Startup Founder; Create Your First Piece of Content Now

So, you have a new product?

Let’s start with a fact: you don’t need a finished product to start product marketing.

What’s more, if you already have a finished product, you’re probably too late! It’s not guaranteed that the market needs your product, so you better not work on it for x years and then put it on the market. It’s better to build a minimum viable product (MVP) first, test it in the market with potential early adopters, and continue to fine-tune the product with them.

As described in earlier blog posts, customer development is the first phase where you go out and talk to potential early adopters to validate your MVP.

But to get noticed by those very first early adopters you’ll need some online content. And this content must be very, very easy to understand. For this purpose, you’ll need to take your first steps towards product marketing and content creation.

If you already have an idea what value your product will bring to a specific target audience, even if it’s not validated yet, that’s great. You can set up a landing page by using one of the various applications on the web.

When we started out with our first start-up (Cloudalize.com), I used Unbounce to test some presumed value propositions by continuously testing the messaging around the product. You gotta know what works and what doesn’t work! Only when you know what works, move to the next step.

In general, I would not recommend spending money on a full-blown website unless your value propositions are at least 80% clear.

From value prop to content

Having your value propositions ready is one thing, but how do you convert this to actual content which you can add to your landing page?

A landing page usually consists of the following components:

  • Tell the visitor which problem he is facing now. Let’s hope he agrees with you 
  • What’s your value prop? How are you going to make his life better?
  • Give some proof / use cases.
  • Add a Form (to collect his data + contact him for a product validation)

On your landing page, you can add a form with an open question: ‘Please tell us more about your situation.’ If people are genuinely interested in your product they will reach out so you should make it easy for them. The internet has many ways of bringing your landing page to the attention of the right audience. And the feedback from them will be your most valuable asset.

Our attention span, online and off-line, is still in freefall. So you have to keep your messaging as short as possible. To deliver more information in less time, you should consider using videos. Your audience does not have much time. With video, you can tell a story, formulate the problem, offer the solution and spark the interest of the early adopter in less than 80 seconds. An even better option is to create shorter videos where you test one problem with one value proposition.

So you think you need a professional video production company for this? Not really.

You’re more capable of creating content than you think.

Create your first piece of (video) content

But how do you make your video? As a start-up, I recommend trying to do it yourself to keep costs low. The main reason is that your value props will change over time, so the messaging in your videos will too. What’s more, creating video is pretty easy nowadays and you can find lots of information on the web on how to get started.

You cannot construct a house without a plan. The same is true for a video. Start by writing down a scenario with one main subject – problem/solution. Your viewer wants to learn something. Don’t sell, try to keep it educational.

This is a video we created a few years ago. In your video, explain the problem and the solution and ask your viewers to take some form of action. For instance, filling out a form to learn more. Derek Halpern has some good tips on this.

Creating a video can be done pretty simply too. An iPhone might do the job, but I would recommend buying a cheap DSLR (450 euro), a tripod (100 euro) and an external mic (50 euro). There’s no need to spend more than 600 euros in total. The main reason to do this is audio quality. You can connect the external mic to the DSLR camera and get much better sound. And this is important because bad audio is the worst.

A camera, a tripod and a little 40€ mic is enough to create your first video. Clip the mic on your chest.

Start recording, do some test takes, and check it on your computer. Check the video content from other (successful) start-ups and make note of some of their best video creation ideas to use in your videos.

I would recommend using a neutral background. Set the camera shutter speed on 1/60 and the aperture diaphragm between f5,6 and f10. Use natural window light from a north-facing window. This will always be flattering and the light will be more stable.

The first landing page we used to collect information from the market.

After you recorded some clips with (hopefully) very interesting content, check your computer to see if you can find video editing software. There is freeware video editing software online that will do the job. Or use the Adobe Premiere App from the Adobe creative cloud. This might be more challenging, but you will quickly learn how it works. It will be very useful for future content marketing.

Once you have finished your video, create a YouTube channel and modify it to fit your brand. The YouTube video can be easily embedded in your landing page afterwards.

Here at the left you can see one of the first landing pages we used to test our product in the market.

I’m not saying that this was the perfect landing page. We are talking about several years ago and even more is known about crafting the perfect landing page these days. But it was a starting point and we managed to collect information from the market with it. It was also a proof point that the market was interested in our product.

Later on, we created landing pages for different groups of audiences which allowed us to choose our beach head

For more practical tips, feel free to message me.
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Best,

Daan