You are the business. The business is you.

It’s quite possible that building a new startup company is the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

Think about it. You have a great idea, but little else. All you have to do is turn that idea into a reliable revenue stream that feeds you, your family and the families of your partners and employees.

I admire you for trying. I really do! Startups are not for the faint of heart.

In the beginning, there’s only you and your idea.

You are the business, and the business is you.

Your assets and liabilities

Hopefully your idea is a good one, and you’re 100% committed to making it work. These are table stakes for any entrepreneur.

I’d guess that you already have a do-it-yourself attitude. You plan to wear all the hats, at least at first: owner, developer, marketer, sales person. That’s a good place to begin, since you probably don’t have many (or any) staff yet.

If you’re lucky and clever, you’ve got some funding lined up. But it’s not likely there’s much of it in your marketing budget.

Ah, but you’re creative and intelligent! You’re hardworking!

That’s really good, because without customers you’re going to need those assets.

So here’s the silver lining in this challenging balance sheet.

The best person to market your new startup company is you. And the best do-it-yourself way to promote your new business is with content marketing.

Build on a framework

Done right, content marketing will provide you with a framework that will support the launch and growth of your new business.

For example, if you follow the five stages of content development you’re going to create some foundational elements that will underpin both your marketing effort and your business strategy:

  • Your business focus (topic)
  • Your value proposition
  • Personas that aim precisely at the people you’re trying to help
  • A map of key messages to each persona at each stage of the buyer’s journey
  • A website that makes you visible online
  • A blog that gives voice to your ideas
  • A social presence that populates your network with like-minded people/prospects

Beyond these basics, you’ll create content that spells out your idea in detail so that people can understand its value: solution briefs, e-books, explainer videos, white papers, info-graphics and articles.

All of these strategic and tactical components help you tell your story in a way that truly interests people. And that’s what marketing is all about today.

9 ways content marketing helps you

By using content marketing as your promotional strategy, you’ll also gain these nine business benefits:

1. Content marketing defines your niche

The first building block of content strategy is to identify and narrow your business’s niche (your solution/service area). A solid content strategy focuses on a central topic, which also helps you focus your business.

2. Content marketing clarifies your value proposition

To create content that clearly states your value, you’ll first need to answer some key questions:

  • Why should someone purchase your solution?
  • Why should someone purchase your solution instead of your competitor’s?
  • What’s most worthwhile for someone to keep in mind about your solution?

Your answers will drive both your content and your business positioning.

3. Content marketing is affordable

Compared to traditional tactics such as trade shows and advertising, content marketing is a bargain. While the payoff might take awhile, self-produced content on the web, social networks and email costs much less than physical events or print and TV ads.

4. Content marketing aligns with customer needs

The intent of content marketing is to provide information that’s useful to customers. Do that and you’ll connect with the needs of real people, putting your business in a very favorable position.

5. Content marketing improves customer experience

When you create content that answers common questions and needs, you’ll naturally be more helpful. That makes you less pushy and more likely to be liked. Customers appreciate that kind of experience.

6. Content marketing makes you look bigger

Your business might be new but your website and other well-organized content can make you appear both established and solid. Nothing breeds confidence like meeting the needs of people seeking solutions, and well-crafted content does that.

7. Content marketing establishes thought leadership

When your business is little more than an idea and a dream, a consistent series of thoughtful content on your blog and social channels can boost your credibility, reputation and solution authority. Try getting that from an ad!

8. Content marketing builds a network

When you share focused content you’re literally sharing your mind with like-minded people. Those who are on the same wavelength become your followers, your tribe. And that, in turn, helps you build a known list of potential customers.

9. Content marketing makes your business buyer-centric

There’s a proven path that buyers take: education, analysis and selection. Content mapping helps you tap into these buyer behaviors so that your promotion begets buyer action. From invisible buyers to leads to sales, content marketing is inherently action-oriented and buyer-centric.

Get started now

Your idea is great. You’re committed to making it work. Now all you need is to connect with people who want your solution.

A content marketing strategy will help your new startup company launch, grow and thrive.

Today would be a good time to start.

This article was originally published here.