In Part 1 of the Content Marketing for Building Brands series, you learned what content marketing is and why it’s important to your brand and business. Now, it’s time to learn how to research content ideas and create that content. As you read Part 2, keep in mind that quality always trumps quantity in all aspects of content marketing for achieving long-term, sustainable, and organic brand and business growth.
Researching Content Ideas
One of the biggest challenges businesses face when it comes to content marketing is coming up with content ideas. What should a company write about on a blog or Twitter profile?
The answer to that question is easy. The content you publish should match what your audience wants and needs from your brand and business. The trick is finding out what your target audiences wants to hear from you. That’s where research comes into the picture.
First, you should spend a lot of time consuming content, particularly content published by your competitors and related to your industry. Listen to the conversations happening about that content, and identify the topics that get people talking or satisfy their needs. Take some time to branch out beyond your industry, too. You can get some great content ideas from other industries. Don’t re-invent the wheel. Instead, focus on what the content marketing efforts of other companies can teach you.
Your goal should always be to publish useful, meaningful, and shareworthy content. Make sure the content is varied enough to keep people interested without straying too far from your brand promise. For example, if yours is a luxury brand, publishing content with coupon clipping tips doesn’t match your brand promise. Therefore, that content won’t attract your target audience nor will it interest your existing audience. In fact, that content will probably confuse your target audience and do more harm than good to your brand.
Passively watching what other companies are doing is just a small part of the research you should conduct to come up with content ideas that will attract and interest your target audience. You should also conduct some research to find out what kind of content your audience wants from you. Survey both your existing customers and a consumer panel of prospective customers asking them what kind of content they want from you. Use ranking questions as well as open-ended questions to get a clear picture of what your content team should focus on creating.
Remember, many consumers don’t know what they want from the content brands publish. Use analogies and stories to draw out underlying interests. For example, ask survey respondents to imagine they met your brand at a party and had to speak with the brand for 10 minutes. What would they want the brand to talk to them about? Get creative and you’ll get more insightful content ideas from your research participants.
Types of Content
Once you understand the type of information your audience would be most receptive to, it’s time to start creating and publishing that content. There are many options for turning content ideas into content marketing pieces. Following are 15 ways you can publish content online to get in front of diverse audiences who like to consume content in different ways:
- Blog posts
- Twitter updates
- YouTube videos
- Flickr images
- SlideShare presentations
- Facebook updates
- LinkedIn updates
- Pinterest pins
- White papers
- Answers to questions on LinkedIn Answers and Quora
For example, if your research shows that your target audience wants tutorials showing them how to use your product in specific ways, you can create and offer content related to that idea in multiple ways. Write a blog post tutorial, create a SlideShare presentation, and hold a webinar. There are many ways you can present that information to meet your audiences’ wants and needs.
Your goal should be to create a wide variety of original, high-quality content, but you can repurpose that content for different websites and media to get it in front of broader audiences. As you learned in Part 1 of the Content Marketing for Brand Building series, not everyone likes to consume content in the same ways. Diversification of quality content is essential to successfully growing your business with content marketing.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Content Marketing for Brand Building series where you’ll learn how to use your research results as content. In the meantime, if you missed Part 1 of the series, follow the link to learn what content marketing is and how it can help your brand and business.