Assembling a content strategy will inevitably entail some trial-and-error, however, there is a number of tactics that you can apply to avoid error and decrease the attempts to success.
Content Marketing is increasingly growing and is one of the most important tools for Inbound Marketing, but it isn't effective if it doesn't reach anyone. For your content to help someone, and especially to help your prospects, it should be relevant and answer your potential customers' questions. How? Don't worry, it doesn't involve mind reading...
If you want to know what your prospects are thinking and searching for online, you will have to talk less and listen more. Where is your target audience? Forums? Social networks? Online Groups? Find them and get into the conversation, listen carefully to their questions and concerns and develop your content strategy around those topics.
Is your market still expanding? Probably there aren't yet any spaces where people discuss interests and needs related to your area, so create one! Start a group on a social network or a forum page on your website. This will not only start the buzz and raise awareness around your product or service, but also place your brand as a leader in your area.
#2 Spy on your competition
Who are your direct competitors? Are they performing better online than your brand? Are you being more successful at achieving your business goals? Do a detailed research on the social networks of your direct competition, observe the communication standards and analyze the best and worst results. Trial-and-error is intrinsic to the content strategy, but it can't hurt to learn with the mistakes and successes of others.
Do not forget that there is no magic formula. Forms of communication that work with one brand may not work with others, so be sure to always remain true to your identity.
Remember that you are not alone! Companies like Google offer tons of information on the most popular searches and all you have to do is listen to the suggestions. Use Google Trends, AdWords and Keywords, or invest in other tools like MOZ. Do not forget that keywords can be short or longtail, each with its specific advantages. Get the best out of both and watch your SEO return visible results.
There are certain milestones in your industry that raise awareness and generate online traffic. It may even be one of your competitors who has launched a new product with new features, which will inevitably be the subject of your audience's online searches. Be aware of these trends and events, prepare content accordingly (posts, tutorials, FAQs, demos, etc.) and you will be one step ahead of your entire competition. It's that simple.
Effective content marketing is helpful and useful. If you work in the software area and are aware of possible bugs or a potential user error of a product or service, write about it and how to solve it! Even if it takes a few months, be certain that searches on the subject will emerge.
People are always leaving comments in forums, publications or even right under your nose, in your social media posts. If there seems to be some reluctance on the part of your clients to share reviews and opinions, you will have to take an active role and push the process with some kind of incentive or even reward. Make sure there is constant monitoring of the comments and reviews, and an attempt to implement the most reasonable requests and suggestions.
A slightly more obvious and direct way is doing surveys. If it makes sense for your product or service, make questionnaires or satisfaction calls, organize focus groups to discuss new ideas and needs.
Look at your analytics! Which of your blog posts has had more views and longest time on page? Which emails have had better click-through rates? What type of content is the most clicked on in your newsletter? Which page of your website has had more views coming from organic traffic? Discover your content with better and worse performance and you will quickly find out the patterns and trends in the interests of your audiences.