These days every new entrepreneur understands that an innovative product or service is necessary, but not sufficient, to start a business.
You have to build a web presence with marketing content to get visibility above the 51 million other new websites created last year, and attract the customers you need. But most entrepreneurs don’t know where to start.
Of course, there is a plethora of “experts” emerging out there, who are anxious to lead you down that path, for a large price.
So I’m always on the lookout for some real experts, and some pragmatic guidance on how to attack this issue.
1. Build a blog. According to Hubspot, websites that have blogs get twice as many inbound links, 400 percent more indexed pages, and a more than 50 percent increase in traffic, compared to websites without blogs. Search engines and people love blogs these days.
2. Join the conversation with Community Forums. A forum is a discussion site on a relevant subject, hosted and moderated by you, which adds authority, content, and traffic to your website. The registration process to join can give you a very targeted email list.
3. Curation, the most efficient content. Curation is humanly aggregating, filtering, and re-posting the best-of-the-best content on the web, relative to your product or service area. This shows your knowledge and positions your company as a thought leader.
4. Win with engaging contests. Not a new idea, but when used creatively, can entice new prospect traffic and backlinks to your site. People these days love to submit stories, vote on other entries, and receive the recognition of even small prizes or product rewards.
5. Traditional publishing out, self-publishing in with eBooks. You don’t need a real book as a base for electronic books, as people now prefer something akin to a “white paper” on steroids. It’s just another way to demonstrate credibility and attract traffic.
6. Keep them engaged with eNewsletters. These are regular updates, usually monthly, via website and email that help with customer retention, and remind your customers that you are the expert in your industry. Supplement text here with video and audio.
7. Widgets and badges. A widget is a mini-app that displays or updates data either locally or on the web – to share something of value and interest. Abadge is a simple graphic designed for fun, to show support, or promote certain standards online. All highlight you.
8. Look like an expert with Interviews. Here we are talking about interviewing industry experts. By having frequent conversations with experts in your industry, you rank yourself among the top, and show you are connected. You are the company you keep.
9. Videos, stories in motion. Simple videos, less than five minutes in length, you can do yourself and upload to YouTube for display on your website, can turn a blasé idea into a winner. Keep the atmosphere relaxed and fun, to increase traffic, and maybe even go viral.
10. Provide convenience through podcasts. A podcast is basically a non-streaming webcast, usually audio only, for those who want the convenience of downloading and listening via iPod or mobile phone while commuting or working out at the gym. It’s cool.
There are a lot more items of content that could be on this list. But don’t let the number overwhelm you. You don’t need to tackle them all – just pick a few that you think you can do well, and consistently. The key is new content on a regular basis to attract the attention of search engines and new customers.
Most importantly, don’t wait until you have perfect content. Start creating content today. The more you create, the more momentum you build, and better you will get.
CEO & Founder ofStartup Professionals, Inc.; Advisory Board Member for multiple startups; ATIF Angels Selection Committee; Entrepreneur in Residence at ASU and Thunderbird School of Global Management.