Content helps your community and your audience relate to you. The more helpful and relatable you are, the more people want to begin a relationship with you. Isn’t that how you began most of your friendships, whether they be online or off? By relating and finding things in common with people? Relationships deepen, you find you are able to be there when friends need you, they are there for you when you need them…The more you consistently put out great helpful content, the more people learn that you (your brand) are someone they can look to when they have questions, and that leads to trust. If you are a brand, trust is the most important goal I can think of – people buy from people they trust.
When I’m starting out to write, either for my own blog or on behalf of one of my brand clients, I always start out with 3 very specific questions to guide my words:
1. Is this necessary?
2. Is this needed?
3. Is this helpful?
While it might first appear that Questions 1 & 2 are similar, they’re actually quite different. I look at Question 1 as – has what I’m thinking about writing or about to write filling a hole? Do I have the opportunity to help people find information on something I haven’t, myself, been able to find information on? While I look at Question 2 as – have I been listening and talking with my communities and have I found that they are asking for this information? If I can answer YES! to each of those three questions, I am more confident in sitting down to write. If I cannot answer yes to each of them, I remind myself that I’m not writing just for my own enjoyment (though I do, just to practice my writing), I’m writing for the people in the communities I keep myself in. When I am writing for a brand, I always try to keep top of mind – This isn’t about me. This is about my customers.
If I am aiming to create more of a Content Marketing “Strategy,” there are more things to consider, and it’s necessary to delve deeper. Before we begin any sort of plan, we need to ensure we know our goals and who we are creating content for.
1. Have we defined our audience? Do we know who will be receiving the content we will be providing?
2. Can we define characteristics of that audience? Do we know more about them past their buying triggers, so we can create a more comprehensive plan?
3. What are our goals? What are our marketing objectives? How will our content marketing program help us get closer to achieving those goals?
4. Have we spent enough time to begin to understand what content our audience is looking for? (While we will NEVER stop listening and talking with our community and our audience, we have to start somewhere)
5. What format does our audience and community like to receive content marketing in? Is it infographics? Videos? Text? Blogs? Live Streams? Webinars?
6. Where will we distribute our content – where is our community RIGHT NOW? Where is our audience? Where are the people we are not yet reaching but aim to?
7. Do we currently have the staff, resources and budget for a true Content Marketing Plan to be effective? If not, where we will get these resources?
8. How will we track and analyze metrics? How will we know we are getting closer to recognizing our goals?
The most important thing to remember is that although you have laid out a roadmap with your strategic plan, you always have to plan for the unplannable. You will need to be ok with the idea that your entire plan might need to be scrapped and rewritten at any time.
Do you have a Content Marketing Strategy? What have you found are the most important pieces in it? Do you feel that your strategy is allowing you to feel ready to begin creating content? Tweet me @lucyrk78 and share some of your content marketing ideas with me!