Crafting a content marketing strategy for a client is a consultative process. The process goes beyond just understanding your client’s business and their products or services; the focus should be on something more critical--the end customer.
At Flying V Group, we have been working with various organizations to create and execute content marketing campaigns that deliver exponential value for them. For us, the top priority is always generating leads so we have a direct impact on our clients’ revenue.
Client onboarding is incredibly important. We recently onboarded a new client who had reached out to us to scale up their content marketing. Once the specifics of the partnership were worked out, we started on the process of onboarding. The approach we take involves in-depth marketing questions that help us understand the entire ecosystem that surrounds the client. Through a series of questions, we were able to clearly understand and articulate the real needs of their customer. Our plan relied on this to build and execute a content strategy that converts leads for the client.
The most important part of any successful strategy is understanding the client’s needs. Ultimately, the goal of any content strategy is to provide the end customer with actionable insights and push them towards taking action. It follows from there that understanding what your client’s client needs will make sure you have your client covered. The rest of the strategy builds on this basic understanding.
The more time you spend in the onboarding process and in building an accurate profile of your client’s client, the less you will need to redo work and reorient the team later on in the project. So, how do you get to the bare bones and get to know the end customer? Well, ask a lot of questions. What to ask, you ask? Just keep reading and we’ll tell you some questions we think you should ask your client to build a solid content marketing strategy.
Who Are “They”?
“They” refers to our sacred animal, the end customers. Building an accurate persona of the end customer gives your content the best chance of success. The most obvious questions to ask are about big-picture demographics: age, job profiles, and the like. While this information is important, you need specifics to really catch the target audience.
Understanding the customer is also about understanding the more minute details that give you a rounded understanding of the persona. Some of the additional factors you should probe for are:
- Specific niche interests
- Where are they usually found
- Educational background
This additional information will help you create a more fleshed out persona that enables you to better target your content and have a higher chance of success. The persona helps you to decide which channels to use and how to reach the end customer. You can focus on the social media channels that have the most impact on that specific segment. The persona also determines the tone and style of the content you create. The level of expertise, the job profile, and interests can give you glimpses of interesting hooks that you can use in your content to increase engagement. The format of the content can also be determined by a closer understanding of the demographic.
What Are the Challenges They Face? What’s the Biggest Challenge?
The pain points and the challenges the end customer faces form the crux of most of what you will be doing in terms of content. Your goal is to solve the end client’s problems, and the content plays a role in this. An intimate understanding of the challenges the client is facing helps you create more valuable content.
Find out about the areas that they seek support for. This will give you potential avenues to explore with content. It’s also useful for you to know which are the biggest problems so you can tackle them first. Make sure your questions to the client clarify this. You can then tailor the content, contextualize it for the audience, and connect it to your client’s product or service.
The key to building sustainable engagement with your content lies in the ability to help them regularly. The challenges, their evolution with time, and practical solutions are great topics to cover. How-to formats and case studies continue to hold the top spot when it comes to popular content among the audience. A clear idea of the challenges gives you options to explore in this area.
When Do They Reach Out to You? What do They Ask For?
One of the cornerstones of any content strategy is to contextualize the client’s product/service with the content you create. Knowing what the leads are asking for when they do come in helps you sharpen your approach. If your client already has an inbound marketing plan in place, and they have incoming leads, ask them, what products/services are “popular”. It helps you in two ways.
Push content around these products/services in the short term - You can focus on the more in-demand products/services in the short term to score some quick wins. There is an immediate need and probably more awareness among the audience for these products/services.
Create awareness for other products/services in the long term - Your task becomes clearer for the long run too. You can work on creating content/solutions that shine the spotlight on other products/services and eventually increase the awareness for these too.
It is also important to understand when they reach out to you and where they find you currently. The stage at which they are in will help you further narrow down content areas.
How Do Your Solutions Offer Tangible Benefits?
Ask questions to understand the tangible benefits that your client’s products/services offer to the audience.
Understand in measurable terms the advantages that your client delivers, like X% increase in sales, or $Y amount of cost saved. This gives you clear messaging platforms to build content on. The success of your content marketing campaign depends on educating the clients l and convincing them of the value your client delivers. Having measurable advantages or solutions makes this job easier.
Other features and benefits are also critical to understand. These can be used in your content to further improve the client’s understanding and push them towards action. The end customer is looking for tangible benefits and this should be front and center in your content strategy.
Creating a successful content strategy is centered around a crystal clear understanding of the audience you are serving through content as well as product/service. The content should showcase the strengths and expertise of your client, and convince them that your client is the go-to expert to solve their problems. This succeeds when you dig deep and clearly understand what the end customer is looking for.
Beginning here and then working backward will give your strategy the best chance of success. Through these questions, you will explore the various aspects and perspectives of your client’s business, and also help you answer questions like, what’s the priority, what’s hot, which channels to use, and much more. The more information you have about the end customer, the sharper and more efficient your digital strategy will be!
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.