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3 Ways to Optimize Your Startup's Content Marketing The huge majority of new companies have little money for publicity but that is all the more reason to get your marketing right.

By Pratik Dholakiya Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There is a wealth gap among startups that mirrors the rest of society. While the top 1 percent of startups mint money, everybody else is fighting a desperate battle to survive.

To put it simply, there are the rich startups and the dirt poor ones. We have more of the latter than the former. Some startups fail because they're really bad ideas, while others do badly because they are ahead of their times. But, there is a bunch of them that don't do well because of poor marketing. Yes, they are so product focused that they forget bad marketing can't sell even the best of products.

The surprising thing is, in content marketing, startups have an affordable, but tremendously effective marketing tactic that delivers some fantastic ROI. Startups must use content creation and its distribution to improve brand awareness and reputation.

Related: 5 Ways to Market Your Startup on a Dime

Here are three things you can do to use content marketing more effectively for your startup:

1. Tell your startup story.

Great products sell, but great stories engage. As a startup you need to sell an amazing product and also be able to tell a great story about your startup. But the idea is to not turn your story into a PR exercise. You need to tell your story because it's worth telling and gives your target customers a clear idea about the principles your startup stands for, long term objectives and how your startup can add value to their lives.

Create videos that encapsulate your startup's story or publish your brand story on leading websites/online magazines. Make sure you talk about the challenges you faced while getting your new company up and running, and why you believe it's all worth it. This will give your story just the right amount of emotional heft and positivity. Remember, most people love stories that are all about "beating the odds" and a "happy ending." If you've got these two aspects covered, your startup story will deliver returns.

2. Provide solutions of pain points.

Identify the pain points of your target audience and produce content that offers solutions. You don't have to be a mind reader to zero in on the various domain-centric problems that your audience is suffering. Use Google auto suggest to come up with a list of questions people have vis-à-vis your startup's niche.

Make the rounds of various popular discussion forums like Quora, which people frequently use if they are looking for answers to specific questions. Reddit is another "discovery'' platform you can tap into, for identifying relevant pain points of your audience.

Make a list of popular pain points and come up with content ideas that provide solutions. Once you have come up with these ideas, use the most effective content format to justify them. For example, if you think a comprehensive guide will help you cover a whole bunch of pain points, use that. On the other hand, if you think visual content is the right format, create an infographic or a video.

The final step is to reach out to niche influencers and persuade them to publish your content.

Related: How to Find Value in Other People's Problems

3. Optimize the use of HARO

HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. It's a web service that helps source-hungry journalists connect with publicity-hungry content marketers. If you use HARO right, it's one of the better ways of improving the visibility of your startup. Before you start using HARO, go through this comprehensive video on How to Get Exposure and Links Using HARO.

Whatever the industry your startup belongs to, there is a journalist out there looking for information on the same. HARO is a platform that simplifies content distribution and makes it more seamless. What's more, you don't have to spend a pretty packet while using HARO.

As a startup owner, you cannot afford to go wrong with your marketing efforts. You must maximize deliverables from all the time, money and effort you spend in promoting your startup and its products or services. This is where content marketing emerges as a relatively inexpensive and effective branding option. If used well, it will definitely deliver the results you are looking for.

Related: How to Get PR for Your Startup

Pratik Dholakiya

Founder of Growfusely

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.

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