Want to get started with content marketing? First, know yourself

Who are you and what do you have to say? And more importantly, why should anyone listen?

Publishing good-quality content can be difficult, but with the right tools, you can be more prolific than Stephen King… and know your audience just as well, too.

So how do you get started? Should you draft a newsletter and blast it out to your list? Create a website using a drag-and-drop builder? Open branded accounts on every social media platform you can think of? Buy a camera that makes great videos?

Maybe. But not yet. While you will need to take some of those steps eventually, it’s important to establish a few things first. From there, you’ll be able to determine what kind of content you should create and where it should be posted to reach the audience you want to reach.

In this post, I will focus on you and your company. Wait! Don’t close this window! 😉 It might sound elementary, but it’s integral to creating a content plan that truly reflects your organization and your goals.

Who Are You?

This may come off as an existential question that you can spend a lifetime trying to answer, but we’re going to parse it down into a couple of sentences that can easily be shared on an elevator.

If you already have a mission statement, kudos! Check that it states the following things and then cross this item off your list. If not, grab your favorite writing utensil or open a blank Word doc and let’s get brainstorming.

The questions we really want to answer here is:

  • “Why does my business exist?” Focus on what you do, who you serve, how you differentiate yourself, and how you create value for your customers.
  • Where Are You Going? Where do you think your company will be in 5 years? Where do you fit, or how will you affect the industry you live in?

Focus on that image. Now, how do you get from where you are now to where you want to be?

Those goals can help you better pinpoint where your content should lead you. For example, if you aim to become the leading retailer of fitness wearables, you don’t just need to share the specs on your products. To carve that niche for yourself, you need to show the value of fitness wearables and help your customers understand how the use of fitness wearables can benefit their lifestyles, make them healthier, and transform the way they see exercise.

That may mean sponsoring “Biggest Loser” contests, sharing inspiring fitness videos, or highlighting the medical benefits of wearing a fitness tracker in an infographic.

What’s Your Problem?

We’re getting closer to a content plan, can you feel it? Now that we know why your business exists and what your goals are, it’s time to focus on how you serve your customers.

What is the problem that you’re solving for your customers?

Do you provide organic doggie treats for eco-conscious pet owners worried about the ingredients in Fido or Fluffy’s food? Are you a computer tech that makes house calls for busy professionals?

When you know the problem you are solving for your customers and why you are the best person to solve that problem, you can create content that answers the questions that customers and clients have. This will position you as a valuable resource before you even sell them anything.

Content that your target audience actually wants to read can drive traffic to your website, positively reflect on your brand, and help you create authority within your industry or field. That’s win, win, win.

If you want to dig deeper into how content marketing can help you reach more customers and grow your business, check out our book, Spark Your Content.

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