In business, your reputation is everything. But if you’ve had your nose to the grindstone, you may not be doing enough to establish your reputation. Unfortunately, doing great, quality work isn’t enough to highlight your expertise. It takes a strategic, intentional approach to get ahead of the competition. Fortunately, one of the best ways to do this is also one of the most accessible.
The secret sauce to gaining a competitive advantage is content, which anyone can use. Content works when you’re a leader looking to establish your reputation or a marketing pro focused on improving market share. But knowing how to use content is often an overlooked component of the winning formula that content can provide. Before you start building out an editorial calendar, learn a few different ways you can use content to achieve your goals.
1. Predict What Gets Your Target Audience to Buy
Data is a marketer’s best friend, and it’s especially important when developing your content strategy. It’s easy to cloud your judgment of what your audience cares about when you’re so close to the subject matter. Gain clarity by letting data be your guide.
Identify your content wins by determining your predictive content ROI, an indicator of content that drives revenue. While creating useful and engaging content is great, the final result you’re aiming for is market share. Use this data to drive your content creation efforts, focusing on developing resources that help you reach your goals.
To start, you’ll need to pull relevant data from trusted sources. Google Analytics is an excellent tool, but as with any data-collection effort, diversifying your sources can yield more accurate results. Third-party analytics software can help you focus on the factors that matter most. What gets page views and engagement is great, but if it doesn’t result in a sale, it’s less worthy of your time.
For example, a resource download can be a better indicator of a live prospect than simple comments on a how-to piece. Identify what’s working now and the themes that run through each of those data points. When you do, you’ll begin to create a repeatable winning formula for future content.
2. Take Advantage of Content Gaps
Thinking of what to write about can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If your team isn’t accustomed to generating content, getting started can lead to creative paralysis. Jump-start your idea generation process by conducting a comparative analysis of your competitors, their content, and their services.
Look at organic search data for keywords that bring up results from you and your competitors. See where you rank among their content and if there’s room for your expertise. If so, devise a strategy to fully fill this gap with content that provides insight from all angles.
Say you’re a cybersecurity firm. You could discuss how companies can improve staff technology use policies to protect their networks. In this scenario, you’re connecting your expertise to real-world applications that require behavioral change, internal policies, and technical understanding.
If you work in a technical field, you’ll need to determine how your content can resonate with both leaders and peers. Use plain language and definitions where you can, but maintain the integrity of the topic and your expertise. Distribute your content to the right platforms and external sites, taking into consideration your audience’s existing knowledge and interest.
3. Remember That Customer Experience Matters
Beyond creating content to further your business goals is the need to create content designed to help. In fact, that’s why user experience is one topic that headlines meetings at many forward-thinking organizations. Friction is uncomfortable. If you don’t provide helpful resources for a product that’s tough to use or difficult to understand, you’ll lose customers.
Customer-centric organizations are constantly thinking about and improving their UX, and if you aren’t, now is the time to start. While back-end improvements are essential, using content to support customer needs is a deliverable that pays dividends.
Long-form knowledge articles can establish expertise on a relevant topic or approach that correlates with your offering. Existing customers can benefit from an in-depth overview of how they can use your solution in the real world. Future customers can review your content library for support articles, discussions on new trends, and thought-provoking insights into your field. This publicly accessible library can establish your expertise while providing support where it’s needed.
Track engagement data on owned channels and on external sites to see what pieces track back to yours. Review keyword clicks and searches to see where readers’ interest lies, which can help you develop more relevant content. Update your articles with new links, data, and findings so it’s always fresh. Provide a call to action that helps your reader learn more, get in contact with you, or provide feedback.
Moving Forward With Content Creation
The world of content creation is ever-changing, and as it morphs, so should your approach. Keep your finger on the pulse of industry trends and what’s resonating with your key audience. Make it a practice to do more than just track metrics. Review individual keywords, campaigns, and copy performance to influence each piece that follows. When you’re receptive to your target audience’s interests, you can deliver content that makes an impact across the board.