When a company decides to engage in content marketing, one of the first questions – if not the first – is “what content do we share?” It’s a common question, and in fact it’s a very appropriate question to ask. You want to share content that is appropriate for your business, your model, your audience, and your goals. First, you determine and agree on your specific goals for content marketing, and then you can decide what kind of content you want to publish. Here are five simple categories that can help guide your content marketing strategy.
- Teach something – The easiest way to bring simple value to any reading audience through a blog is to teach the audience how to do something they didn’t already know how to do. The range here is massive, but you must apply the “something” to your specific business model. A great example is Salesloft, who, while building their product, actively taught the sales development process to its audience. When Salesloft was ready to launch its product – Prospector – they already had a huge audience of rainmakers who had been devouring Kyle Porter’s lessons on how to more effectively generate leads and move them through using sales development and predictable revenue. It helped a lot that Salesloft was and still is eating its own dog food. The bottom line for teaching something through your content is that you are establishing yourself as an expert who can be trusted, so your product / service will be trusted.
- Tell the story – When a prospect or client understands where you came from, they can relate to your experience in getting to where you are today, how you got there, and why you are qualified to do X, Y, or Z for them. How often do we get the thrill of learning “the rest of the story” after a startup has failed or exited. Why don’t companies share their story along the way? Doing so can build trust of current clients and interest from new clients. People relate to your story, your failures, your obstacles that you overcame along the way, because they’ve likely been there before, too.
- Share customer successes – You don’t have to name your customers, and you should not do so without their explicit, express, written permission to do so; however, you can describe the situation in detail without revealing your customer’s identity. What was their problem? Why did they come to you to solve it? (cross over to telling your story and teaching something of value) How did you solve their problem? What did you learn in the process, and why is this learning now so valuable to every other new client that comes through the door? Hint: if the problem is a big nasty one, and every other company in their space has the same problem, guess what? You just won over an industry! Well done.
- Promote your team – In any startup, the team building the product and/or service is the most important part of the equation. Early investors are not investing in your product, because you don’t have one. They’re investing in your team. Similarly, early adopters & customers are going to trust your team and its vast knowledge of your domain to get the job done. Tell everyone who your team is! Yes, you can have a “Meet our team” page, but why not do a fun blog post on each team member? ATV’s “member of the month” videos are a great example of promoting the team, or in that case, their community.
- Give a little – Give a little bit of your product / service / IP away for free. For example, at CWNP, we had a database of thousands of practice test questions. Each day, we would post a question of the day to the forums, twitter, and other social outlets. We sold access to our practice tests for $50, but we gave away one question a day. Also, we captured small portions of our LIVE training classes on video, and shared 2-3 minute pieces of those videos, promoting the class itself, the instructor, the training provider, and teaching our community one little nugget of Wi-Fi goodness. You can do the same thing. Your company knows something that nobody else knows or that everybody else wants to know. Teach it!
You may have one, two, or all five of these types of content in your brain. You really do already have all this content, and you need to share it through your blog as the most efficient and effective marketing tool you have. The challenge that you have is getting it out of your brain and out to your target audiences. There’s a process for that, too, and we covered it in a previous post. Once you determine which types of content you have and can share, you’ll develop a rhythm for not only sharing this content, but capturing it by default, so you’ll always have great content to drive engagement.