What content marketing channels to use to grow your business

Here are a couple of examples you’d want to steal


Ana Bibikova

2 years ago | 6 min read

I’ve been dealing with content marketing for 15 years now. I started when everything was printed and Facebook, IG and Twitter did not exist. Now, the channels have changd. But not the attitude.

Some startup founders I work with stll believe that content marketing = SEO. Or “some blog posts”. This is definitely NOT the case. Just to send them this link as a reference I decided to put some thoughts together and make an overview of content marketing channels that are mostly used today, why are they efficient and what do you have to do to copy their strategies. So, let’s dive in.

What content marketing formats are the most popular today?

1. Social media posts

There are probably tons of articles on how to run a business social media account. I would just cap it up in a few steps:

— Find a content niche that sorrelates to your business. For instance, if you’re a marketing agency, your content niche will be probably the things you’re doing for customers: SEO, branding, web design, developement, etc. The best one in this field I’ve seen so far — Alex Garcia . Just follow him and do what he does. It does look like he has an agency to back up his effort:)

— Find influencers that your audience cares about. How? Use Buzzffeed or SparkToro (I like the former, because they have a great free plan with tons of useful features). These tools will tell you who your persons of interest are.

— Follow this influencers and try to engage with them (by commenting). This way, you’ll get on your audience’s radar. If your comments are good, they will check you out and follow you. As a result, you’ll get a direct access to them and will be able to promote your services and products.

This basically it. It’s not a rocket science but it demands consistency. Probably every business now has some presence in social media. Obviously, if it’s a tech startup you’re building, your platforms of choice would be Twitter, Reddit, IndieHackers, HackerNews, also Slack channels and Discord channels.

Don’t go everywhere! Choose 2–3 and go all in.
LinkedIn is now reserved for marketing specialists (from copywriters to brand managers), talent spesialists, sales reps. Facebook is great for B2C products, also for startups that are not tech-related. Finally, if you’re an owner of a cooking school, it makes sense to go to Instagram too.

2. Books and courses

Writing a book can be a perfect content marketing trick. Luckily, you don’t need to self publish anymore. Here is my tech stach for publishing books or courses:

NotionGumroad — it’s a 100% free arrangement untill you start getting paying customers (then you’ll just pay a fee to Gumroad for processing the payment). For instance, my course Get Yourself a Tech Co-Founder has been created with this tech stack.

What your book can be about?

Obviously, you should write about things that you know of. But the topic you choose will also depend on what actions do you expect would be taken after the book is read? How does it align with your marketing strategy?

Let’s take two different use-cases:

  • Michele Hansen — a founder of a Geocodio. She published Deploy Empathy — a guide to interviewing customers. It has nothing to do with geocoding, and Michele doesn’t try to promote her API-service. The book is an attempt to build her personal reputation and brand as an expert.
  • Kyle Gawley — a founder of Gravity — a service that offers developers access to “pre-coded” packages for SaaS apps. Kyle has wrote A Rocket Science Book for developers who are still thinking of launching a startup. Obviosly, he describes how much easier and faster they can do it with Gravity packages.

A page from A Rocket Science Book

3. A newsletter

Everyone has a newsletter now, right? But if you do it right you can still get several thousand subscribers on your mail list. “Right” — means provide a real value.

I don’t recommend doing “curation” (5 best tweets of the week, Industry news of the day, 10 things you missed on marketing this months, etc.). People who are on Twitter and care about tweets of the week, don’t need your curation. People who are deep in the industry are already subscribed to 2–5 industry specific newsletters, they don’t need another one. Curation market seems oversaturated. However, there are successful examples as well — check out BrainPint by Jannel.

But how does “a real value newsletter” look like now? There are several frameworks that work well.

A. Teardowns

One of the best examples I’ve seen recently is Corey Turner from Swaylitics . He takes DTC brands and breaks down their success strategy trying to figure out how many orders they get daily, what are the main marketing channels etc.

A page from Corey Turner Newsletter

Another successful example — Andrea Bosoni and ZeroToMarketing.

B. Useful bottom-level stuff with examles

Foe instance, take on SEO concept and describe how it is used in different use cases. Or take one small process in hiring (recruiting, screening, etc.) and explain how you did it for compaby X,Y,Z.

One of the newsletters that belong to this catagory and gets sign ups very fast — Font Discovery from Hua Shu. She writes amazing articles of the fonts and their styles — how they have been created, what for, how you can use them in creating visuals, what emotions do they communicate. She provides real-life examples and links to the projects.

A visual from the Font Discovery newsletter

C. “Food For Thought” stuff

One of the best recent examples from this type of newsletter group — Mindset Blueprint Community, a newsletter run by Michael McGill. He is a consultant and is focusing his efforts on promoting leadership training programs for tech professionals (engineers, devs, etc.). Therefore, his newsletter is based on the idea that I tech people should embrace more soft skills to become better leaders, and soft skills are based on very “non-tech” stuff: philosophical frameworks, mental models, customer behaviour research, decision-making theories, etc. This is what he discusses in his newsletter issues.

D. “Build-in-public” style guides

No matter what you’re doing, your business includes a number of processes that are similar to any other business (except for probably crypto-startups, they are a different game — if you want to find out, why read my article here).

But guess what? There are many other companies who do just that and they have not figured it out. Just go ahead and write down what you do, how, why and what results you get.

Good examples in this type of newsletter? Kevon Cheung’s newsletter where he shares every step of his journey, shows what he makes selling courses, on creating info-products, what worked for him, what did not, why he thinks it did not work.

I have adopted the same approach in my How To Build a Startup Profitable from Day one series, where I do publicly audience discovery, show how I run user research, how I use vary basic statistics to make sure my results are relevant, how I create basic MVPs, etc. If you’re interested in these things you’re welcome to sign up.

A vizual from my personal newsletter

E. A community-generated knowledge

This is probably the best type of newsletter. This is what ex-AirBnB Lenny Rachitsky is doing in his newsletter. This is what is done by the Demand Curve and Julian Shapiro. They have hundreds of thousands of readers. Why? These newsletters are co-created by users and read by users (sounds a bit like crypto:) But you will get there only when you have your community built.

4. Leadgen products with useful content

Ladgen magnet can be used instead of a “freemium” that will funnel more customers for you tp work with.

Good recent examples of this type:

  • Funnel Teardowns — a website created by GrowthHit marketing agency. It’s the breakdowns but nicer, better,and with more traffic.
  • Growth Marketing Command Center Dashboard created by Trevor Longino. An easy planner for a marketing agency or a business owner that will help with planning and running marketing campaigns.

5. A Community

I believe that a community is a part of content marketing. Content = ideas, and community lives on the ideas. It is probably the top level of the marketing pyramid, the most powerful and beautiful tool that you can ever use.

But as soon as it turns into a success and becomes stronger — it stops being a tool and starts living your own life, aside from your goals but still supporting them.

Great example: Luma by Lolita Taub. It is a community that connects founders, investors, experts, marketers. Where they come together and help each other to solve problems, find funding, connect and be friends.


Created by

Ana Bibikova







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