Content Creation is a huge beast that will dominate every industry in 2018. The amount of content being created in a day is mind-blowing. But sadly, most of this is just noise. Value-added and strategic content is very rare. So much so, that 55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like. Over half of the industry experts in marketing have no clue if the content they are creating is successful or even what successful content looks like. OVER HALF! The SaaS industry is no different. It’s more than keywords and SEO these days, content has to be strategic. You must have a plan in place, with clear and objectionable goals that you can measure. Let’s talk about how to tame that beast and make it work for you.
What Does Content Strategy Mean?
A content strategy is knowing exactly where to say what, how to say it, when to say it, and know who you are saying it to. It’s a well-thought-out plan (written down somewhere) that lays out the short-term end-goal, and then provides a step-by-step, day-by-day course of action for your content. But, before you can even begin thinking about a strategy you have to know your target audience.
How Do You Find Your Target Audience?
Your target audience is your customer base. These are the people that you do business with every single day. The best way to find out who these people are and what they need is talk to them. Send your current customers an email, or if you have their number send them a text and ask if they could spare 5 minutes to share their experiences with you. The key to this conversation is to listen. Let the customer guide the conversation and listen closely to their exact wording. You will most likely discover similar words being used by multiple customers. Their wording will later be used in the sales copy to address their pain points.
Now, remember, you’re a stranger talking to your customer, so make this a conversation and not an interview. Introduce yourself and make your intentions known beforehand and then give them space to share with you.
A few questions you could ask to find the answers you’re looking for are:
- What is your favorite thing about the product/company?
- If we were going to change one thing what would you like to see changed?
- How long have you been using the product/company?
- Tell me about your experiences using the product?
- What is the most annoying thing about using our product?
Another very effective way to understand your customers is to speak with your customer service reps and sales staff. If you’re on the marketing team and you haven’t spoken to a sales rep recently, or ever, you are missing out on a wealth of knowledge. The sales reps are the people who hear every groan and compliant, every praise and compliment. They are in direct contact with your customers and know exactly where the customers are satisfied and dissatisfied.
By the time your conversations are over you should know:
- where your customer spends most of their time on social media
- how they make their buying decisions
- average gender
- job title
- why they chose your product over other products
And if applicable to your product and marketing:
- geographical location
- political beliefs
- religious beliefs
- marital status.
Once you’ve had these crucial discussions, you can begin to put a name and face to your buyer.
Start At the End
In order to have a clear and documented content strategy, you must have measurable goals. Your measurable goals could be a number of things: a launch, an audience reach goal, a sales goal, a holiday or event. Knowing what you are working towards will help you clearly identify the steps needed to get there.
Plan the Content
Ok, so now we can get into the details of what it means to create a content strategy. With your goal and audience in mind, create an easily referenced calendar that gives you a weekly overview of what you should be saying and where it should be said. Being a long-form content writer, the easiest way I develop my strategy is to start with the article.
- I create a list of article topics I want to cover.
- Research and write an amazing, value-packed article
- From that one article, I want to be able to pull quotes, questions, and statements that would be applicable on multiple platforms.
- A LinkedIn post, a Tweet, Medium, and Quora- these are the places that my ideal client spends most of their time.
- Repurpose your content- One piece of content can be used in multiple ways. Blog posts, Infographics, slideshares, webinars, video, Tweets, Facebook statuses, LinkedIn Posts, Medium Articles. The options are almost limitless! BUT!! Don’t just repurpose everything you write, everywhere. Remember where your audience spends their time on social media. Those are the platforms where you want to spend time promoting and repurposing content.
Stick to the Plan
Consistency is key, and the only way to grow an audience, educate, and build a genuine community is to be consistent with your content. Follow your plan. Give yourself at least 30 days of consistency before completely revamping things. Track your data during the 30 days and you’ll have a good understanding of what is working and what needs to change. Trust that you created a great plan, and give it time to build and grow. Ranking number one on Google and having a million followers doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a snowball that grows and builds with each day and each new post or article.
Creating content is the easy part of content marketing and everyone is doing it. Make sure that you are being strategic about your content. A clear strategy will be what separates your content from the noise that every other company is making.