Pagezii – Lucy, please tell us a bit about yourself
Lucy – I was born and raised in Toronto and I studied journalism at Ryerson University. After graduating I worked as a resume writer, producing resumes for hundreds of job seekers – in every possible industry you can imagine! I also worked in communications and as a freelancer for several small magazines in Toronto.
My husband and I relocated to Ottawa in late 2014, and a few months later I found myself at L-SPARK. Over the course of two years or so, I’ve been lucky enough to help build L-SPARK’s brand and online presence. Starting with social media and now taking on a more comprehensive role that entails digital marketing and online content strategy.
Pagezii – And what is L-SPARK?
Lucy – L-SPARK is an accelerator for B2B SaaS startups. As of late 2016, we have 23 portfolio companies, and about half of those have raised outside investment. We differ from the traditional accelerator model – while we don’t invest in companies upfront our objective is to connect founders with early stage investors in anticipation of future fundraising needs. Ultimately, the intention is for startups to accelerate their revenue and grow a scalable business as a result of working one-on-one with an experienced mentor on executing a custom action plan, implementing tactics learned through workshops delivered by SaaS experts, and receiving feedback and direction from the L-SPARK team.
Much of my role is focused on highlighting the companies, mentors and SaaS experts that are a part of the L-SPARK community through content like interviews and blogs on Voice of the North. Our overarching mission is to unify and contribute to Canada’s growing SaaS community, so we’re focused on both curating and creating content that features best practices, tactical tips, and other articles to benefit SaaS entrepreneurs.
It’s also been exciting for me to help out some of L-SPARK’s portfolio companies with establishing their social media presence or helping them with their content strategy.
Pagezii – What does content marketing mean for startups?
People enjoy and respond positively to marketing that’s more human
Lucy – Content marketing is really integral for startups, for a few different reasons. First off, it’s an opportunity for a company to educate and reach out to prospects in a meaningful way. By delivering valuable resources, a startup differentiates themselves and will stand out, especially in a noisy or competitive market.
For instance, a company can blog about solutions to common pain points their customer experiences, in an effort to draw awareness to their service or product. This serves as the initial touch point to start building an authentic relationship with a prospect. If the content is compelling and helpful, a prospect is likely to subscribe to further updates. This is an opportunity for a company to nurture the lead with more specific content – for example, a newsletter or ebook until they convert into a customer.
Secondly, content marketing allows startup founders to build their credibility as a thought leader or domain expert. While this is more of a long-term play, it’s important that founders begin to develop their own profile and personal brand that will, in turn, benefit their company.
Lastly, I think companies can use content marketing to show off their core values or announce achievements in a unique way. Even B2B companies can benefit by injecting personality or a bit of quirkiness into their content marketing strategy. Overall, I would say that more and more people enjoy and respond positively to marketing that’s more human.
Pagezii – How important is SEO to a content marketer?
Lucy – SEO is extremely important to every content marketer. You want your company to be able to rank high in search results for keywords and terms pertaining to your business or industry. That means creating high-quality content and featuring relevant keywords, and optimizing from a technical standpoint – including properly formatted meta descriptions, alt tags, titles, etc. Additionally, having relevant content will attract a steady flow of organic traffic, and much of that traffic will likely be made up of more qualified leads. Also, when you’re consistently adding new content to your website, your ranking will improve and you’re more likely to earn backlinks from people sharing your content.
Having relevant content will attract a steady flow of organic traffic
Pagezii – What is the best social platform to promote a blog?
Lucy – It depends on the market you’re serving. Generally, consumer-based brands will focus their promotional efforts on Facebook because the platform is used to express and share personal interests. B2B companies should promote their blog on LinkedIn in order to find relevant users based on professional or industry attributes. Lastly, all sorts of brands can benefit from promoting on Twitter, which is a testament to its versatility. The platform allows B2C companies to interact with their customers in real-time and B2B brands to share their content and become thought leaders in their space. I feel the same way about Instagram – any type of company can be on the platform and get creative with their posts, no matter what the industry.
Pagezii – Thank you, Lucy, for your insight into content marketing.