Content has become the hottest marketing topic these days and for good reason: we live in the age of information, and that’s why¬†content is king. ¬†This doesn’t mean that posting random updates, with no theme or purpose is all you need to do, on the contrary, this practice can actually have a negative impact on your brand’s credibility. In fact, there is a proliferation of thoughtless content in all possible formats that is totally irrelevant to the brand that’s posting it, has no substance, and it’s poorly written. That’s why you need a content strategy.

Those of your competitors that are thriving online are producing relevant content on a regular basis, and that’s how they seem to be everywhere: their content shows up when you search not only for the services they provide, but also for industry information. They become a resource. The question is, how can you do the same? What makes content relevant and where can you find it?

The answer is simple: create content that your ideal prospects and clients are interested in. In order to do accomplish this there are 2 tasks you need to do first, that you will get done by answering the following 2 questions:

Who are you talking to?
For the content you create to be of interest to your ideal clients, you need to know who they are in the first place. I know this may sound obvious, but so many business owners and even marketers, skip this step. So the first step is to develop your perfect customer profile or “buyer persona”. Think in terms of the group of people who you actually want to work with. The more specific you get the easier it will be to come up with topics that will interest them. To do this you need to go deeper than just age and income brackets, gender, and geographical location, which are important, but you also want to include their education, profession, household composition, marital status, interests, preferences, purchasing habits, as well as challenges and concerns as they relate to your products and services.

Ideally, you want to have these characteristics written down, and add items as you may find more details when evaluating your results from analytics data. One obvious place to start is within your own customer base, and select those you love to work with and want to “clone”. You can survey what they have in common, down to interests and preferences, such as TV shows they watch, hobbies, and how they spend their free time, for example, especially those that relate to the “problems” your products and services solve.

What information are they looking for?
Now that you know who your ideal customer is, finding what they want to read about is the next step, and this is when keywords come into play. Keywords still form a critical piece in online marketing, regardless of the medium, whether it be for ranking pages on your site or blog, videos, imagery, paid search, etc., keywords are one of the most important components when planning your content.

So put on your thinking cap and attempt to get into the mid of your ideal customer who’s searching for you. What are they typing in the browser? What is their intent?. Being on top of your keywords is critical to have a clear picture.

How do you find your best keywords? There are lots of keyword research tools out there, such as the Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, some offer a free version. You want to use these tools to also understand your niche or market, what your competitors are ranking for, and what keyword phrases are getting the most and best traffic.

Pulling it together
Once you have a list of keyword phrases identified, each of these can be turned into a topic, that can be addressed from different angles, and shared in multiple formats, such as your own blog posts, industry news articles to be shared, videos, images, quotes, etc.

Say for example that you are a landscaper, and one phrase you have identified is “best grass for hot climate”. Content that talks about the types of grass is the obvious one, but you can also talk about watering tips, maintaining a lawn, reasons why it won’t grow in certain places, and why a complete maintenance plan, such as yours, is best.

Further, knowing your customers’ profile and interests, will add angles to the topics. Using the same example landscaper example, if your best clients are homeowners with pets, for example, you’ll know that safety will be a topic they will be interested in, so topics related to toxic plants will be of interest.

There point is, knowing your customer’s questions and concerns will give you the opportunity to address them, and position your company as the expert that understands what’s important to your clients.

And there you have it!