I can’t even start to count the “lack of content” questions I receive. However, when I get that question, it’s an opportunity for me to help a customer or turn a prospect into a customer.
Here’s a little roadmap I use when I begin a new writing assignment.
If you are going to follow a schedule, develop a media calendar for the next 12 months. Break down your calendar into quarters so it is not such a daunting process. If your business has some seasonality to it, that should make it much easier. For example, in my B2B world, summer is slow with vacations, so I cut down the amount of communications. However, I make sure my communication is relevant so those that I reach appreciate my content and efforts.
When you finally finish starring at your calendar, it’s time to do your RESEARCH!
Research is definitely the tallest speed bump on your road to a content creation. If you’re a company that consistently communicates with customers and prospects, this is not as much a challenge as you may think. If you are using a customer–centric marketing strategy at your company, that research speed bump is starting to level out. Or sometimes to get past the research roadblock, take your computer somewhere else, get comfortable, shut off all electronic devices (except your computer), and proceed down the research paths you will encounter with total happiness.
While you are still in your research mode, here are a few questions to ask yourself and others in the organization.
- Make a list of all the features of your products or services. Then from this list, what are the individual benefits derived from each feature? Make sure you discuss this with a customer service employee as well as a sales person.
- Go to your competitors and ask them these similar questions. I know what you’re thinking, no competitor in their right mind would tell you jack. Visit their web site and start a comparison of the features and benefits. Look at their testimonials if any. Sign up for a newsletter if offered. Talk to the customer service department. Check out industry publications, trade show opportunities, and any associations they belong to for the latest happenings and their involvement, if any.
- Use the internet to do even more research. Start saving white papers, articles, or just about anything related or closely related to the industry. Be careful, and don’t plagiarize. This is for research only to formulate your communications that are relevant to your customers and prospects.
- Deciding your communication channels is simply using the channels your customers and prospects prefer. You can even have similar content for each channel. For example, if you have a video that is instructional in nature for a product or a service, you may want to use your blog to introduce it. If you mail a newsletter, note a link or QR code that drive the readers to a web landing page. This link can also be in a press release, an email newsletter, Facebook, or an easy reading post card mailing.
In closing, relevancy and frequency are important to any communication you decide to use. If you write a monthly newsletter, don’t send it only four times within a year. Conversely, if you are using email, sending something once a day, unless it is money, could drive your customers away faster than a beehive at your favorite picnic location.
Let me know what content challenges you have faced and how you solved them. Or if you’re still wrestling with a content issue, post your question. Remember, sometimes a little spark can get that content car moving in the right direction.
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Copyright 2011 Marketing Communications Group, Inc.