Build your strategy around these three questions and you’ll be off to a great start.
Content marketing is a very buzzy term. I don’t mean that as a compliment. I mean that it gets bandied around a lot and misunderstood…a lot. The biggest misconception? Content marketing is about selling.
In reality it’s quite the opposite: content marketing is actually about giving to your customers. The ultimate goal, over a prolonged period of time, is to build a rapport with your prospective customers, which may or may not lead to sales. Content marketing is part of a process that marketing bods call ‘nurturing’, and nurturing is about care. Above all, content should care for your customers.
The second misconception is that content marketing is complex. As a small business owner, you already know all you need to know to put a solid content marketing plan in place. Sure, there’s countless analytics you could swim around in to define audiences and to understand their behaviours. There’s campaign funnels and other processes you can worry yourself with. But the crux of a content marketing strategy comes from answering just three questions:
1.What is the reason for my business?
If you own your business, your objectives are probably at the forefront of your mind, but the answer to this question isn’t just about what do you want to achieve for yourself. Try thinking beyond simply ‘I want to sell my product’, to your reason behind the business.
The reason is usually much more giving than just making a profit. It might be ‘I want to make people healthier’ or ‘I want to reduce the impact of humans on the planet’ or ‘I want to make people feel fabulous’. Once your head is in the giving space, you can think about subject matter that aligns to your ultimate goals.
2. What do the customers want to achieve?
Next take a similar approach with your customers. Customers are people. People living their lives, with basic needs, dreams and aspirations. They come to you to help them satisfy those aims.
If you sell shoes, for example, your shoes might be what gives them the confidence to bring their A-game in that interview, or the comfort to get through a long day on their feet. So what are they wanting to achieve?
Thinking about what your customers want to achieve, from basic needs to aspirations will give you an understanding of where your ambitions meet and what topics align to those ambitions.
3. What knowledge can you offer customers that will help them to achieve that?
As an expert in your area, your brain is a bounty of useful information for your customers. Now you know what topics to focus on, write down some basic thoughts around the subject matter.
Cross-check your thoughts against yours and your customers’ objectives, prioritise your key topics and then have some fun building on the concepts.
There’s more to a content strategy than writing down some content ideas, but the content plan is the spine that runs through it and once it’s in place you’ll know that your surrounding strategy will be delivering content that will nurture your customers with the knowledge that demonstrates your strengths and supports their desires.
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