November 11, 2014

It’s easy to sit down and come up with a content strategy that looks great on paper. You’ll get to know your client; you’ll get to know your audience. You’ve laid out a few guidelines and you’re clued in to what’s going to make the client happy and get the job done well.

But these are the steps you’ve taken time and again, and not only have results been slow, but you’re finding your content to be more and more stagnant as time goes on.
So how exactly do you kick it up a little and make things more exciting for the reader (and yourself)?

Do Some Unorthodox Digging

We’ve touted research before, but let’s visit the concept again. Research begins where demographics end. Demographic data is important, but now you need to dig deep into the industry on which you’re focusing. Sure, this sounds easy enough, but a lot of the time, it takes a lot of tedious but essential work.

Remember how you’re creating original content? Exactly – you might be creating the only content about that topic that exists.

Sometimes the research you have to dig into is a bit of that old fashioned kind. Move beyond similar posts or similar companies and search content about your topic in different spaces. The helpful and unique sources you encounter will only help to make your content that much more helpful and unique.

Brochures, company PDFs and presentations, company videos, speeches, how-to lessons, even forums can provide information and insight that similar blog posts or articles can never get you.

Of course, if time and budget allows you to interview your client for firsthand knowledge, go that direction, as well. Firsthand knowledge will never let you down.

What About Industries You Know Nothing About?

Say you’re a mom of two and you live in a three-bedroom house in the suburbs. You are a driven, right-brained creative with an interest in design.

You create content for a company that reaches out to young, creative women and leads readers forward with ideas for design, crafts and life with kids. You love creating content about seasonal trends and you’ve got an eye for what your audience loves because, well, you are that audience.

But how often does such a streamlined writer/audience parallel occur?

Naturally, you know you can’t always write about what you love. As a content marketer, sometimes you’re sharing information with others that you’ve only known for a day or two – but you do it in such a way that makes you or your client’s business appear to others as an authority of that topic.

So how do you actually become an authority on a topic you’ve never encountered?

One of the ways to dig deep within an industry is not only to get to know the people in it but to see how those people are using the internet. Say you’re the above mom of two, and you have to create content for an industry that produces electrical parts for cars.

There’s plenty of research out there, but you need to know who’s searching for those electrical parts – what his job is, where he lives, what types of things he’s searching for online and what his interests and hobbies are.
Now, look at the industry and who it is specifically targeting. Look at your company, and find out bits of information like the following:

  • Online competitors
  • Targeted market
  • Un-targeted market (who can YOU target?)
  • Wholesale clients (auto shops, manufacturers)
  • Company history
  • Company policies
  • Company offerings

Chances are, you’ve already been given this information as a content creator. But don’t set it aside. This information will help you realize exactly what type of content to produce.
It is important to understand the target personas and brand voice of your client or company. These are details that keep your content fresh, new and exciting.

Determining The Best Types of Content

Now that you’ve determined the different types of personas you want to reach out to and are working with solid market research, it is time to determine the type of content you want to produce.

Are they blog posts, infographics, photographic case studies, commercials, GIFs or videos? Is it a combination of blog posts, infographics and videos?

What types of content do you find your targeted personas would be most likely to engage with? Once you’ve decided upon what types of content to create, it’s time to go back to that research. Remember – dig deep into unique research that will help to support unique content for you to create.

Hopefully it’s not just you as the content creator researching the personas you need. But as a writer or designer, you know the importance of seeing the details of your audience – it gives you what verbiage to use, design elements to support, colors to share, types of content to create and social sites to utilize to get the best of your outreach.

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