used successfully for campaigns. But this idea can also be used to answer questions posed by your customers. Companies like IBM and Intel created online forums were customers, partners and vendors can ask and answer questions. Other public sites that do this well are Yahoo and Quora, where users can ask questions that other users answer. There are several benefits to customer-generated content such as increased engagement, authenticity and credibility.
Content marketing works best when it is actually solving a problem and answering questions. These are just some ways that you can answer your customers’ questions and create amazing content while doing it.
Have you tried something that really worked? Let us know in the comments.
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Earlier this week, Upwork published my article on competitor intelligence. In the article, I highlighted 6 ways that doing competitor research could improve your marketing strategy. I find that many new business owners don’t know the relevance of competitor research in their business and marketing strategy. They skip it all together in some cases, or they do the research but fail to apply the insight for competitive advantage. Before you go on, you might want to read my Upwork article published on 03 October 2017: 6 ways that competitor intelligence improves your marketing strategy.
In this blog post, I will discuss 4 ways that competitor research improves your business strategy.
Hiring the right people is important for your business growth. To give you an idea of the top skills in your industry, use platforms like LinkedIn to track the skills that your competitors are bringing into their business. Are they hiring customer service executives or app developers? How many years experience are they looking for? This gives you a good understanding of what you need to grow, especially if you need to prioritise skills by hiring for crucial roles first.
As a business matures, you will find that more partnerships and collaborations take place. Follow your competitors’ news stories by subscribing to their newsletters. Also, set up Google Alerts so that you get news about the company and also about your industry in general. Partnerships often trigger significant PR effort so it is likely to make big news. Several partnerships in your industry could signify consolidation (as in mature markets) or collaboration for innovation. Ensure that you build this into your business strategy, and continue to review based on your business environment.
An industry with multiple third-party suppliers might regularly review cost structures. Your competitors might start to bring certain services in-house, for instance. Or they could look at acquiring specific suppliers. Your competitor research in this area doesn’t imply that you will copy what the market is doing. In fact, you might discover that you could have an advantage by doing the opposite. For example, outsourcing certain services could reduce your fixed costs or improve your profitability. Conversely, acquiring a supplier that provides a critical material for your business might mean that you gain intellectual property and become more valuable as you retain exclusivity.
It’s possible that you start your business thinking you will offer one thing. But by the end of six months, you find that you either change what you offer or you find opportunities to offer other products and services. A brief review of your competitors’ revenue streams, particularly those that have been in your market longer than you, could give you a view of potential revenue streams. These streams might not be open to you straight away, but some could contribute to your growth strategy. For example, you could start out consulting and then find that there are opportunities to offer standardised training. You could also start out providing Software as a service and discover that the data that you gather from your users is highly valuable, and could be offered to a different market segment.
You shouldn’t spend months researching your competitors. But you should definitely do some research. What’s even more important is that you do this research regularly. That could be quarterly or annually. Ensure that your business strategy evolves with your findings and with the changes in your business environment. These changes are guaranteed to come – be prepared.
I’m a regular buyer from a popular high street brand. Every month, I spend probably £30-£50 with them using my store card. My husband has a store card too but he can go many months without buying anything.
The trouble is, he gets lots of discount vouchers to encourage him to buy more. Little do the high street brand know that I live in the same house with him. I don’t get vouchers, they think I don’t need them because I buy without being nudged. It kind of annoyed me so I buy less from them, and alas, discount vouchers addressed to me have started arriving!
As a marketing professional, I have a good idea what this brand has done. They’ve used customer segmentation techniques to divide their market to allow them to push more sales to potential high-value customers and inadvertently ignored already high-value customers. I don’t know if they’ve taken the right approach as I don’t have enough information about their customer base.
Using customer loyalty and lifetime value, here are four types of customers you will find in your growing business and some ideas on how to engage them:
Type 1 Customers: Supporter Sam
The Supporter champions your product. He is a current or previous customer who had good experiences working with your company or product. They are loyal and will tell their peers about you, recommending you whenever possible.
However, they often have a low lifetime value due to tight budgets or slow sales cycles. They might not buy regularly or might not renew their services with you at the end of a period. But if you have treated them well, they could be your biggest champions. For instance, these customers are a rich source of case studies and testimonials.
Keep these customers informed of new products and services. Invite them to customer update meetings, add them to your email list, your advisory board and support them as they use your products/services even if they might not buy more in the short term.
Type 2 Customers: Partner Patsy
Partners love your company and your product. They are also a high-value customer that provide your business with many opportunities for upselling.
These customers are likely to be medium-sized organisations that have grown with your business. They are unlikely to have a centralised structure so decisions are made quickly and locally. This is your dream customer because they not only buy but they also recommend you to their peers.
Give these customers a single focal point for their support needs e.g. a dedicated account manager or customer support executive. Officially ask for their input to your product roadmap. These customers will be demanding if they are spending a lot with you. So keep them in the loop on any changes to your business or service in advance. Remember that the main champion of your product/service within their business needs to keep advocating for you so give he or she as much help as possible to do that.
Type 3 Customers: Celebrity Charlie
Celebrity customers are a tricky group to manage. This is because they are high-value but they are not loyal customers. They sometimes buy on impulse or they buy because there were no other options.
However, they will not easily agree to give you testimonials. A case study is almost impossible to get from this customer, no matter how good your product or service is.
Ensure that you provide the best customer experience possible throughout the buying process but don’t spend too much overhead on keeping them unless you get an inkling that they are potentially Partner Patsys. Provide existing use cases and case studies to highlight your credibility with this customer. Many Celebrity Charlies end up being Partner Patsys if you can provide a great customer experience, support and a differentiated value proposition.
Type 4 Customers: Ex Eric a.k.a The Ex
We all know these types of customers. And they are great to have in the business for a time but they tend to cost more than they bring in.
They are usually low-value, meaning that they don’t spend much with you and their long-term financial outlook suggests that they will not be in a position to increase their spending. They are not loyal either, which makes them different from Supporter Sam. Ex Erics will usually ask for a significant discount and will be motivated more by price than value.
Keep Ex Eric happy by bringing him on board with a discounted offer. Then show him the value you can bring his business in terms of extra perks and support. Avoid spending on unnecessary expenses to acquire this client because customer lifetime value to customer acquisition costs will be very low, and hence unsustainable. For instance, don’t pay for sales people to fly to another country to meet this customer. Offer a video conference instead.
Any there any other types of customers that you can think of? Tell us in the comments.
All ilustrations by Yekemi Otaru
Feature photo credit: iStock/Getty Images