You wouldn’t serve wagyu to vegans or request formal attire at your Burning Man meditation meetup. So why do marketers deliver untargeted content? Yes, bad content is everywhere, and any way to create more relevant, useful marketing content works for us. But a way to do that AND cut your content marketing production costs dramatically over time? We’re sold.
What at you’ll need: a house email list and/or social following (with at least 1000 verified addresses for enterprise, 100 for SMB), a conference system like GoToMeeting or join.me, something you want feedback on, a way to record the conversation, and a gifted writer.
This approach is particularly relevant for B2B but can apply to any customer group. The more you involve your audience, the more relevant your content will be, the more you will have of it, and the closer it will align to your customer’s interests and needs. And the better it will perform. Here’s how to get started:
- Send out a post to your email list and your social following asking for customers to volunteer to provide you with feedback on a monthly basis, unpaid, but in exchange for a better customer or marketing experience. (You will be amazed by how many volunteers you get – assuming you gave customers who care about your product/service!)
- Your most passionate, dedicated customers will put up their hands and volunteer. You need about 15 volunteer customers.
- Schedule a monthly drop-in call with these customers. In-person discussion will also work. But the conversational element is important; you can’t do this with web chats alone. Varying the interaction is also important.
- On the first call, show them a piece of your marketing collateral or content. Ask them how it could be improved. Talk about whether or not it is really useful to them, and what would make it useful.
- Do what they tell you
- Ask them: What questions have not been answered for you about our product/service/company industry? What information gaps do you have? What information could we create to give you a better experience?
- Create an editorial calendar based on their responses.
- Align to your marketing calendar for your business/business unit/product. If you can’t align these things, you have a problem bigger than content marketing.
- On the next customer call, dive deeper in topic number one. Record the conversation and turn the information into useful content marketing assets. This requires writers with skills that are part intuitionist, part master of the written word. Creating content becomes an empathetic exercise of understanding needs vs trying exclusively to get a viewpoint across.
- Distribute content. Watch engagement skyrocket. Track with SqueezeCMM or another system that gives you content taxonomy tracking and attribution. Understand what content converts where. Do more of what works.
This is the harmonious, virtuous cycle between content and community. When harnessed properly, it can change everything.