Key Questions for Content Marketing

Back in the last decade, I published a niche bridal magazine that included some content marketing pieces on topics that were of interest to the target audience. Those included recipes, makeup tips, and relationship advice, among others. However, two contrasting pieces stand out most vividly in my mind: one from a photographer, and the other from a hairstylist.

The photographer wrote about his own views and approaches toward his craft and illustrated his article with some of his pictures. All fine and good, but he was not happy with the results. He complained that it wasn’t working.

What wasn’t working? The article didn’t bring in droves of customers. It did, as he acknowledged, bring him recognition, as people told him that they saw his article. He could not separate marketing from sales and so didn’t consider the positive effect of building up his brand as valuable, as well.

The photographer’s disappointment formed a strong contrast to a hairstylist’s delight. She was thrilled with the response she got from the articles and ended up writing a series of articles with practical tips on maintenance, finding a flattering cut, and understanding the differences among the products available. Many women called her, seeking out her services, for they had learned to trust her as result of reading her advice.

Now how to account for the different experiences of the photographer and the hairstylist? Naturally, women tend to have their hair styled more often than they order a photographer’s services. Even a person who was really impressed by his article wouldn’t necessarily give him a job; there just may not have been an occasion coming up. But there was also a difference in the communication of the two pieces.

The photographer put the spotlight on himself in talking about what he does. The hairstylist put the spotlight on her readers by telling them what they can do. While some well-established brands are beloved enough to attract attention on the basis of their own stories, as in Lego’s 80th anniversary video (though note that even it begins with “you,”) those of us who do not have star status get more attention from giving readers information that relates directly to them.interesting-facts-about-legos-21312273

Engagement is what we’re all after, particularly when we publish online and hope to get likes, pluses, comments, and shares. When planning what to include in a piece intended to serve as content marketing consider: who, how, what, which, where, when, and why.

Who makes up your target audience?

How would they recognize that the piece would be of interest to them? That’s something to be taken into account in the title and platform selected.

What impression would they walk away with about your name in connection to the content?

Which visual elements would enhance your content? Would it benefit from photographs, videos, or drawings to illustrate your point?

Where do you publish it to reach your audience? Another consideration is where to link to it: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, on your blog, or maybe even on another’s blog. Is it in a format that lends itself to sharing?

When is the best time to publish this? Is it seasonal? Does it connect to something that is happening or trending? Some topics are evergreen, but you can sometimes catch more eyes by tying into something that people are already talking about. Just don’t insult your reader’s intelligence by putting in a connection in the title when none exists in the actual content.

Why would someone share this? Is it interesting, funny, or helpful enough to make them want to pass it on?

Put yourself in the shoes of your readers to answer these questions and then craft your content accordingly. What you’ll achieve is recognition, respect, and trust , all of which are key to building a relationship with potential customers.

Guest post by Ariella Brown

Ariella Brown writes on marketing, analytics, technology, the internet, and social media, among other things. She holds a PhD in English. Links to post appear at WriteWayProductions. She welcomes connections on LinkedIn and conversations at Google+.

 

Comments

  1. @Kristine Yes, engagement is not the product of just thinking about what you want to promote but of thinking about what will appeal to your audience! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  2. @Joy exactly, your target audience is not compelled to spend time on your posts unless you provide something they’ll find worth reading. Thanks for commenting!

  3. @Kath, I’m very glad you found it helpful and informative.

  4. Totally agree, Clay! “Winging it” works for a while, but eventually you realize that a plan works much better at keeping those ideas rolling. Those content gaps are really only noticeable if you’ve spent the time to study what the readers want and need, so winging it will often miss those gaps. Thanks for reminding us about that!

  5. Hi Ariella! I couldn’t agree with you more when you mentioned that engagement is a goal that we all want to be able to fulfill and it ultimately gauges our efficiency in content marketing. These key questions are critical in the process of generating the traffic we need for maximum exposure. Thanks for the salutary share!

  6. Frankly, every blogger should consider the fact that publishing an article and marketing your well thought-of content should somehow depend on the readers too. One should keep in mind that readers would want something new, unique, timely, and informative. Thanks for posting!

  7. Your article actually covered every topic that would come up in this subject. It’s really helpful and informative to amateurs like me.

  8. Stanley Rao says:

    SEO is the most important part for online marketing. So everyone should use this option by using proper ways. I’ve read your many article regarding this topic & found helpful information. sometimes many people claim that they can optimize their website within 7 days! so what do you think about it? please share your knowledge.

  9. Great ideas about how to keep your readers’ perspective in mind. One additional thought that most nonprofits struggle with is how to keep generating content consistently over time. Maintaining a schedule week after week and month after month can get old if you’ve not done a good job of planning and figuring out content gaps and who’s going to fill them tomorrow, next month, and next year.

    Good marketing is a long-distance, multisport event, not a single day dash.

  10. @Stanley, exactly! It’s very kind of you to comment. Your summation is spot on.

  11. Put yourself in the shoes of your readers to answer these questions and then craft your content accordingly. What you’ll achieve is recognition, respect, and trust , all of which are key to building a relationship with potential customers. Well said … Excellent and a useful post..

  12. SEO is the most important part for online marketing. So everyone should use this option by using proper ways. I’ve read your many article regarding this topic & found helpful information. sometimes many people claim that they can optimize their website within 7 days! so what do you think about it? please share your knowledge.

  13. Well from that point of view, I will never utilize notoriety for any of the corporate pages/sites I manage! :P Your links are bookmarked reading materials for me tonight.

    Thank you so much for your patience in answering my questions. I simply enjoy learning from those much more experienced in social media than I am.

    Jason

  14. @jsncruz I believe that notoriety works for certain brands in entertainment, which includes celebrities who prefer finding themselves in the headlines of tabloids to not being mentioned at all. However, there are clearly those who do not believe that there is no such thing as bad publicity. That was the starting point of the blog I wrote about the “Science: it’s a girl thing” video fiasco. http://www.internetevolution.com/author.asp?section_id=1402&doc_id=246469& Though the EU Commission’s first response was that it’s great to have everyone talking about its launch, they soon realized that it wasn’t the kind of attention they wanted and decided to pull the video. The same kind of thing happened when milk companies promoted its product as an antidote to PMS. The backlash was so strong that it ended the campaign early.

  15. Thank you so much for the quick reply! As much as possible, I include high-resolution images specifically targeted to my clients’ market/audience – for the most part, these works. I know videos are quite appealing as well in terms of increasing total reach, but unfortunately, most of the market/audience are on simple web-enabled mobile phones. This factor also determines my current strategy.

    In certain cases, would you recommend notoriety? And what would these be?

  16. @Robin, that’s exactly it. Though one would think that photographers are used to a behind-the-scenes role, some demand to be recognized as artists.

  17. Jsncruz, you’re most welcome. you hit on something that is worth exploring further: questioning the value of notoriety. Sometimes it is easier to become infamous than to become recognized for one’s merits, and many have chosen that route to gaining attention.
    With respect to “which,” once I started listing the questions, I thought of how various aspects could be categorized. As visual elements are a major factor in drawing attention to content, I decided to include planning for that aspect. I wanted to keep that distinct from the considerations I put under “what.”

  18. Many years ago I worked in a gallery selling photography and it astounded me how many small time photographers would place themselves front and center in much of the writing and discussion of the photographic exhibition. There were a little too many thinking they were the next Annie Leibovitz.

    The photographers that sold the most were always the ones that created back stories about the subjects of their photographs and let the images be front and center.

  19. Very helpful post! I use a version of the 5Ws and How when creating content plans as well, but I’ve never really explored the “Which”. That was quite interesting, and I’ll be sure to consider that in the future.

    Another factor which a lot of social media managers mistake for ‘good engagement’ are controversial contents. Sure, these get a lot of shares, maybe a ton of Likes should captions be quirky/satirical enough but in the end, there isn’t really any on-ground value for these. Almost like engagement fishing. There IS such a thing as bad publicity via content, and should be something content planners take into account.

    Thanks for this post! :)

    jsncruz

  20. Thanks, Doc. It’s interesting that you bring up that question of photo preference. I pass by a photographer’s studio nearly every day. Like many others do, he puts samples of his work in his window. Now, in some of them, clearly the star is the photographer himself rather than the subject. That is particularly noticeable in one shot that captures the reflection of a woman in a compact mirror on table covered with various cosmetics. He’s showing off that he went for the reflection and framing rather than the straight on portrait. However, the reflected image of the woman getting her makeup applied is very unflattering to her, making her nose look very prominent due to the angle. He also has some shots of couples in attractive outdoor settings where the background rather than the bride and groom become the real subject of the shot. It’s something for couples to consider: do they want the photographer to show off or show them off?

  21. Good stuff, Ariella! The subtleties of targeting the reader in the proper fashion are missed by many, and your example demonstrates the difference it can make very well. I think another aspect of the example that played a major part is the immediacy of the benefit offered to the readers, per the probable reason for their search.

    Certainly, every woman wants to have some dynamite photos of her wedding day to share and enjoy for years. But one has to wonder… if they had to choose between being breathtakingly beautiful in a photo album or at the altar, which would they be more likely to choose. I suspect the latter would be the hands-down favorite.

    That, I think, would further explain why the hairstylist’s side of the story would garner more interest. It addresses the more urgent aspect that probably brought most people to the piece to begin with… better to ensure the memorability of the occasion than the mementos.

Trackbacks

  1. More comments at Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/cteJWoJB

  2. RT @level343: Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/cteJWoJB

  3. RT @level343: Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/cteJWoJB

  4. Bo Woloshyn says:

    Key Questions for #ContentMarketing —> http://t.co/4DGHcm5M

  5. RT @level343: Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/cteJWoJB

  6. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/GiVy1zqI via @SEOcopy RT @denisewakeman:

  7. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/Obmatvam

  8. TimeForge says:

    RT @meghanmbiro: Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/WnNrd8cx via @SEOcopy

  9. Anise Smith says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/s3r2n2NO via @SEOcopy

  10. RT @douglasi: Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/6ArcdJ7V

  11. RT @douglasi: Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/6ArcdJ7V

  12. RT @douglasi: Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/6ArcdJ7V

  13. Nelson Wee says:

    Know your audience's needs > Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/cnKSfYBY via @SEOcopy @SmartBoyDesigns

  14. Nelson Wee says:

    Know your audience's needs > Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/cnKSfYBY via @SEOcopy @SmartBoyDesigns

  15. #contentmarketing Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/dl1ExCIq

  16. e1evation says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/hzEjaM9d

  17. Wayne Barker says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing >> http://t.co/XVl2e1Xo via @level343

  18. Fred Griffin says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/0WijMqLx #content #seo

  19. Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/VJOIFibQ

  20. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/7sdFpVPo via @AriellaBrown #contentmarketing #SMM #onlinemarketing #blogging #marketing

  21. @ariellabrown :) good morning Ariella enjoy your week :) Btw I love the engagement you're having on your last post http://t.co/pUhnao8E

  22. Wasim Ismail says:

    RT @level343: Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/fu5jr1bL

  23. Good thing I don't suffer from triskaidekaphobia, but do feel free to add a comment at f I were http://t.co/Kk4eH89K #ContentMarketing

  24. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/IEkwEhm1 via @SEOcopy

  25. gary leach says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/pPPugQ9C via @SEOcopy

  26. Carla Young says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/pPPugQ9C via @SEOcopy

  27. RT @level343: Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/u4zlEAcD

  28. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/k1xmsmTT RT
    @MartyMcPadden #Marketing #business #content

  29. RT @level343: Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/cteJWoJB

  30. RT @level343: Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/cteJWoJB

  31. RT @danielnewmanUV: Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/Gttc5jFd via @SEOcopy

  32. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/mBxhNsqu via @SEOcopy

  33. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/mBxhNsqu via @SEOcopy

  34. Key Questions for Content Marketing
    http://t.co/ls96BVw8

  35. Paul Wolfe says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/zrAHoD59 via @SEOcopy

  36. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/vhsuH7xd via @SEOcopy

  37. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/QsfPxsCV via @SEOcopy

  38. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/QsfPxsCV via @SEOcopy

  39. Patricia says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/3O7YlzdG via @SEOcopy

  40. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/D5AwqXEj via @SEOcopy

  41. Cecilia Lihv says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/RxcHp0C5 via @SEOcopy

  42. Christian says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/RxcHp0C5 via @SEOcopy

  43. Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/oAkH1zrf

  44. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/DM4G0KJE via @SEOcopy

  45. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/uxAHvski via @SEOcopy

  46. Level 343 – Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/KDFDLb1S

  47. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/D5AwqXEj via @SEOcopy

  48. LisaLadrido says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/D5AwqXEj via @SEOcopy

  49. LisaLadrido says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/D5AwqXEj via @SEOcopy

  50. Donna says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/djM1uX95 via @SEOcopy

  51. Donna says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/djM1uX95 via @SEOcopy

  52. Key Questions for #ContentMarketing – http://t.co/PZx1mTM9 via @level343

  53. Josh Smith says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/ZJAv7sfH

  54. bAnI says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/ZJAv7sfH

  55. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/ZJAv7sfH

  56. Michelle Kay says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/FHhOQOrQ via @SEOcopy

  57. PodJamTV says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/haum3t3q

  58. New Fresh Squeezed – Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/aZDlCs3i RT @level343 @AriellaBrown

  59. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/RQqZ5nhw via @SEOcopy

  60. Jason Ramsey says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/RQqZ5nhw via @SEOcopy

  61. GenuineSEO says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/QnyqnG58 via @SEOcopy

  62. GenuineSEO says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/QnyqnG58 via @SEOcopy

  63. GenuineSEO says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/QnyqnG58 via @SEOcopy

  64. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/lBxiMifM via @SEOcopy

  65. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/ykbIKUKi via @SEOcopy

  66. 6 Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/k1lcH9r4 via @SEOcopy @socialmouths

  67. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/e3LXN2jc via @SEOcopy

  68. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/e3LXN2jc via @SEOcopy

  69. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/Y5vWPAqT via @SEOcopy

  70. Nicola Zoppi says:

    RT @socialmouths: Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/mW1Z6fJ2 via @SEOcopy ^nz

  71. Larry Keltto says:

    RT @socialmouths: Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/0aTipxTo via @SEOcopy

  72. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/Y5vWPAqT via @SEOcopy

  73. Jason Houck says:

    RT @thinknewmedia: Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/qnVp13TN via @SEOcopy

  74. Joe Prasad says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/F4BQ1Yzy via @SEOcopy

  75. Key Questions for Content #Marketing http://t.co/hBPmfYrx via @SEOcopy RT @jamiecrager – great stuff!

  76. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/dpJiAHtR via @SEOcopy

  77. Tibor Shanto says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/nczTKVME via @SEOcopy

  78. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/Zldyp0Yp via @SEOcopy

  79. My guest blog post @level343: Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/cteJWoJB

  80. Sean Charles says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/NQ5OVgDY via @SEOcopy

  81. kybunnies says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/AWdw3YGi via @SEOcopy

  82. SEO News says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/ZF5yqcnP

  83. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/Zldyp0Yp via @SEOcopy

  84. Amit Verma says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/5YmtmUfH via @SEOcopy

  85. Tobey Deys says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/1Gz1FtN8 via @SEOcopy

  86. Kathi Kruse says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/wKFbOciM via @SEOcopy

  87. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/O7ChqINa via @SEOcopy

  88. davidheld says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/5t7w10Uo via @newspin

  89. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/5t7w10Uo via @newspin

  90. Key Questions for Content Marketing – Categories:Content DevelopmentOnline MarketingTags: Building RelationshipsBack… http://t.co/VtHPZguk

  91. RT @level343: Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/0MfnsqBr

  92. Megan Leap says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/aRr9xDKn via @SEOcopy

  93. Adam justice says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/WKuVzase via @SEOcopy

  94. Kary Delaria says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/zaBuJmwb via @SEOcopy

  95. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/2llvMqmL via @SEOcopy

  96. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/BOShN9SK via @SEOcopy

  97. Laura Crest says:

    RT @level343: Key Questions for Content Marketing #Building Relationships http://t.co/eYkKjRT0

  98. MeetuSinghal says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/TBx8gM0C via @SEOcopy

  99. Good post ~ RT @masqcrew: Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/mLSBc8xt via @SEOcopy

  100. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/aHkZYB8Y via @SEOcopy

  101. Danny Iny says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/iG9TUcyg via @SEOcopy

  102. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/VQyAlqRu via @SEOcopy

  103. Jeff Jacobs says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/DQ02Xqyl via @SEOcopy

  104. Nancy Nardin says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/95Rhyd6v via @SEOcopy

  105. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/GL3EkpBi via @SEOcopy

  106. iggy pintado says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/0ehEj9MW via @SEOcopy

  107. Tami Smith says:

    New Fresh Squeezed – Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/RoPg0RWS | Thanks @AriellaBrown

  108. Paul Morin says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/incEkkRs via @SEOcopy

  109. Jamie Crager says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/iGEPthI3 via @SEOcopy

  110. DocSheldon says:

    Good stuff from @AriellaBrown via @level343 Key Questions for Content Marketing – http://t.co/FgDzIxWC

  111. New Fresh Squeezed – Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/RoPg0RWS | Thanks @AriellaBrown

  112. New Fresh Squeezed – Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/RoPg0RWS | Thanks @AriellaBrown

  113. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/Zrmn2evh via @SEOcopy
    @MelissaOnline

  114. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/p2hRo7CJ via @SEOcopy

  115. Khadim says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/czxKHZhg via @SEOcopy

  116. RT @seocopy: New Fresh Squeezed – Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/JchvwKZF | Thanks @AriellaBrown

  117. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/BDfcDU9k via @SEOcopy

  118. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/igbHyeaZ via @SEOcopy

  119. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/2y9rewJb via @SEOcopy

  120. Misty Waters says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/yFP7Lv8c via @SEOcopy

  121. Luca Spoldi says:

    New Fresh Squeezed – Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/Obmatvam | Thanks @AriellaBrown

  122. New Fresh Squeezed – Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/Obmatvam | Thanks @AriellaBrown

  123. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/KEMVx75I | via @SEOcopy

  124. A.R.Karthick says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/KEMVx75I | via @SEOcopy

  125. Hieu Tran says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/T1CdYqzc via @SEOcopy

  126. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/yPJwJND5 #dc #seo

  127. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/T1CdYqzc via @SEOcopy

  128. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/lgNS1EsY :: @web-designs.gr

  129. Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/EKMqveXV

  130. Thomas says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/0zMnoOq2 via @SEOcopy

  131. RT @SEOcopy Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/5EMewL3Q

  132. David Harry says:

    RT @SEOcopy Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/5EMewL3Q

  133. Ana Hoffman says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/59iTYNAw via @SEOCopy

  134. RT @SEOcopy Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/zxxTcD2X

  135. Key Questions for Content Marketing: Back in the last decade, I published a niche bridal magazine … http://t.co/sbbs6eM9 via @level343

  136. Rich Austin says:

    Key Questions for Content Marketing http://t.co/7JSEuIW4

Speak Your Mind

*