If you create content for clients, the initial stages after they hire you are exciting.
You know the possibilities for helping them hit their brand goals with incredible content are far-reaching: increasing brand awareness, attracting more traffic, gaining leads, building trust with their audience, and ultimately boosting sales and revenue.
But you can’t jump into content creation for a client without getting to know them and their audience first.
You need some good backstory to help you help them to the best of your ability.
How do you get it?
By simply asking.
Fishing For Better Concepts With A Little Help From Your Client
The content landscape is only getting more competitive.
In a recent study, 82% of marketers now report they actively use content marketing. That means you need to create better content than your clients’ competitors – because, by now, they’ve probably jumped on the content marketing bandwagon, too.
According to Content Marketing Institute, 50% of B2Bs outsource content marketing.
If you’re the service on which that outsourcing depends, there’s a lot of weight on your shoulders to get it right.
But there’s a way to make it easier.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: You can come up with quality content by simply interviewing your clients.
Even when they’re outsourcing content, your clients can be the best source of information to aid in its creation.
An honest, punctual exchange of information can guide your content creation in the right direction and even offer you a much-needed source of inspiration.
Sailing The Seas Of Great Ideas: Ask Your Client To Jump On Board
The challenge is to create a real bond with your client. How do you do that?
The answer is simple: by getting to know him or her.
This is where your curiosity kicks in.
- What does your client actually do?
- How and why do they do it?
- What short-term and long-term goals are they pursuing?
After finding the most accurate answers to these basic questions, you can start to dig a little deeper.
What concepts does your client have in mind for the content you have to create?
10 Foolproof Ways To Get Great Content Ideas From Your Client
Crafting high-value content for someone other than you is no easy task.
Nonetheless, you can simplify the entire process by kindly asking your clients to answer the following questions.
Channel your inquisitive nature, use this definitive client-interviewing guide, and delve into their minds.
1. Where Are You Heading?
Most business owners realize the journey from startup to sustained and accelerated growth is challenging and fairly unpredictable.
However, this doesn’t stop them from dreaming big and setting goals.
Talk to your client about their business-related ambitions.
Avoid the most annoying question that you’ve probably heard a million times while trying to get your first job (i.e., “Where do you see yourself five/ten years from now?) and get to the point.
- What are your client’s goals and what are the key points of interest they are focused on?
- Should the new content encourage an action, increase traffic, build authority in a certain industry, increase brand awareness, stimulate sales, or attract a new audience?
Each objective requires a unique approach.
2. Why Do You Actually Do What You Do?
Next, try to establish a deeper connection with your client on a more emotional level.
What motivates them to get out of bed in the morning? Why do they produce and sell napkins when they could do a million other things with their time and money?
Aim to discover the passion that fuels the daily actions of your client.
This will help you determine what types of values you should express through their content, not to mention give you the opportunity to adjust your writing style based on the information and vibe your client is sending you.
3. Who Will I Be Writing For?
Writing for the sake of writing is not a very productive strategy.
Your creative process should be directly influenced by the needs, demands, and expectations of your target audience. Who may be interested in what you have to say about someone else’s business?
Get in touch with the salespeople and ask them for important details related to the following aspects.
4. Get A Customer Profile
Are you trying to start a meaningful conversation with Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, or Gen Z?
Before putting pen to paper you should know your client’s target customers intimately.
A better understanding of your prospects’ demographics will help you determine what type of content marketing tactics could deliver the best results.
Next, start to analyze the relationship between the product, the seller, and the customer.
5. Get Product Or Service Specifics
How does your client’s product or service actually make a difference in their customers’ lives? What are its weak and strong points? What are the main attributes that enable it to outshine the competition?
6. Identify Customer Pain Points
What are the most common concerns/complaints that customers express after buying or testing your client’s product? How does your client respond to this feedback? What type of customer service policy do they embrace?
7. Can You Provide Access To Testimonials, Support Calls, And Service Or Product Reviews?
Testimonials, support calls, and product reviews are often overlooked by content marketers who are constantly striving to connect one or more concepts with real life, personal identity, the client’s mind, or other unrelated concepts.
They rely on curation, self-interest, case studies, and their own storytelling skills and end up neglecting the most important sources that actually indicate how the end consumer feels.
Read (good and bad) product reviews and testimonials, listen to support calls, or just profit from a quick chat with a member of the customer service team.
These resources offer you the strongest support in the battle with a mean case of writer’s block.
8. Who Are Your Main Competitors (And Why Should They Be Afraid Of You?)
In most industries, the competition is fierce.
By understanding the relationship between your client and their competitors, you’ll further familiarize yourself with the target market and find the most efficient marketing strategies to reach them.
After all, one person’s failure is another’s warning sign, and one person’s success is another’s inspiration.
By asking your client to reveal their competitive advantage, you actually encourage them to define their unique selling proposition, which you can highlight in your copy.
9. What Do You Want Your Content To Look And Sound Like?
Truth be told, it’s not always easy to get and stay on the same page with the people whose success depends on your copywriting skills.
Sure, you can churn out an endless list of blogs, press releases, onsite content, and articles, but making them engaging and relevant in the eyes of potential buyers is a completely different story.
How do you bridge this gap? You start by talking openly with your client and asking him the following questions, which will help you identify the right format and tone for the content you’ll be creating.
- What are the content goals you wish to achieve? (For instance: better brand awareness, boosted traffic from Google, improved conversion rates)
- What makes your ideal customer tick?
- Are there any specific formatting/posting rules you would like your content to follow?
- What are the areas and/or specific topics that should be frequently explored in your new content pieces?
- Are there any concepts we should avoid while crafting, publishing, and promoting your content?
- Do you have any additional multimedia needs? (For example, infographics or videos)
- What type of voice would be the best match for your brand, product, or service? (For instance, a youthful, fun voice would work best for a teen audience, while a professional voice would be more suitable for companies operating in the financial or tech sector)
10. Can You Use Five Descriptive Words To Define the Values You Want To Communicate About Your Company?
This is a fun exercise you should try towards the end of your interview.
These five words will help your client crystallize and convey the most important values their brand embraces, making it easier for you to include these important aspects in your copy.
Take These Steps & Rock It Out!
Onboarding a new client is both exciting and energy-consuming.
However, remember that the information you gather now will only help you create better content in the long run – the kind that accurately represents your client’s brand voice, mission, and vision as well as speaks to the hearts and minds of their ideal audience.
That kind of content is ultimately profitable content that grows a business.
Get to know your client now, ask the right questions, and you’ll build an invaluable knowledge bank that will help you help them better… not to mention ensure they remain happily invested in your services for the long term.
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