With some extra time on your hands during the pandemic, many people have decided to create content for their business and personal brand. I am excited to see the increase in activity in video, podcasts and blogs all over the business world. I think it’s a great use of time, and a great way to use this time to create long term business value. But as you start on your content journey (or if you are just considering it now), it’s important to not just “run and gun” your content. Here are a few questions to consider to make your content marketing pop.
Does This Answer a Question Or Concern of My Customers?
When I speak to business leaders, marketers and entrepreneurs about creating content, one of their concerns is where to start. What topic should I cover? What should I write about? The easiest place to start is to make a list of questions that your customers and prospects ask all of the time about your product or service. You probably already have the answers, because you handle them all of the time. If you can write a blog or create a video that answers that question you probably have a good piece of content.
But I think it’s important that this is not just a sales video. It’s not an ad. So many people create videos that say they are answering a question, but it’s really a full blown marketing pitch that only sells their own product. The idea is that you create value by answering a real question and add value to the customer. Once you have created value in the customer’s mind, and built trust, that is a great time to offer your product or service as a potential solution to the customer’s problem.
Does This Have a Point of View?
The famous Sports Talk Radio Host Jim Rome has a mantra he says to his callers. “Have a take…and don’t suck.” That might be good advice if you are calling a radio show, but these are great words of wisdom if you are creating content. Have an opinion. The idea of content marketing, in many ways, is to establish you or your brand as the expert. We go to experts for their opinion on matters. These experts have earned the right. That’s you. You have put in the work to be the expert in your area. So if you are going to take my time with a piece of content, have a point of view. Have a take. And don’t suck.
Is This Created With My Customers in Mind?
Many marketers and entrepreneurs have a “Toby Keith” problem with their marketing. They “wanna talk about me” all of the time. When we focus all of our marketing or our content on our own company, we lose sight of what is important…meeting the needs of our customer. The best content is created wit the customer in mind. It answers a question they need. It educates them to help them do their job better or make their lives easier.
Donald Miller talks about this in his great book Building Your StoryBrand. Many companies make themselves the hero of their story. It’s a mistake. As Miller says, in your marketing (and your content) you should position the customer as the hero of the story and your company should be the guide. So your customer is Luke Skywalker and your company is Obi Wan.
These are just a few questions to consider when creating a piece of content…and you want to make it pop. I think questions can be very powerful to lead us the right direction (I talk about more good questions here). If you have more questions about Content Marketing, check out Joe Pulizzi’s great book Content Inc on the subject here.
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