Content Marketing 101: Using Questions to Create Consistent Content

By Pamela Muldoon, Next Stage Media Group

Implementing a solid content marketing plan for you small business can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you come up with fresh and consistent content for your audience?

Often the best way to answer the most overwhelming of marketing questions, is to start with a different set of questions. By getting to the questions that our target audience has about your industry, product, services, and business, you will find that you have more content than you can possibly complete in a full year.

Let’s walk through an example. Bob is the owner of a fine jewelry store. This jewelry store is a small, local, business that has been in his family for three generations. Bob is preparing his 2013 content marketing plan, but wants to ensure he can produce fresh, consistent content on each of the content marketing platforms he is participating. First step for Bob is to start with a list of questions:

  • What are the seasonal conversations and events for your business or industry?

As a jeweler, seasons are critical to meet sales and revenue objectives. Jewelry is a high value gift item for many of the holiday seasons on the calendar. Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day.  

  • What does your target audience need to know about your product(s) based on time of year?

Purchasing jewelry as a gift or even to “pop the question” often requires some answers to consumer questions well in advance of the actual gift-giving day. Bob is the jewelry expert.  He will know how far in advance his prospective customer will be seeking information on his/her jewelry purchase.  Providing answers, advice, information and education through various content marketing platforms when the consumer is searching is key for this type of marketing to be effective. 

  • What questions do the customers of your industry have that will improve their current situation?

Bob is selling a solution, not just jewelry. It doesn’t matter if you are business-to-business or business-to-consumer with your product/services. You have to outline what it is you solve for your target audience. Often, your consumer’s problems fall into one or more of the following categories: Time, Money & People. Bob needs to get past that he is selling diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. He’s really providing more time to the consumer who wants to use the internet to gather information before he buys.  He is selling the cost savings of better understanding the difference between cut, clarity and carats.  Bob is selling the solution of how to make someone feel special on their graduation day or Mother’s Day. 

  •  What else does your target audience spend money on throughout the year?

Bob sells fine jewelry. His target audience is in a specific income bracket, lives in specific areas of his city and purchases other products and services to match their lifestyle. Bob has the opportunity to show his consumers that he understands they are three dimensional people with lives outside of the ability to purchase fine jewelry from his store. By listing out the other products/services your target audience connects with, you also are beginning the list of possible guest bloggers and strategic partners. 

Now let’s pull this all together for Bob and come up with specific content titles for his blog that could be developed in quarter one of 2013. Let’s say Bob is going to set his blogging benchmark at one blog post per week. That is just 13 blog ideas for the entire quarter.

January

  • Choosing The Right Gem For The New Year
  • Understanding Diamond Cut & Clarity
  • Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas
  • Employee Spotlight: (highlight a member of the family business)
  • Strategic Partner Guest Blog

 

February

  • Choosing The Right Jewelry For Bridal Party Gifts
  • Understanding The Different Shades of Sapphire Blue
  • 10 Jewelry Gift Ideas For The Man In Your Life
  • Jewelry Item of The Month (showcase a piece of jewelry using images, information/details, gift ideas with the piece)
     

March

  • 7 Jewelry Cleaning Tips
  • St. Patrick’s Day Gift Ideas
  • Does Size Matter? Breaking Down What You Need To Know About Carats
  • This Day In History: (Share a historic moment in the family business)

 

By getting to the heart of what your target audience really needs from you, the content ideas will start to flow easily.  Using the seasonal approach provides a nice framework and one that regardless of industry can work to outline some great content ideas. 

Now it’s your turn. List out the questions that your audience has about you, your business and your industry. By doing this, you will find that the answer has always been in the room with you all along, you just weren’t asking the right questions!


Pamela Muldoon is Principal of Next Stage Media Group and the Host of Content Marketing 360 Radio Show. Follow Pamela at @pamelamuldoon.

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