We've all heard the phrase, "Content is king." Digital marketers like to use it ad nauseum to emphasize the importance of developing your business content strategy. We all know that content is important, and most of us understand why. But if you're a business owner that's just begun exploring content development as a way of reaching more customers, getting started with the process can be tricky. Here are three key questions you can use to map out your business content strategy.
Who is your audience?
The first (and most important) part of creating an effective content strategy is understanding who you are writing for. One common pitfall in content development is that businesses end up writing for their peers rather than their customers. It may be tempting - and exciting - to create content about the latest trends in your industry, but it's important to keep in mind that it may not be the most engaging subject matter for your customers.
Creating tailored content begins with taking an in-depth look at your customers. Understanding basic demographic information as well as the online behavior of your target audience can help inform your content strategy. If you're at a loss as to where to gather this information, take a look behind the scenes at your web analytics. A good platform will provide you with a comprehensive picture of your typical customer. If you don't have analytics installed on your website, consider developing a short survey to collect some demographic data about your audience.
What's important to them?
Play the role of a customer for a moment. Let's say you're browsing around online for a particular service. For the purposes of this example, we'll say you're looking for a qualified landscaper nearby. What information would you be interested in finding out from landscaping companies? Chances are you'd probably have basic questions related to total cost, specific services they offer, timing of jobs, etc. You may also be looking for more specific information about things like lawn care, seasonal planting, flowers, and mulching.
Step into your own customers' shoes, and begin creating a list of relevant questions related to your own business, products and services. It may also be helpful to ask your friends and colleagues to do some role playing and write down their questions as well. Once you've developed a decent list of basic and more detailed questions, use this as a guide for your content strategy. Your customers will value informative, helpful content that addresses some of their most common questions.
What's interesting to them?
One of the keys to creating compelling content is good storytelling. Let's go back to our landscaper example for a moment here. Which of the following passages about landscaping is more attention-grabbing?
"After spending a grueling day in the hot sun trying to shape up the shabby-looking shrubbery in front of his house, Bob had thrown in the towel. His hands were blistered, his skin was sunburned, and his yard resembled a war zone. It was time to call in the professionals for help."
Or this passage, "Bob had worked hard outside in his yard all day. He needed more help, so he decided to call a landscaper."
It's probably fair to say that the first passage told a more engaging story than the second. Part of developing effective content is finding your hook so that your customers will actually want to read further. Try to tell a story with every piece of content you create. A little creativity goes a long way!
Developing your business content strategy can seem like a daunting task. But guiding your strategy with a few simple questions can help you manage the process more easily. Think about your customers, what's important to them, and what they'd find interesting. Use the information you collect to help with planning. Happy content creating!
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