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How 7 Startups Skyrocketed to Success with Content Marketing

[Editor’s Note: Please welcome me in joining Anne Leuman to TopRankBlog.com. Anne is a Copywriter that joined TopRank Marketing earlier this year and specializes in creating awesome B2B content for some of our amazing Enterprise clients.]

I’d venture to guess that you’re no stranger to content marketing. Content Marketing Institute reports that 89% of all organizations use content in their marketing efforts. But is content your main driver of growth? It might not be, and that’s okay, but we’re here to show you how successful content can be.

Take a look at startups for example. Startups are known for viral growth. To attract or keep investors, they need to grow at staggering rates. So how do they do it? A lot of them rely on content marketing. And with good reason.

There is no denying that content marketing is one of the most cost effective marketing tactics. In fact, Demand Metric reports that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times the leads. Yet, 52% of companies don’t have a formal content strategy.

If you’re looking to double down on your content strategy, see how these seven startups skyrocketed to success with content:

#1 – HubSpot

It’s hard to imagine HubSpot as a startup, but back in 2006 they were a fresh-faced business. And they grew on the back of quality, innovative content. They earn our #1 spot because over 75% of their generated leads come from content.

HubSpot accomplished this by offering free white papers, case studies, eBooks, and webinars, and hiding them behind a form. In order for visitors to get the free content, they had to provide their information and become a lead. In addition, HubSpot added a call to action at the bottom of every blog post. An action that tripled the amount of leads generated by their blog, according to HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe.

#2 – Blue Apron

Blue Apron, an ingredient and recipe delivery service, grew 500% in 2015. And they attributed that success to their content marketing strategies.

Blue Apron wanted to get subscribers excited about recipes before they showed up at their door, creating a more satisfying product experience. To do this, they created educational, fun cooking content including recipe histories, cooking techniques, and kitchen timesavers. With this method, they have engaged over 1.7 million Facebook fans to date.

Beyond engaging a larger audience and creating a better experience, educational content allowed Blue Apron to form more meaningful relationships with their subscribers. They became the go-to source for anything kitchen related, building trust and loyalty among their customers.

 

#3 – Mint

Content put the pressure on Mint’s competitors. When Mint, a personal finance app, started in 2007, blogging wasn’t widely adopted by companies. And if they did adopt it, they weren’t blogging often. Mint created the MintLife blog and steadily produced finance tips, videos, and news roundups. This gave Mint a competitive edge and allowed them to rank on search engines ahead of market leaders—including ranking number one for personal finance.

Oh, and this all happened before the launch of their product. With this strategy, they were able to have 20,000 subscribers before releasing their application. This allowed them to drive substantial traffic to the app on launch day. By 2009, Mint would be purchased by Intuit for $170 million. An achievement partially credited to their content strategy.

#4 – Buffer 

Buffer, one of the most widely used social media tools today, was launched with content. At first, they pitched their app to well-known blogs and media outlets, hoping they would write about the tool and gain a large audience. But the big players turned them down. This forced their founder, Leo Widrich, to try gaining an audience another way.

Leo started guest blogging. He wrote over 150 posts on social media and published them on numerous blogs. By creating guest blogging relationships, Buffer gained the audience of other blogs and grew to 100,000 users in just 10 months. Guest blogging was the strategy that gave them the most initial growth.

 

 

#5 – Design Pickle 

Imagine if your first 1,200 customers were generated solely by content. That was the case for Design Pickle and its founder Russ Perry.

Design Pickle was created to make graphic design a more convenient and available service. They started a subscription service where subscribers could receive unlimited graphic design help for one easy, flat rate.

Perry’s launch strategy centered around employing guest blogging. Russ wrote blog posts on marketing and design and posted them on affiliate blogs. Inside each post, Russ was able to offer promotions and information about his services. With this strategy, Design Pickle was able to capture their first 1,200 customers. They have now served over 100,000 project requests.

 

 

#6 – KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics, a marketing analytics platform, is one of the most popular marketing brands today. But it was a struggle to get it off the ground in 2008. Hiten Shah, co-founder of KISSmetrics, attributes their initial success to content curation and the new (at the time) microblogging platform, Twitter.

Blogging wasn’t popular when KISSmetrics was getting started—they didn’t even have one. So how did they gain an audience? They used curated content from Twitter and hashtags to reach large audiences and gain a following. Hiten says, “Sharing other marketers’ content was the perfect way to spread goodwill, promote great content, and build our own Twitter audience.” Eventually, their website was beaming with Twitter referrals. Since then, KISSmetrics has evolved to become blogging experts, with blogs accounting for over 70% of their leads and 82% of their website traffic.

#7 – Glossier 

Experts in all things beauty, Glossier started out as a beauty blog called Into The Gloss, which still exists today. But it quickly grew into something more. Known for providing great advice from real women—Into The Gloss, started by Emily Weiss—was one of the largest skincare and makeup blogs. With a passion for beauty and a captive audience, Emily decided to use her blog to launch her own beauty line.

In writing her blog, Emily already had all of the market research she needed and began producing skincare and makeup products. She then directly involved Into The Gloss’s audience in her new venture by teasing her new brand, Glossier, and documenting the process. By the time she officially launched, Glossier had 15,000 followers who didn’t even know what it was. Her stellar content and engaged audience (including 500,000 Instagram followers) allowed her blog to turn into a successful retailer.

 

 

Implementing content marketing and doing it well has the power to propel your business to success. The (former) startups above are a testament to that. Check out these 10 infographics to elevate your content marketing even further.


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The post How 7 Startups Skyrocketed to Success with Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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5 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Content Performance and a Fix for Each

Common SEO Mistakes

Common SEO Mistakes

Even the most seasoned content marketers make mistakes. In the world of SEO-driven content, with constant algorithm tweaks and changing search patterns, it’s nearly unavoidable. However, those same mistakes can often lead to discoveries that enable even better content performance.

The key is being able to recognize those easy-to-fix SEO mistakes and address them. As a result, your content will become an optimized, integrated network of metaphorical highways, leading searchers to best-answer content in a strategic and purposeful way.

So, what are the most common SEO mistakes, and how can they be addressed? Below, I’ve singled out the ‘usual suspects’ along with guidance on how to fix them while setting yourself up for long-term SEO success.

SEO Mistake #1 - Choosing Target Keywords Based on Volume vs. Relevance

How Keywords Affect Content Marketers: Great content isn't great unless people see it. But when content marketers overemphasize high-volume keywords, they miss out on meaningful engagement.

It’s tempting to plug into your keyword research tool of choice and select keywords with the highest search volume as your focuses for new content. But if the content you’re creating doesn’t match the search intent for that high-volume keyword, it’s unlikely to perform to your expectations.

The Fix: Google it! All jokes aside, evaluating the first ten search results for your target keywords can help you understand what searchers are trying to find, and what supporting content you should provide to truly be the best answer for that query.

While you’re analyzing those top results, pay attention to key factors that will shape your content creation and promotion strategy:

  1. What type of information is NOT included in top content, but is topically related? This can help you inform how you differentiate your content.
  2. What’s the content demand for that keyword? For example, are mostly top of funnel blog posts ranking, or are you seeing mostly product or service pages?
  3. How many backlinks and referring domains are pointing to the top search results? This can help you understand how competitive the first page of results is, and whether or not ongoing link building should be part of your content promotion strategy.
  4. How long is the top-ranking content for that keyword? This will help you determine ideal content length for your own post.

SEO Mistake #2 - Targeting the Same Keyword with Multiple Pages or Posts

How Same-Topic Targeting Affects Content Marketers: Pressure to create comprehensive content on a topic can actually result in dilution within search.

The conventional wisdom that more is better doesn’t apply universally — especially when it comes to SEO-driven content. Creating multiple pieces of content that target the exact same keyword is a surefire way to stand in your own way of success. There’s enough competition out there for B2B marketers without having to compete with your own content.

For example, a B2B technology company that wants to rank for B2B software consulting should optimize their service page for that term based on what is currently being served in search results. But, if they also create a series of blogs or resources that are targeting that specific term, search engine bots will be confused about which page is the best answer for that query. This could result in none of the content appearing in the top 10 results, in favor of competing sites with a more clear ‘answer’ to that query.

The Fix: Determine which of your pages or posts is the best answer for that particular query by analyzing ranking and analytics data. Which post or page sees the greatest amount of engaged organic traffic for your target keyword, and most closely matches the associated search intent?

Once you’ve determined your target page, it’s time to evaluate the remaining content targeting that keyword. Look for opportunities to:

  1. Remove or prune low-value or outdated content. Is there a blog post full of stats from 2009 that’s hindering your priority page’s chances of ranking? It might be time to consider removing that post and implementing the proper redirects.
  2. Optimize existing content for related, but different, keyword targets. For example, if you have a priority post for Chocolate Chip Cookies, and another post that more closely relates to ‘Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies’, consider optimizing that post for the latter and implementing internal links back to your priority cookies post.
  3. Combine closely related content. For example, if you have several blog posts around your targeted keyword(s), consider combining those posts into a longer, more robust piece of content.

SEO Mistake #3 - Ignoring Internal Link Structure

How Internal Linking Affects Content Marketers: Links are like electricity on the web, lighting up content for people and search engines alike.

Content is discovered by links. Your site’s internal linking structure tells bots (and users) which pages are most important, and which pages are most relevant to specific keywords. If you link to several pages from the same anchor text, for example, there will be some confusion about which page is truly ‘about’ that topic. Other times, you could have pages or posts on your site that are orphaned, with no internal links directing users or bots their way. This can confuse your site users, search engine bots, and even your own team. Confusion is not a ranking factor!

The Fix: Make sure you develop and continue to update your site’s keyword map. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet that lists your page’s URL and associated target keyword(s). This keyword map will help you determine what anchor text should be used to link to your target pages.

Next, conduct a site audit to determine:

  1. If there are orphaned pages that need internal links
  2. If you are linking to multiple pages with the same keyword-rich anchor text
  3. Where there are opportunities to create additional supporting content
  4. Where you might have opportunities to reduce and prune existing supporting content

Next, you’re going to want to crawl your site to find any orphaned pages. Then, map those into your overall keyword strategy and implement internal links.

SEO Mistake #4 - Ignoring Data from Other Digital Tactics

How Marketing Data Affects Content Marketers: Inspiration often drives ideation for many content marketers, but data drives optimization for ideal content performance. Marketing performance data can provide both.

Any data you can collect about how your audience engages with your content has the potential to be an SEO gold mine. For example, analyzing the keywords from your paid search campaigns can give you insight into which keywords are your best converters, and what content best suits searchers for those terms. Social posts that get the greatest amount of engagement can tell you which topics your audience is most interested in. Ignoring data from your other marketing and sales channels means missing out on an opportunity to better engage your prospects.

The Fix: Meet with different teams or departments to find out what kind of content performs best on their channels. Look at the data each platform or channel provides and compare that with your site analytics data for a full picture. And, be sure to share your channel performance data with the rest of your marketing team. The more information available related to content and marketing performance, the better equipped you are to optimize.

SEO Mistake #5 - Giving Up

How Persistence Affects Content Marketers: Content performance in search is a long game and persistence is essential for success.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes a lack of results can feel demoralizing, but giving up is simply not an option. You wouldn’t stop building your house just because the nearest lumber yard ran out of wood, right? You’d find another lumber yard and keep plugging along.

The Fix: Take a step back. Re-evaluate the search landscape, your competitor’s organic presence, and your site’s overall health. Being able to remove yourself from the frustration can help you find opportunities you may have missed and additional whitespace to tackle.

Next, seek out advice from other SEOs. Ask questions on social media, in specific groups or forums, or send a question to your favorite SEO blog. If budget permits, enlist the help of a consultant or SEO agency that can help you break through your roadblocks.

Finally, we have two big SEO bummers that are tougher to fix, but absolutely necessary to address.

Bonus SEO Mistake: Migrating Your Site with No SEO Plan

How Migrating Without a Plan Affects Content Marketers: A bad migration can effectively undo your hard work, reducing content visibility and creating more user friction.

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of SEOs cringing around the globe. A botched site migration can wreak havoc on your organic positioning and torpedo your results. It can take months, even years to recuperate organic visibility to pre-migration levels.

The Fix: Always, always consult your in-house SEO team or SEO agency when you’re considering a website migration. Before you move forward, it’s imperative you have a plan for technical, on-page, and off-page factors.

If you’ve already migrated your site and have experienced a loss of organic traffic and rankings, start with a site audit. Check for the basics, like whether or not your site is being indexed, first. Then start to evaluate technical factors like broken links, crawl errors, and duplicate content.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Recovering from a site migration is a challenge for even the best of SEOs, and sometimes those big challenges call for a little teamwork.

Bonus SEO Mistake: Not Optimizing for Mobile

How Not Optimizing for Mobile Affects Content Marketers: Even the greatest content can’t stand up to a bad mobile experience. Users will bounce, reducing engagement and sending negative signals to search engines.

Mobile accounts for about half of web traffic worldwide. Knowing this, in March 2018 Google started migrating sites to mobile-first indexing. Providing a seamless mobile experience is no longer optional, especially when you’re living in the wild world of search.

Sites that didn’t properly prepare for this can and will likely see some declines in organic search traffic and rankings as a result. And, as more sites follow mobile best practices, more users will notice and become frustrated by poor mobile experiences. This leads to declines in other pivotal ranking factors like on-page engagement. In short, if not properly addressed, a poor mobile experience can wreak havoc on your search visibility.

The Fix: The first thing to do is to conduct a mobile audit on your site. Understanding your site’s mobile performance is step one toward making improvements. Look for things like:

  1. Mobile site speed. A couple great tools for this are Google Page Speed Insights and Pingdom. These tools can tell you where to look for issues like slow-loading code, images that aren’t optimized, and other technical issues.
  2. Mobile experience. Visit your site on your phone. Ask someone who doesn’t use your site regularly to do the same. Record your experience, take notes on where you get stuck and why. Click on everything. Turn your phone into horizontal mode. Try to think of every single way a user could browse your site. And, don’t forget to try a site search on mobile.
  3. Look at mobile analytics. This will tell you key metrics like mobile bounce rate, mobile time on page and pages per session.

These steps will help you build a hypothesis to test against. Is your mobile bounce rate crazy high? Does your site take a long time to load? Is your time on page way out of line with desktop traffic? Then, use A/B testing to root out the discrepancy. Use these same metrics to test if the fix is working. Then, repeat with another element.

So, What Does This All Mean for You?

Ultimately, following SEO best practices as a content marketer can reduce performance-related headaches and set you up for long-term success.

For example, when Innovatech Labs decided it was time to make major changes to their website, they worked with our team at TopRank Marketing to implement a safe website transition strategy, minimizing their risk of reduced content visibility on Google. This assessment involved avoiding many of the big risks mentioned above, including linking, use of data and keyword research which allowed us to act quickly post-migration to combat organic traffic declines. The result? Double- and triple-digit increases in organic traffic (and increased conversions, too!).

A best-answer content strategy focused on creating content with the most relevance to their audience was the ticket to better marketing performance for a martech SaaS company. Working with the team at TopRank Marketing, long-tail and hyper-relevant keywords were researched for a comprehensive content strategy to help the brand content become the best answer for those queries. The “best answer” approach and topics were applied across organic and paid efforts. As a result, the volume of both paid and organic MQLs increased, leading to better content performance and spontaneous proclamations of love from the client’s sales team.

Fixing these big SEO mistakes aren’t only for short-term wins. Our longtime partner Antea Group USA has achieved amazing triple-digit growth over three years by avoiding these big mistakes and implementing an ongoing commitment to SEO-driven, best answer content.

As I mentioned earlier, even the most experienced content marketers can make these common SEO mistakes. But, with the right SEO strategy driven by diligent execution and monitoring of results, you can get back on track. The key is to be intentional about your site’s architecture, as well as the content you create, and to never, ever give up.

Still feeling stuck? Or maybe your team doesn’t have the resources to take on this battle alone? Check out our SEO services, tweet us your thoughts @toprank, or drop me a line in the comments. We are here to help!

The post 5 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Content Performance and a Fix for Each appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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