Content solves a problem. So, what type of problem are you trying to help people solve?
Assuming you know your target audience, have well-defined buyer personas, a buying journey, and current content mapped to the journey, how do you know what to create? Because it needs to be meaningful to the person reading the content (not you).
The obvious answer for what to create is “whatever is missing from the content-to-buyer-journey mapping exercise.” But sometimes that isn’t so obvious. In fact, that requires having the other points (target audience identified, personas, buying journey, etc.) completed first and that can be overwhelming if you’re just getting started. So, while you make a plan to get started with an official content marketing strategy, here are 7 ideas for determining what type of content to create.
1. Gather searcher behavior data
For your own site (as applicable) or via search engine queries, learn what people are searching for as it relates to the solution you sell. What are people searching for? What terms are they using? Does it marry up with what you’re offering on your site? In other words, if you sell party supplies and can tell that people are searching for “balloon sizes,” but while you list a size per each SKU, you don’t currently have one place for all the sizes, this may be an opportunity for you to create content depicting the size ranges in one location. (Think a pictograph or matrix.)
2. Gather site traffic data
Where do people tend to hang out most on your site? Can you tell what they’re taking the time to read based on the amount of time spent in that location? Is a particular blog post heavily visited? A video? A landing page?
3. Determine your most downloaded content
If you own a garden center and your most popular download is a pdf of a companion planting chart for veggies, you can make more content by branching out to a video, an infographic, blog posts, etc. Or, if you sell software as a service (SAAS) and can see that a particular white paper is popular, consider a podcast, webinar, vlog, etc.
4. Gather info from your public-facing support teams
What repeat questions are you getting in customer service/tech support/front desk/email inquiries? Can you solve this problem with content to ease the user experience and help to retain this customer? Maybe you need an extra touch point to reinforce credentials, prompt a desired behavior or help to get the person started with your new product or service.
5. Listen to your social media channels
Are people praising your services? Airing a frustration publicly? Both of these are opportunities. If you see praise, you can collect these for testimonials. If they are negative, it’s an opportunity to better understand the user experience and learn how the situation can be avoided in the future and whether content might help to solve the problem. Would clearer instructions be helpful? A simpler explanation of “the fine print?” (In either case, don’t just listen, respond!)
In addition, post questions via social media and the answers you get will shed light. For example, if you own a yoga studio, you could ask, “What is your favorite posture and why?” Or, “Send us a picture of you in your favorite posture and we’ll feature one a month on our blog.”
6. Survey customers and prospective customers
This could be as easy as putting out a call for topics for the blog, “What do you want us to blog about next month? Submit your ideas below and we’ll pick the most requested topic.” What’s great about that is you not only have one post outlined for the next month but you also have (likely) several good ideas of more content to produce as well as a better understanding of your audience.
7. Tie a current news event to your product/service
Also called newsjacking, this is a timely, relevant way to tie your solution to something bigger, something trending. Do you sell a product that could help people during a major weather event? Do you sell chocolate pudding and understand the tie to The Walking Dead?
Make sure you’re creating content that solves a problem and that your prospects and customer want. You can do this by gathering data and listening to the voices of your customers and prospective customers, all the while gaining a better understanding of them to better serve them in the future.