2 min read

Own Your Niche: How Startups Can Win With Content

Startups can compete with legacy brands by showing up in the right places in the right ways with the right information—at scale.

45-second read (+2:23 video)

Startups — Here’s a really simple approach for creating content to attract talent:

Divide things into two categories:

  • Channel
  • Content

    Then:
  • Describe the tone, energy, and audience of each environment that you want your brand to exist in.
  • Find people who are passionate about each channel and let them own the strategy and creative.

    This might sound elementary, but very few companies actually execute this way.

    Here’s why: Confinement is safe.

    Breaking things down to this level of simplicity and delegating the creative ownership moves you away from the confinements of making things look and sound a certain way, and towards creative expression based on your end-user.

    But here's the reality: You can do all the brand alignment work you want, but if you aren’t communicating with your audience in a way that a) meets their expectations in that channel, and b) comes from actual people they can link their trust to, you’ll completely miss creating content that has a meaningful impact.

    Who’s it for? How do they expect to receive information in that channel? What builds trust the fastest?

    The answer: Micro-brands > Macro-brands

    Examples of content and channel:
  • Long-form culture content should live on your careers site as an educational anchor.
  • SME/thought leadership on LinkedIn for non-technical topics.
  • Short bursts of thought leadership in Twitter threads for technical topics.
  • Creative video-based EGC on Instagram.
  • A senior leader hosting an educational webinar with smart industry peers that you invite candidates to purely as a way to build brand (not sell!) creates long-form audio and video content + clips + trust.
  • Engineering blog on a third-party site like Substack or Medium to build your technical brand.

    This list could go on and on. And there are unique engagement strategies for each. But the one constant across all of them is that you have to think in terms of channel and end-user.

    Startups, you can compete with legacy brands by showing up in the right places in the right ways with the right information—at scale.

    The incumbents in your space won’t do this. It'll take too long and it's just way too creative. But you can.

    Start here: Do one channel really well.

    Own your niche. Remember, this is brand marketing.

    Focus and build it.

    Once that’s in place, move on to another (if you even need to).

Listen to my conversation with Eryn McHugh where we talk about relieving the tension between Marketing and Employer Branding.

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