Bloggers September 24, 2020

Why don't you leverage Content Marketing?

Philipp Muens @pmuens

Hey everyone,
I'm currently deep in the Marketing trenches, learning everything I can about Marketing (and Sales) for Bootstrapped founders (I'll consolidate my learnings in blog posts, but that's for another day).

I'm wondering why so many Bootstrappers / Indie Hackers are shying away from Content Marketing in the form of blog posts.

Do you have problems coming up with ideas for posts? Is blogging just "not for you"? Do you have issues with your blogging platform (WordPress, Ghost, JAMstack)?

Just asking because Content Marketing seems to be such a "low hanging fruit" in terms of Marketing for Bootstrappers.

  1. 8

    Frankly I think there are more important things to do as a solo founder. Once you have a product people want, then you focus on "content marketing" and things like that. Until then, it's a waste of time because it only gives you short-term fake customers, not people who really want and love what you're doing.

    1. 1

      Interesting. Yes, it's definitely a long game.

      In your case do you just start out with a simple landing page? How do you shield your product from short-term fake customers?

    2. 1

      Can you elaborate more on the important things?

  2. 6

    Great question. As a content marketer, I see many of my clients are sceptical about the power of content marketing before they start. The primary reason being content marketing demands time and consistency. Only a few are ready to commit to it.

    Completely agree to the views in other comments, not everyone who does content marketing gets results. There are two reasons for that.

    First, most people don't know how to do it right. Even when they outsource it, it is difficult to judge whether the content marketer they're working with is capable of bringing results.

    And secondly, most people stop it when they've just started building the leverage.

    Leverage is a powerful element that most people get wrong about content marketing. When done right, the same amount of efforts will keep increasing the impact of results over time.

    I spent the last four months working on making my website ready for SEO, and now I can see it coming up on search results every day. Content marketing helps you create assets that will keep bringing results for you while you sleep. You just need to have the patience, faith and the right partner to work on it.

    1. 2

      Great. Thanks for the in-depth answer!

      I can totally see that impatience is a huge factor. What I've also read a lot is that it's usually a hard sell within companies because it's hard to measure and relate to sales.

      An article I really enjoyed is "The Wiki Strategy". I guess it's well known but worth sharing anyways.

      Thanks again for writing this insightful answer.

      1. 1

        Appreciate your response, @pmuens. There are definitely ways to measure the ROI and impact on sales. For every type of content creation, there are metrics that measure where you are heading.

        I haven't explored the Wiki Strategy before, would definitely check this article. Thank you :)

  3. 6

    Time. It takes time to build an audience. It takes time to build authority, links, and traffic.

    If you can figure out a profitable paid acquisition strategy, you skip 6 months ahead and are profitable much sooner.

    1. 1

      Good point. I agree that it's tough to stay consistent and motivated if you don't see any results for the first 6 months...

  4. 4

    Content marketing is basically how we've grown Plausible Analytics MRR by 1000% over the last six months. If you're a bootstrapped and independent startup, there's no better way to grow. Even if you're a venture funded startup, content marketing is the best and most sustainable long term growth strategy. Results are not immediate like they are with paid ads and it takes time, effort and consistency, but it does deliver results that others cannot. I wrote how we bootstrapped our startup.

    1. 2

      Thanks for your reply and sharing the article!

      Yes, I 100% agree. We did the same thing at the company I worked previously. It was just insane to see how many people were driven to our website from our blog through search engines. It took some time until we saw the first results but after that the traffic grew consistently month after month.

      1. 1

        Yeah, that's the key. Paid ads you need to continue running and paying for while seeing less effective results over time (higher cost, lower conversions etc), while results of content marketing can keep growing and keep delivering even after you stop putting effort in those activities. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

  5. 3

    I'm a blogger, so blogging isn't an issue for me. The real issue is getting eyeballs.

    1. 1

      Yes, that's definitely true. But don't you get eyeballs eventually (if your content is good)?

      Do you have a promotion procedure in place to spread the word about your latest articles?

      1. 1

        Yes, I'm doing some promotion but I need to do more. Which is exhausting.

  6. 2

    creating content is literally so easy....

    ....creating insanely valuable content that consistently achieves results, on the other hand, is tough. valuable content does couple of things: A) provides an experience and B) makes your audience feel emotions. you really need to be a powerful storyteller and know your audience in order to achieve this effect. not everyone has the budget or skillset for it. its quite the investment.

    as ive seen a few other folks mention in the comments, just because someone creates content doesnt mean its going to get seen either. i know that a small amount of content, perhaps only 10%, gets the attention and eyeballs it deserves

    1. 2

      Yes, you're definitely spot on with this. Creating content is easy, creating good content which resonates with your audience is hard.

      It seems to be even harder nowadays given that there's so much competition.

      The problem I'm facing is putting this into a repeatable process. Sure, you do your keyword research, optimize for intent, look into SERP etc. but connecting the dots between this and the content you should write about your product is still hard.

  7. 1

    Great question.

    I think that most technical people, blogging is probably harder than buidling an app. Which might seem wild to no-technical people but that's just how it is.

    Planning, sketching, designing, coding. When you do this stuff, you see results. Eventually an app appears. It might not meet customer needs but nonetheless, an app appears.

    So you feel like you're getting somewhere.

    Marketing isn't like that. It's so open ended, hard to see direct results, hard to know what worked what didn't work and why etc.

    It's also true that many hackers aren't great story tellers. They're great at spotting problems and building potential solutions.

    But less great at telling a story that motivates people enagage with the proposed solution.

  8. 1

    It's another thing to add to the stack and if you're a solopreneur with a technical background then it may not be your favorite way to spend your time. At least it wasn't for me when I tried my first few products that failed. However, this time around I'm focused on blogging because I want to become a better writer, helps social proof, and builds an audience. Then I'll try out a small newsletter / infoproduct.

    1. 1

      That pretty much sums up my way of thinking about blogging as well. I too wasn't super excited to write about the projects I've been working. Little did I know that building an audience was something I could do with a blog. For me, investing time in writing articles and maintaining a blog was something I considered a distraction from "the real work".

      Nowadays I don't jump straight into code anymore but start with backwards planning (which includes thinking about Marketing / Distribution). I learned that a personal blog is an amazing tool to sharpen the way you communicate via written words.

      Plus it's a great feeling if you wrote an articled which is helpful to others.

  9. 1

    For me, creating content is fairly easy. The thing that blocks me is the fear that I'll spend too much time writing content, and that nobody will care. That I won't be able to get traffic to it.

  10. 1

    I'm a fan of content marketing as it is what I know. I can see why other's don't - it can take a long time to see any results. If you have money for marketing you can start to see results right away.

    1. 1

      If you have money for marketing you can start to see results right away.

      Are you referring to paid ads which will drive traffic to the content you've published?

      This is a strategy which still sounds counterintuitive to me. Why would I use ads to promote my content rather than my product? I guess it's about building trust with your future customers, correct?

      1. 1

        No im not talking about marketing your content, i was referring to spending money on marketing your product vs content marketing for your product.

  11. 1

    Content has always been my core strategy for any product I build.

    I think the main reason why it's so overlooked is both the time and consistency it requires.

    As a channel that traditionally compounds over time, makers don't have the time to wait for results. Instead, they need a channel that can help them get to profitability as quickly as possible.

    1. 1

      Yes, that's a good point. I'm wondering why lots of makers don't flip it on its head. Start with content and build the product later leveraging the audience around the content.

      For me personally writing about an idea is a good way to figure out if it's even a good solution in the first place and exploring how it would be used by potential customers.

      Writing code and doing "the easy stuff" is just too tempting I guess...

      1. 1

        Couldn't agree with you more. I think we're slowly starting to see a change in the approach makers take.

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