An organization’s purpose for creating content often starts with outcomes important to the organization itself; search visibility, site traffic and inquiries.
Fair enough, everyone wants to be able to impact metrics with marketing activities. However, it’s easy to become so focused on metrics and forget what the audience wants.
Let me give you an example. I have been frequenting a well-known Italian restaurant for years to get my hands on a beloved dish of chicken, artichokes, pasta and spicy red pepper. Delicious! I nestled into a booth one evening – stomach growling – only to find that it had been taken off the menu. Totally bummed, I ordered something else with much less satisfaction.
Thankfully, the next time I visited I was brave enough to ask for it and they delivered. And since they have been very accommodating and have continued to let me order it anyway. Each time I order it the server always says, ‘sure – that’s everyone’s favorite and we get requests for it all the time’.
The pasta-lover and marketer inside me wants to roll my eyes. If everyone loves it, why isn’t it back on the menu?
The art of success, whether it’s creating recipes or well-crafted content, boils down to understanding your audience. If you are creating content that helps your audience learn and solve problems, you are more likely to grab their attention, and in turn, their engagement.
To get at what customers want, try asking them. You will be surprised what you might find and how the following three questions can help you to start gathering content marketing ideas to ensure you are leaving them full and satisfied:
- How Can We Be Better?
It may be scary to open yourself up to this question, but it’s better to be in-the-know than flying blind. For all you know, your customer’s think you’re great but wish you would add a certain feature or offering. Asking can not only make your services better, but can guide your content as well.Added bonus, this can also address future offerings which may be important to prospects evaluating you against a competitor.
- How Would You Describe Us to a Friend or Colleague?
This question can help you identify how customers perceive you. This can be an enlightening question for companies who offer multiple products and services.
Do customers identify with and understand your breadth of offerings or do they only report back about the services they use? For example, let’s pretend you own a company that offers cleaning services to both business and residential customers. Are business customers aware that you can also help them at home and vice versa?
If the results show that they don’t, this can help you create content, campaigns and maybe even specials to help current customers sign up for additional services.
3. What’s On Your Must-Read List?
Knowing what industry outlets, blogs or magazines your audience turns to for information is important to know. The content they are consuming can inform what they view as important and help you understand the information they may be using to make decisions.
Here’s how you can use this information to better your content:
- Thought Leaders – If your audience is reading industry thought leaders, it may make sense for you to partner with them so your audience can see both of you within the same content. Credibility Builder, why yes!
- Competitors – Whether we like it or not, it happens. Customer loyalty isn’t always as pervasive as we may like. Perhaps they are turning to the competitor for information on services you don’t provide, because they publish more frequently or maybe they are funny where we are dry and not providing infotainment. Whatever the reason, it’s better to know and adjust.
- Topics & Trends – If there’s a theme to the type of content your audience is consuming, it may be an indicator of what’s important to them now and in the future. For example, if several respondents indicate they are reading a blog about Big Data then you can get a feel for topics that are important and determine if it makes sense to create content indicating how your organization fits into the topic.
By reaching out and asking customers questions, we can gain insight to information that’s available nowhere else and can effectively inform your content strategy.
What else would you ask your customers in order to strengthen your content marketing? Share it below in a comment!
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