It’s time for Step 2 of our Sample Marketing Plan!
As a reminder, we’ve introduced you to our fictional client, Safety Inc. and their maintenance safety products. Then we got to know their target customer through extensive research, to really put ourselves in the mind of the consumer and better understand who we’re speaking to.
And now that we’ve gathered that information, it’s time to actually speak to them…
Step 2: Create content that answers customers’ questions.
Now that we have our buyer personas, and understand who this person is, we need to start compiling the questions they are asking in their lives. We usually start with questions they’re asking themselves about a given problem, a product, the category the product fits into, the industry, etc.
We focus on the challenges they’re encountering, and not how the product is solving them.
This isn’t about how we talk about Safety Inc. This is about how we talk to our buyer persona—let’s call him Fred the Facility Manager. We want to know what Fred is thinking throughout the day, what questions is he asking himself. The questions then dictate the content we’ll be creating, which is rather obvious–we need to be solving his problems and answering his questions through that content. So to do that, we get to know what he’s asking. As we start to think about what’s going on in Fred the Facility Manager’s head, we start to get a feel for how we can help, and what kind of content we can create for him.
So Step 2 is all about creating content, and having our strategy be influenced and directed by getting to know Fred and knowing what questions he’s asking himself, or the questions his bosses are asking him.
Consumer behavior is changing. Whether you’re in the B2B or B2C space, Google has trained us to go online to ask our questions. So the power of understanding what Fred is asking is that it allows us to create content that answers his questions directly. What better title for a piece of content than using the exact phrase of the question that Fred is asking himself. He’s wondering what his facility maintenance budget should be for 2016? We’ll write a blog post entitled: How to build your facility maintenance budget in 2016, and catch him directly in his thought process.
When creating content, we like to play around with format. Long or short blog posts, ebooks, checklists, podcasts, videos, 1 page PDF downloads—there are endless formats to experiment with. Part of which format we choose is informed by the buyer persona. Can Fred watch videos at work? Does Fred have a commute to reach his facility located out of town, and thus listening to audio is the best format for him?
We’ll try a few formats to figure out what’s best, just as long as the content continues to address the relevant questions the persona is asking.
Creating content should be thought of as building up a library of resources. We’re building up Safety Inc.’s website until it’s not just a site that talks about Safety Inc., what Safety Inc. sells, and how you can buy these products, but rather a place where Fred can come to educate himself, to find answers to his questions, and where he can spend time in a way that will ultimately reflect well on his job. Our goal is to create an evergreen resource that will live on for Fred and all the hundreds of thousands of prospects out there like him.
That goal of building up a library of content further emphasizes the importance of thinking outside the box of just your specific product. You need to expand your stock to include the circle of influence around the topic matter of your product.
For example, let’s say that Safety Inc.’s best-selling item is a high-quality pair of safety gloves, made from a patented material that is incredibly durable, and resistant to the elements. If we just write articles about the importance of having the right pair of safety gloves, we’re going to run out of content ideas pretty quickly, and the content we do produce is only going to convey a sense of self-promotion, not value for the customer.
Instead, we can write an article about the effect that the elements can have on work clothes and accessories. Or maybe a post entitled “10 Tools That Every Facility Maintenance Worker Needs,” in which work gloves is one of the 10, but Safety Inc is not mentioned outright in the post.
And we can go broader than that even–we’ll explore any of the dozens, likely hundreds, of safety issues that facility managers and maintenance workers face on the job. Then maybe we veer away from safety, and start discussing the costs of certain facility maintenance issues. And so on and so forth, as we build up Safety Inc.’s thought leadership on facility maintenance and management, and demonstrate to our audience that we are on top of any and all of the issues they face on a daily basis.
After all, many people might not know that such high-quality work gloves exist! Or facility managers might think that they’re covered in the work gloves department, and thus don’t feel the need to search for it because they don’t know that something out there is better. So why would we write content just for that, and run the risk of losing prospects that might be interested in the space, and just not know that that we live in it?
When we create content around the larger topic, the larger space in which Safety Inc.’s product lives, we are creating the moment of discovery for a stranger to encounter something that they didn’t know they were looking for.
Further, by demonstrating Safety Inc.’s expertise in the facility maintenance and management space, we are promoting their level of authority and trustworthiness in the field, which will ultimately encourage prospects to pay attention to the site and what they have to say.
The importance of creating dynamic content that answers all questions your prospects might have about the space you live in cannot be overstated. The library you build through your content development will serve your customers for a long time to come, and the authority you will build in content creation will raise your profile to the right people.
The content library you build will attract visitors to your site, which puts into motion Step 3…