Content marketing is a great way to build your brand’s credibility, reputation, and public relations; to develop your website to continually improve user experience, boost SEO and search engine rankings, and add value; and to generate more leads and sales. It’s also useful for gaining insights into your target market’s buyer persona to help in all aspects of your marketing and operations.
As with any marketing campaign, to be successful, content marketing needs tangible goals, a defined strategy for reaching them, ways to measure progress, and flexibility to adapt to the results—or lack thereof. A big part of the strategy is determining what the content you create and share should be about (this also holds true with social media marketing, as does the advice that follows).
What Your Content Should Do
Before getting into incorporating the right perspective into content marketing, it’s important to know the content’s purpose. By the way, content is often blog posts or articles, but it can also be videos, images, lists, infographics, e-books, newsletters, podcasts, or any other medium that conveys information.
Your content should appeal to your target market. They should want to read it, share it, and come back for more. That means it needs to be well crafted, relevant, accurate, and engaging. It must provide something they’re looking for, whether it’s how-to information, entertainment, inspiration, motivation, or anything else.
The Obvious Content Isn’t Always the Best Content
So many businesses miss the mark when they exclusively create and share content that’s very narrowly associated with their industry. While that’s a key part of building up brand authority and improving SEO, it’s not enough; it’s just a small piece of an effective strategy, inadequate because it’s not looking at things through the audience’s eyes.
The best way to illustrate is with an example. Let’s use a type of company many people would think doesn’t have much potential for content marketing: a lawn maintenance and landscaping service.
The usual instinct would be to fill their website (and social media pages) with post after post providing information about lawn maintenance and landscaping… all sorts of how-tos for growing greener grass, getting rid of weeds and pests without harming the vegetables or the dog, stuff about types of flowers and shrubs that work well in the climate, designing attractive rock gardens, and so on and so forth.
Good to know, and if it’s well written, it makes them look like experts, and generous ones to share their knowledge and experience.
Here’s the thing, though:
This company’s potential customers don’t want to do their own lawn maintenance and landscaping. They want to pay professionals to do it for them. They either don’t have the time, the desire, or the ability to do it themselves. So how useful is all that content going to be?
It’ll be great for people who like to do all their own gardening and yard work. But they aren’t hiring this company. The fans this business earns with its content aren’t going to yield any revenue. Failure to consider the target market’s perspective means this landscaper puts resources into something that won’t ever show an ROI.
This is one major reason so many brands get frustrated with content marketing and write it off as a waste of time and money.
Content from the Audience’s Perspective
What if the folks at our fictitious company put themselves in their target audience’s shoes? What do they know and what can they assume about their potential customers? For example:
These people obviously care about their home’s curb appeal and appearance. It’s probably safe to assume they want the inside to look its best too, and there are worlds of content there. It’s likely a large chunk of them are also interested in protecting and enhancing their home’s value. Again, no shortage of content possibilities there. If they can’t tend to their yards because they’re too busy, they might like tips on increasing productivity or making the most of family time.
It goes on and on. Sure, not every piece of content will speak directly to everyone, but over time, you can build up a respectable library of content that provides real value to your target market. And because of it, they’ll follow you, they’ll send others your way, and they’ll get in touch when they need what you’re selling.
So… what does your potential customer want content about?