18 January 2023 |

How a one-person content team can manage it all

By Tracey Wallace

Dear Tracey, 

I’m so excited for this newsletter! I can’t wait for any and all advice you have related to content marketing. 

I’m a one-person marketing team at an early-stage SaaS startup. I would say my biggest challenge is figuring out how to balance content generation with the rest of my initiatives. I’m scrappy and up for the challenge, but I do admit I’m intimidated by how much there is to do! 

–– Here goes nothing

Hi, Here goes nothing!

This is a monumental task––but one that I’ve done and know that you can do, too. 

First, the positive: You get to set this thing up the way you want to, which means you can set it up right from the beginning. 

That is more of a blessing than you might imagine, and I often think back to my start-up days and the cool and easily trackable to revenue content programs I built.

Whew, it just isn’t as easy at an established organization to get that kind of work up and running: too many cooks in the kitchen, too many competing priorities, too many data issues, etc. 

Now, I’m going to assume you don’t have any content marketing budget or additional resources (i.e. can’t hire freelancer writers). So, this is what I would do if I were you: 

Start with case studies. 

By this, I mean begin by interviewing 1-2 customers per week.

Turn those interviews into case studies to start producing content. This is critical to your early success in the role and services a few purposes:

  1. It gets you producing content
  2. It gets you producing content your sales team will be stoked about (huge win!)
  3. It gets you familiar with the pros and cons of the product directly from the customers themselves and
  4. It gets you access to the voice of the customer so you can begin to understand what content to even publish at all. 

I’d focus only on this for the first 30 days, if not 60. Get your sales team 8-12 really fantastic case studies across a variety of verticals, business sizes, and problems that were solved.

Now, turn some of those into gated assets (simply combine the similar ones, for example: “Why mid-market brands choose [company name]” or do a combo, for example: “#TK [brand name] use cases and success metrics”]. 

Now, you have ~10 case studies and a happy sales team. You can repurpose those case studies into paid ads and drive paid traffic to those pages. And, you have at least one, ideally two, gated assets that round some of the best case studies up––and start driving lead gen.

Better yet, you now have a better understanding of the product and the customer, including what they love and what they hate (be sure to ask what isn’t working in these interviews!). More on conducting case study calls here. 

Now, build a content calendar.

Start with the things the customers like about your platform and how they all commonly use it to solve similar problems. Create how-tos on these. Ideally you’ve found at least 3-5 things, and each should be its own blog post. For example:

  • How to grow revenue through email marketing automations 
  • How to increase AOV with email marketing segmentation 
  • How to increase email click rate and earn more money with every send 

Use the interviews you conducted for case studies as a starting point, but continue to interview at least 1 customer per week. And, reach out to folks outside the company too––anyone at agencies, influencers in your industry, etc. Ask them how they might do it or think about it. 

The key here, though, is that you show folks how to do it using your platform. And I mean it––show them how to do it. A loom video. Screenshots. Whatever it takes. 

Publish one of these a week (and you should be up to publishing one case study per week by now too). 

  • Focus on interlinking here early: interlink back to case studies and your solution pages. 
  • Add a CTA for the content downloads to use this content to drive leads. 
  • And of course, be sure to optimize this work for SEO––though if the organization is new, you probably want to look for relevant keywords that have lower difficulty. These will rank faster, though they may have lower search volume. That’s ok. 

This should get you through another 30 days. 

Then, focus on the things folks didn’t like about your platform. Talk to your product team.

  • Is there a reason that the feature works in the way it does?
  • Is there a strong POV your company can take to turn this bug into a feature (if it’s a bug at all)?
  • Or, is there a way your customers, and prospects as a result, can better use the tool to not stumble upon these issues?

Those should all be blog posts. This should get you through another month of content.

Repurpose into gated assets to collect leads where you can.

Combine some of these blogs into ebooks to offer as a gated asset or bonus content. Or, breakdown some of these blogs into gated checklists. A/B test these––both as lead gen on your blog, as well as with paid sending traffic to gated asset landing pages. 

At this point, now 4 months into your role, you should be producing:

  • 1 case study per week
  • 1 blog per week
  • 1 gated asset per month 

Use those case studies and calls with customers to drive more ideas for content. And, talk to your sales team and listen to their recorded calls. Look at churn reasons, or reasons why folks don’t close in your CRM. And produce content that can help the larger team combat those objections, through the blog or, even better, through case studies. 

Track it all back to revenue.

Set up a system early on to:

  • Have a CTA for downloadable content on your blog and a gated asset landing page 
  • Track content leads based on the channel in which they downloaded (Hubspot makes this super easy with their default channels, based on GA’s default channels. For an early stage startup, this should be all you need). 
  • Then, measure those leads through the sales funnel and see how folks convert, how long it takes, at what revenue, etc. 

Then, continue to focus here for the first 12 months.

SEO may take a bit, but you’re building the foundation (you can always look to outsource backlinking to kickstart things), and you are producing lower-funnel content that will help your paid media team capture demand, help prospects convert, and help your sales team win. 

That’s how I’d start. Hope it helps!