For entrepreneurs, startups and all growing companies, the well-timed publication of high-quality content can be a catalyst for much greater success.
Grow your business by telling its story.
Create engaging content that people want to read. Tell your story and publish it on the platforms that get the most valuable responses from the readership you want to reach out to. You’ll make waves of appreciation, sharing, word-of-mouth and buzz. A well-crafted headline and content will generate traffic, SEO traction, positive PR, follow-up inquiries, and sales, as well as great creative input and ideas for you to run with and develop.
A case study is Freshdesk, which was a startup company for helpdesk software in 2011 when its founder, Girish Mathrubootham, wrote and published an article about the motivation behind starting his company. He shared it on Hackernews, which brought over 30,000 new visitors to the Freshdesk website and 175 people signing up in just 2 days.
My business experienced profound results from sharing my own story about Lighting Shoes, a small e-commerce retail site for light up shoes that we purchased earlier in the year. We wrote about the results we’ve achieved so far and published the story on indiehackers.com and reddit.com.
Our LED shoes site gained 3,257 visitors from Reddit, and 951 from IndieHackers. From these referrals, we made 2 direct sales.
Our site got impressive SEO results on Google. LED Shoes, our main keyword, leaped to position 12 from outside of the top 50. We made top-50 rankings for 222 other keywords for the first time, according to ahrefs.com.
11 sales came directly from those SEO rankings.
How did we achieve those results? Put time, know-how and care into your content. Any old article won’t do.
Create Impressive Content
“Unless your startup idea provides 5 times more value that what’s already out there, don’t start it.” That’s some advice from a successful entrepreneur that’s stuck with me. It applies equally well to your published content. Your goals should include impressing your audience by striking a chord with them, making them think and spurring them on to greater action. All of this with your product and your business in mind, if possible.
You’re going to want to write a game-changing, business-changing, life-changing post for them. It’s highly unlikely you can just sit down and write something that powerful, so let it develop, work on it and add to it, and the closer you can get it to that ideal post, the better for your readers and your business.
Write For Your Community
To get results, whether it’s on Reddit, a news source or another community, stick to the rule: write content the community wants to read.
That’s not necessarily what you want them to read, the same way you would naturally write it. Even your own personal blog exists and is centered on the community that participates and interacts with it. On your chosen platform, what have the most successful writers and posts done right in the past? How are they inspiring the community? Read the content that generates the best feedback and positive interaction, and you’ll soon get an idea of what works, and what will be popular again for that community.
Choose, map out and refine your idea
Take the community’s preferred format, article length, tone and writing style as a guide. Revisit specific topics and posts that the readers and commenters loved, and note any ideas you can build on, and associations that spark with your own story and business.
Put your favorite note-making app or method to work. Mind Maps are great for associating and expanding thoughts and making connections with your own lessons and advice you’d like to share. What can current and topical events add to your content? Can you help any previous commenters out with specific questions and problems?
Get all the ideas down, and see what jumps out at you. Don’t rush in, think it over and come back to it if that works best for you. Try and get the content as good as it can be. Your mind is always capable of uncovering something that adds value and hasn’t been written before.
Get the headline right
You’ll want to engage readers, and grab their attention with figures, but not turn away potential customers by overdoing the hype. Don’t just tell them your product will change their life. Show them how, but maybe leave that for the main text and don’t start badly with empty promises.
Be specific and spell out the benefits of what you have to offer them. Use stats, ideally from your own experience. But anyone else’s example will do if it’s relevant, realistic and achieves the aim of convincing people to invest their time in reading your content in full.
Posting is just the start
Remember, publishing is just the launch party for a period of active collaboration with your audience. You’ll be needing to invest some time to meet the community’s expectations for a continuing dialog afterward. How much effort that will take, and in what form, depends on the community you post to.
My IndieHackers business exposé generated around 5 comments, while Reddit led to hundreds of responses. Host an Ask Me Anything on Reddit, and you should expect to be catching up and responding to new questions and feedback on the AMA every few hours.
It’s worth considering keeping some content ready for the comments and discussion that follows if it didn’t make the final edit of the original post.
Not following up on a post could be the worst response of all in the eyes of some online posters. Your good work could be undermined by trolls bashing what you’ve written, so take an active role in managing comments and leaving people with the good impression of your business that you want everybody to have.
Be ready to expand on your post, debate and discuss it, and always look for opportunities in people’s responses to it. A new customer, product, partner or even buyer may have found their way to you, thanks to your involvement in the community. Be there for your community and they will repay you. Be positive and show your appreciation for every worthwhile reply.