Learn as you Leap – Jumping into the Content Marketing Pool
Jun 10, 2015
It takes a lot of time and energy to ramp up a fledgling content marketing program. Make sure you are not wasting your resources by flying blindly through the process. Do not pass go and do not develop content without really understanding your business objectives and your customers’ needs and behaviors. If you have your business objectives well sorted out, it is time to make sure you understand how your customers’ needs and desires overlap with your objectives and consider what information would be of value to your customer.
To do this, you must get closer to your customers and learn what they value. Listen to your customers in any way possible – if you have a “direct line” use it early and often, talk to your customers as much as you can. If direct lines are not well established yet there are other ways to learn about your customers and gather some foundational information as a jumping off point.
Stop and Smell the Content
Even if you are just joining the content game and have a young business there is a lot you can learn by just taking a quick look around. Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the content.
What content is out there in the world that is currently resonating with your audience? What are your competitors up to? How are those goons trying to cozy up to your customers? Is it working? Browse social media and search for topics related to the space you are targeting – what type of content seems to be getting shared/liked/commented? Closely examine what has been successful. Look out for any gaps or opportunities that might be there, including potential areas where you can exploit a competitive advantage and differentiate yourself from the other guys. When you see this kind of opportunity, run in that direction as fast as possible.
Get the Inside Info
Also, remember, sometimes you do not have to look very far to get a window into the customers’ minds. You may be able to learn a lot from all of the valuable resources under your own roof. Link up with your customer service reps and sales teams to get a reading on the pulse of your customers. What insights have they gleaned from their interactions with customers? What questions are customers asking? What are they looking for? What challenges are they facing? What gets them excited and interested? You might be amazed by the treasure chest of insights that can be unlocked by dropping a dozen donuts to the sales crew! Don’t overlook these great resources right within your organization.
Harness the Power of Your Peeps
One of the best ways to hack your way into the world of content marketing is to conduct live online events with existing customers and prospects. You can get a lot of bang for your buck by leveraging your community to help generate real-time (and reusable) content. This is a sweet spot for achieving the goal of learning what really resonates with your audience while you create content at the same time! Let’s talk through a scenario that can maximize your customer interaction and learning as well as your production of valuable content.
Content with Intent
Every situation is different, but the key thing to remember is to find the most immediate path to learning what information resonates with customers and build from there. Be intentional with the content you are developing both in terms of the value that you are providing and how you plan to learn from it to improve the next wave of assets.
What did I miss? What other ideas would you add to this list for quick learning and iteration strategies?
For more guidance on ramping up your content marketing program, check out our Content Planning Jumpstart Guide.