The best startups focus unwaveringly around one thing: solving a real-world problem.

The best bloggers focus intensely on another thing: participating and publishing in social media.

Combine the two and your organization has a simple framework for success in the digital space.

Think like a startup: What problem are we truly trying to solve?

Startups launch fast, get feedback, and react quickly. When Yelp first launched, the platform’s focus was getting friends to email each other requests for their recommendation of a service. While that idea fell flat with their audience, the concept of social business reviews did catch on and the site became a huge success.

When PowerBar was a startup in the 1980s, it faced a similar challenge: pivot or perish.

“[PowerBar’s founder] knew his product wasn’t optimal. But by getting feedback on an early version, he was able to modify it, changing the package and marketing strategy to build a following among athletes and weekend warriors. PowerBar eventually became a $150 million business, creating the $1 billion energy bar category.” – Businessweek.com

Both companies are success stories because they were willing to morph to fill an actual need versus an imagined one. It takes courage to look in the mirror and identify weaknesses, but it’ll improve your results.

Your digital strategy should think like a startup and answer “what need is our content actually serving?” and “how can we improve to better serve that need?” Staying in tune with your audience (through social media monitoring and content performance analytics) is crucial to your startup’s digital strategy’s success.

Act like a blogger: How can I earn the attention of the community to let them know?

Good bloggers understand the daunting reality of how much stamina is needed to take part in this mara-sprint (marathon length at sprint pace. Yes, that just happened. Sigh.) Content marketing is a war of attrition and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Defining a mission, setting both short-term and long-term goals, and being consistent with content marketing are essential to success. So is having the stamina to endure writing 2.4 posts per day with an average word count of 1,278 every day for the next 6.7 years, if that’s what it takes.

Successful organizations create products that solve real-world problems and focus on making the lives of their customers better. They stay dedicated to solving problems and stay in tune with their audience.

If you want to be successful in content marketing you’ve got to think like a startup, and act like a blogger.

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About Andrew Hanelly

Andrew Hanelly

Andrew is SVP, Strategy for McMurry/TMG and for one semester in college, was a sociology major. He writes at Brain on Digital, as @hanelly on Twitter and here on Google+.

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