The beginning of the year often means the start of many new marketing initiatives, which will inevitably need marketable content to make them effective. However, it’s not uncommon to experience roadblocks in getting the ball rolling with content idea generation.
This article provides a checklist you can use to intuitively construct content ideas and drive them across your marketing networks.
Why Market Content?
Content marketing is a proven lead-generation tactic. It helps you increase sales and build engagement with your customers. If content marketing isn’t a part of your overall marketing strategy, you should reconsider, maybe even hire a content marketer to help with content creation and content promotion.
The demand for valuable content is greater now than ever before, but producing quality content requires significant research, time, and effort, especially without a full marketing team behind you. Many small businesses experience this challenge when trying to build content, leading to a lot of frustration.
This checklist can help guide your efforts and help you avoid common roadblocks. By helping you get into a rhythm, you’ll have more time and energy to improve engagement with your prospects.
1. Identify your target audience and their needs
One of the capital sins of marketing is being overconfident about how well you know your target audience. Customer expectations, preferences, and tendencies can drastically change over time, and unless you’ve kept a consistent barometer on them, your perception of what your customers want might be outdated.
First, ask yourself what you know about them:
- Who is your target audience?
- Education level
- Lifestyle choices
Next ask yourself what you know about their needs:
- What are their needs/priorities?
- What challenges do they have in their line of work?
- How much budget do they have available to invest in addressing those challenges?
- What are their main limitations to overcoming those challenges?
You may have a general idea of the answers to these questions, but it might be convenient to actually survey your existing customers to make sure your understanding of them is actually aligned with the reality of their current expectations and needs.
Once you know what they’re expecting, you can start building content that speaks to those expectations.
2. Identify Marketing Channels
Once you know your target audience and their needs, you must identify where you are more likely to engage with them.
There is a diverse collection of social networks for different audiences out there nowadays, and the usual mediums you’ve been using to reach out to your audience may not be the best ones to use nowadays.
Centennials are more inclined to use TikTok than Facebook, while B2B interactions are more likely to succeed on LinkedIn. Quora, a community-based Q&A website, is becoming popular for certain brands to engage with users by using employee advocates to directly answer customer questions about products, services, or topics in your industry.
With the ever-growing focus on customer experience and personalization in marketing, it’s important to get this one right. Engaging on the right platform with the right message will go a long way in earning loyalty and trust from your audience.
3. Identify Marketing Opportunities
Identifying marketing opportunities means recognizing what is going on in an industry or market that you can take advantage of to engage with your audience. Is there a new update or patch to a software solution you sell? Is there a regulation change that affects your customer’s industry? Is there a tip or trick about a product or solution that you know could come in handy for customers?
People often mistake marketing opportunities for sales opportunities, but there is a significant distinction. Your sales opportunities will appear when a potential customer is ready to decide and purchase a product or service; the final expected outcome is closing a deal. On the other hand, your marketing opportunities give you the chance to build trust and loyalty with your audience and are not guaranteed to end in a sale but bring your audience closer to that sales threshold.
You’ll have to closely gauge your audience and the industry they compete in to keep a watchful eye on less obvious marketing opportunities, but some are easier to identify than you think. Holidays, fiscal year closings, significant birthdays, and planned event dates are all marketing opportunities that you plan ahead for and even build entire marketing campaigns around.
Sometimes, marketing opportunities may exist surrounding topics important to the audience, but they may not yet be aware of a change or update happening. In this case, you can build an awareness campaign dedicated to informing your audience about a problem or challenge they did not know they had.
Once you’ve identified a marketing opportunity to build content, you’ll need to:
Identify the Problem or Opportunity that You Are Solving with Your Content
Whenever you market content, your main value proposition needs to be: “why someone should care about what I have to say.”
If you’ve identified a marketing opportunity in your target audience’s industry, it means you likely have something valuable to add to the conversation your audience is having about this topic. For example, let’s say a new technology has just become available for a specific industry that solves many issues but will need to be carefully integrated into modern systems to properly work. If your company has a solution or the know-how to make that integration easier, less costly, or more effective for users, then you have a solid argument to make about why they should pay attention to your solution.
You can then begin to craft your messaging around how you have exactly what they need to address their challenge.
5. Create a List of Ideas for Each Audience, Channel, and Opportunity
Once you’ve gathered your information and ideas, it’s useful to list and qualify them to make sure your ideas are organized and make sense.
There are many CRMs with features and functionalities that help you do this, but at the very basic level, you can create a spreadsheet and sort them by Audience types on the X-axis and create columns for Channel, Marketing Opportunity, and Marketing Idea. It could be something like this:
6. Evaluate Your List of Ideas
Once you have created a list of ideas, bounce them back and forth with the members of your marketing team and evaluate how good these ideas are, how they can change or improve, or if you might have missed something that needs to be included.
Do you have more questions about marketing content? Reach out to us, and let’s start a conversation.