Mukund Krishna: Promoting your software startup - Part II

Mukund Krishna
In my previous article, I spoke about the importance of a good website to promote your software startup and key factors to make it stand out from the crowd. Now, let’s consider how to get your startup moving with great content and marketing.

Set up a content calendar

A content calendar is a plan – in the format of a calendar – that your marketing team can use to execute your content-related marketing activity. The calendar format will help you visualise how (and what type of) content will be distributed throughout the year. Follow these six tips to create a content calendar that works:

1) Who is your audience? - First, identify the different audience that you want to publish content for, eg existing clients, new customers and potential employees. Then, decide the weighting of content distribution for each audience. Now, plan for and produce content that will engage these audiences.

2) Plan your content around key dates – industry events, product releases etc as this will ensure that you have your content ready in time for the go live dates.

3) Plan ahead - The further ahead you plan, the better! That will give you the best chance of producing a consistent (in terms of regularity and quality) flow of content that will help build your brand and gain recognition in the market.

4) Be flexible - You will need to maintain a degree of flexibility with your plan – to allow for sudden change in market trends and unexpected events/news items.

5) Reuse content - You don’t always need to create new content – use training materials, slides, whitepapers, customer testimonials or research data that you already have on hand and tweak them before distribution. Be creative and publish these in a variety of formats to keep it fresh – for example: publish whitepapers as a series of smaller blogs, convert a training programme with slides into a video with a voice over, create easy-to-read and colourful infographics from research data.

6) Engage the entire team - Don’t forget to include inputs from different departments (HR, marketing etc.) when putting together your content calendar.

Share content daily

In addition to the ‘big dates’ mentioned on your content calendar, also plan to publish smaller bits of content in between. This will result in content being published on a daily basis, giving your startup as much exposure as possible. Ensure that you have a presence on all the main platforms – then when you publish content on one platform, use the other platforms to promote the content. If you upload a video to YouTube, then also post a link to it on your Facebook page, if you upload a new blog, then #hashtag and promote it using Twitter.

Use your friends, family, employees (and their friends and family!), neighbours – everyone you know – to advocate your brand. This can start off as simple as getting them to ‘like’ your Facebook page, or follow you on Twitter and retweeting you – then moving on to showing them what you do and asking them to post reviews of your products on your social media profiles. It may seem like a small start, but this will give you the jumpstart to catch the eye of potential clients. Remember that each person who advocates you will have her own social circle that you will reach.

Join an industry trade association

A great way to get guidance while you are starting up is to join a trade association like Nasscom. Leverage all the opportunities such an organisation would provide to promote your business. This will also give you a great readymade platform for networking with industry experts, investors, fellow entrepreneurs, potential clients, mentors and business leaders. You will be able to tap into their knowledge base and experience, and share your insights too.

Being a member of a recognised association will also give you recognition when dealing with industry standard agencies and governments, giving you a forum to collectively share concerns that will result in a much larger voice being heard. You will be first in line to hear of any noteworthy news and developments that will affect you. It will also enhance the reputation of your startup as you will learn industry best practices. It will also ensure you meet the association’s standards putting you in line for awards, which will in turn, boost consumer confidence in your brand.

Partner with large companies

Many large organisations now provide great opportunities for software startups and provide valuable services at no charge.

The BizSpark programme, provided by Microsoft, helps software startups by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools, cloud services, technical support and connecting them with key industry players, including investors. IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program provides ‘access to go-to-market support, business mentorship and services and technical expertise.’ Google for Entrepreneurs partners with startup communities and builds ‘Campuses’ – a platform for entrepreneurs to learn and connect with each other. Similar programmes are offered by other large companies too, such as Amazon, Oracle and SAP.

ALSO READ: Promoting your software startup with a good website — Part I

Further, you’ll have access to the organisation’s partner networks through which these programmes provide a vast array of training classes and conferences – from recruiting to backend development, from marketing to raising investment – all fantastic opportunities to learn and network.

Following these four steps will give you an excellent stage to launch your startup, build it and take it to the next level as it grows. Remember, it will be a lot of blood, sweat and tears – but don’t give up.

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in Asia Pacific by Deloitte

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