First off, why we are writing about this guide and why should you care?

Many business owners understand the value of content marketing but struggle to successfully implement their own marketing strategy. At Projekt15, we recognize this need and have created this guide in hopes of helping you succeed at content marketing.

Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Customer

It may seem obvious but too often this step is completely overlooked. In fact, this may be the single most important step. Meredith Hill said it best: “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”

Unfortunately, even successful businesses tend to forget this step from time to time. Have you ever noticed when a business or brand seems tone-deaf? This is likely due to skipping this critical step. Think about it…people are still left with a bitter taste in their mouth when they think of Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad.

There are many strategies online to help you identify your ideal customer, but here are our recommendations:

  • Start by looking at your existing customer base and quantify them from lowest value to highest value.
  • From these segmented customers, determine not only their gross monetary contributions but also take into consideration factors that are a bit more subjective and complex:
    • How much time do these customers require from my business?
    • What is their lifetime value?
    • Do you enjoy working with them?
    • If not, does that impact how you quantify their value? Should it?

Now that you have your ideal customer in mind, you can generate a strategy to find more customers exactly like them. In order to do this, create a complete customer profile that includes demographic details like:

  • General Demographics: Age, income, location, education, gender, occupation, etc.
  • Lifestyle Demographics: Hobbies, interests, causes, passions and problems.

Note: If none of your existing customers can be classified as ideal, create an ideal persona to target. Be aware that this persona must be realistic in order to be effective. If your “ideal customer” is non-existent or hard to find or identify, this could signify a larger problem in your business and may be a great opportunity to identify areas of improvement for future acquisition. 

Step 2: Content Strategy

Now that you have a better understanding of who you’re targeting, it’s time to think about your content strategy. After all, it would make absolutely no sense to complete the first step and then just throw words at the wall hoping they resonate with someone. In fact, a famous quote from Brian Chesky, Co-Founder Airbnb, is in order here: “Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like.”

There are three cornerstones of content creation we believe have the biggest impact:

The 3 V’s

  • Voice. Remember the Pepsi ad we mentioned above? This is where you take into consideration who you are creating the content for. No matter how awesome your products or services are, if the wrong voice is used no one will hear you. Always remember that you are creating content for someone else, not just for yourself. David Beebe, CEO of Storified Hospitality Group, said it best: “Content marketing is really like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date.”
  • Value-added. Remember the demographics exercise above? Make sure you are adding plenty of value for that group.

💡 Pro tip: When at all possible, focus on the “Lifestyle Demographics.” When someone is passionate about a cause, ideal or purpose, they’re much more likely to align. Nearly all financial transactions boil down to emotional connections that are later rationalized with logic. If you can solve a pain point in any of these areas, you may have just gained a customer for life.

  • Veracity. Be truthful in your content. Never try to mislead or misinform the consumer. Even if this tactic is working somewhere else, the results will be temporary. You need to be focused on creating ideal customers. If you aren’t truthful or transparent, your ideal customers will eventually become former customers.

Now that you have the baseline information needed to get started with content marketing, it is time to put these new skills to good use. Consistency creates credibility, therefore we recommend that you develop a content calendar and get your initial ideas down before you get started.

Here are five sample topics to get you going:
  1. Top 5 benefits of (your product/service)
  2. 10 things to do to be successful in (insert your industry)
  3. Five upcoming trends to watch for in (insert your industry)
  4. How (your product/service) can save you time OR How (your product/service) can save you money
  5. Five things to think about when choosing a (your product/service)

Keep in mind content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint so get started today! If you’re still having trouble getting started and would rather outsource your content creation, let us know!