The Secret To A Winning Content Marketing Strategy? Just Ask.
How do you create content that resonates with your audience? Columnist Rachel Lindteigen says it's all about listening to your customers to know what they really need.
It seems like everyone is suddenly focused on content marketing — content, content, content — but many are producing content that their audience really doesn’t care about. How do you step in front of the rest and create content that matters to your customers?
Do you know who your customers are? You probably have a good idea of your target market and demographics, but do you know what they need? Do you know why they come to your website, visit your stores or interact with your brand on social media?
If not, it’s okay — sadly, you’re probably not alone. However, it’s time to make a change.
In order to craft content that’s really useful to your audience, you need to know who they are and what information they need. You can provide what you think they need every day for years on end and have no engagement if it’s not interesting or useful to them.
So how can you find out what’s interesting to your customers and understand their needs to deliver content they’ll read?
It’s pretty easy, really. Ask them. Yeah, really… That’s the secret.
There are a couple ways you can work to find out what will hopefully resonate with your audience. The first option is to just ask them outright.
Talk To Your Customer Service Reps
Do you listen, I mean really listen, to your customers? Have you spoken with your customer service reps to see why they get calls every day?
If you have a customer service team, they should be a huge part of your research process, because they’re hearing from your customers all day, every day. It’s the same thing if you’ve got salespeople in stores; they know your customers and their needs better than you do.
No survey or data point on a piece of paper can tell you the story as clearly as the customers themselves. While survey data is great, it’s not the same as talking to the customer directly. They’ll likely be more forthcoming in person than via survey.
Spend a day with your customer service reps — ask to work in the call center or on the sales floor; do a ride-along with a service technician; do whatever you can to be closer to your customers and find out what they’re asking about daily.
The call center reps can probably tell you why people call the most often. Take that information and create a list of common themes.
- Are they calling about sizing on a specific product?
- Do they return items that didn’t work for some reason?
- Are they not sure how to install the new item they bought from you?
- Do they want a coupon for your product?
- Do they need help making a decision between two items?
Create Content Your Audience Wants
You can use all those questions to help create content your customers will find helpful, because they’ve told you this is what they need to know. This is what they want from you.
For the customer who calls to find out about the sizing on a particular product, is this a common issue? Do people buy several sizes and return them, or does your sizing run different from other brands?
If you have sizing that’s non-standard or you’re seeing that people are returning items due to sizing issues, there are several things you could do to provide helpful information via content. You could add information to the product description page that outlines how your item fits differently from most and help people find the right size via a sizing guide.
If your product is one that’s tough to fit, then sizing guides may not be enough. Maybe you need to create videos that show your customers how to take their measurements, or even a competitor sizing comparison guide.
Some websites will include information on competitor sizing so, for example, if a consumer wears a large in brand X, they’ll know they need a medium for a shirt with brand Y.
Ask your customer service reps which questions the customers call in to ask. Ask them what they think would help the customers or where on the website you can direct people to find answers to their questions.
They’ve likely tried to answer these questions many times and can help you come up with the right tactic for your content pieces.
By simply asking your customer service reps or talking to your consumers, you’ve found questions that need to be answered, and when you do that, you’re creating content that will be used.
Your customers will reward you by returning to your site, spending more time there, reading more of your content, and ideally, finding you to be a great resource so that you stay top of mind. And when they’re ready to buy, they come back because they feel confident you can help.
When you spend some time trying to understand what they need, rather than just creating the content that you think they need, you’ll be more successful. Listen to your customers — they’ll help you craft the right content marketing strategy every time.
This doesn’t have to be really hard. A good content marketing strategy is one that consistently creates content that your audience wants.
Why guess, when they’re willing to tell you what they need? That’s the secret… It’s not really a big secret, when you think about it, but it’s being missed by so many content marketers today.
Stop trying to push what you want at your customer, and instead provide what they’re asking for — and for that you’ll be rewarded.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.