All market sectors are awash with content from suppliers, which makes it hard to stand out. So what is the best approach to ensure your content is helping your business grow?

Our conversations with clients start with the basics of where the business is headed and the goals and targets associated with that. Wrapped up in this is your brand, what you do and the value you provide your customers.

It may sound obvious, but you need to be clear on all the above and how you see that changing in the coming months and years. This will enable you to plan your marketing and communication strategies to include changes in direction or fundamental changes to the brand. This isn’t about crystal-ball gazing, rather understanding your direction of travel.

This is important because your content can help your customers navigate change, it can help provide insights on the market that will give them confidence in your brand. With so much change in how we do business, a focus on market insight and thought leadership can be very useful for your customers.

Before you get to content planning you need to understand your audience. To cut through the information noise you need to have a laser focus on who you are creating (and curating) content for and how it helps them. Useful content matters when people are so short of time.

Here are 11 questions to consider before planning your content.

Your audience

  1. Who is your audience? (Identify audience groups including employees, associates, customers, potential customers)
  2. Why is each group important to your business?
  3. As an organisation, how do you help each of these audience groups? (eg sell services to customers)
  4. How do you want to talk to your audience groups?
  5. As a business, how do you want to be seen in the market? (eg Tone of voice, type of organisation (practical, thought leaders, best value for money, brand values etc)
  6. Does this differ across the different audience segments?

Audience content needs

  1. What does each audience segment need from you in terms of content do you think? (Do you know?)
  2. How often do they need this?
  3. Where else would they find this information if you do not provide it?
  4. Does your audience have specific content needs at certain times of the year (eg conferences, law changes etc)
  5. Do you have certain events you need to talk about? What are they?

These questions are likely to throw up further questions. You might also find you have gaps, especially knowing the content needs of your audience. If you don’t know what constitutes useful information then ask them and use that information in your planning. Keep an eye on your metrics too as you will see what’s engaging people.