I have some depressing news for you. Your prospects, customers, and leads do not wake up every morning in breathless anticipation of your blog posts or ebooks. Nope, that kind of anticipation is reserved for Jay-Z albums and J.K. Rowling novels, so you can’t just craft a single blog post or video and think you’re done with your content strategy and execution.
Winning with content starts with the recognition that you need to earn people’s attention, not rent it. To earn attention, you need a content strategy that is truly remarkable, deeply relevant, and easily accessible to your target audience.
In other words, you need to win the battle for eyeballs and engagement, and doing so requires an understanding of what your audience needs, reads, and shares on a regular basis. To get started, here are some tips to keep in mind before, during, and after launching your content strategy.
Stage 1: Identifying Your Audience
Don’t Try to Boil the Ocean
If you try to be all things to all people from a content perspective, you’ll end up being relevant to no one. Develop target personas that make it clear to everyone in your organization (not just your marketing team) who you are developing content for on an ongoing basis.
This sounds obvious, but at some point in your evolution as a brand publisher, you’ll be asked to focus on something that simply isn’t a good fit for your prospects, customers, and leads. A clear, concise persona definition keeps your entire team rooted in who your target customers are (and aren’t), and prevents you from wasting valuable time, money, and energy targeting people or companies who will never buy from you.
Channel Your Inner Nancy Drew
Before you start publishing, you need to conduct a formal investigation. A good audit has two distinct components: customer due diligence and competitor due diligence. I recommend you start with your customers first, even if you don’t have any just yet. Rooting your strategy in understanding what they find most valuable online is the very best way to approach your content.
Ideally, you’ll identify ten customers you can interview about their content consumption habits, but if you don’t have ten customers, choose ten people who fit your persona profile and invest the time to truly understand where, when, how, and why they consume content.
In my experience, you really want to avoid leading the witness in these interviews. In other words, you don’t want to ask “Would you read our ebooks if we produce them?”