6 questions you must ask before writing anything to promote your business
9th, Jul 2021
It doesn’t matter whether you are writing for your website, social media, ads, articles or other outlets, you must plan first, write second. To that end, always ask yourself these 6 key questions to ensure your content will be effective at helping you achieve your goals and promote your business.
1. Who is the desired audience for your content? This is the most important question of all. Identify who you want to read your content. Is it existing or past clients, prospects, referral sources or others? Then break it down further. What are their key demographics and behaviors? This can include:
- Age, gender, profession
- Job title and responsibilities
- Company size and revenue (or personal income and wealth)
- Role in deciding to hire you
- Budget and priorities
- Interests, concerns and pain points
- Information sources
- Level of knowledge about your services.
Essentially, you are creating a buyer persona, which is a detailed profile of the person you want to attract. You can gather this information by analyzing and talking with your client base and referral sources as well as through internet research.
The reason you are doing this is that the better you define your audience, the more effective your writing will be at reaching them and appealing to their interests.
2. What does your audience want to know about? Your content has to focus on what your audience is interested in, not what you want to talk about. Ask contacts what is important to them. Write about the frequently asked questions you receive. Also, do research. For example, identify and subscribe to publications your target audience reads, set up Google alerts to monitor areas of interest to them, and use social media to “listen” to what topics they care about. You can do this yourself or use paid media monitoring and business intelligence tools to gather information.
3. In what way can you offer something unique? Your goal is always to stand out from the competition. If you are talking about your business, you should focus on your differentiators – your unique selling proposition and unique value proposition. Similarly, if you are creating substantive content, such as a blog post, presentation or article, you want to offer your unique insights and analysis on that subject. This is a big problem when professionals write or speak on a topic. Dry factual recitations are not particularly interesting and are available from multiple sources. Clients and prospects want to understand how something affects them and what they need to do to solve or minimize their problems. This is an opportunity for you to shine by providing your audience with genuinely helpful information that highlights your knowledge and expertise. Yes, this requires more work, but your audience wants to see that you understand their concerns, have the know-how to handle them and want to educate them as opposed to give them a sales pitch.
4. What do you want to accomplish with your content? There are many reasons you may be sharing a particular piece of content including to increase visibility, drive web traffic, build credibility, establish expertise, stay top of mind with existing contacts, generate leads, etc. Your content won’t be successful if it doesn’t take into account your goals. Having concrete objectives enables you to establish metrics and measure the effectiveness of your content, including looking at which types of content are best suited for your purpose. In addition, when there is a clear reason for producing content and measurable results, it’s easier to stay motivated to continue to produce similar content.
5. How will you promote the content? Just because you created the content doesn’t mean it will be seen. You need a plan and appropriate resources to make sure you are taking full advantage of all available marketing channels to reach your target audience, including owned, earned and paid media outlets. Use social media and email marketing extensively. Encourage everyone within the firm to share your content with their personal networks. Incorporate strategic SEO tactics to increase the probability that your content will be found by search engines. In addition, don’t forget to test different marketing tactics and revise as needed to improve results.
6. Do you have a call to action? This goes along with # 4, but it is about accomplishing your goals at a micro-level. What do you want readers to do immediately after seeing your content? Contact you? Sign up for your email newsletter or event? Make sure to have a clear next step for your audience. You want to encourage people to continue to engage with you in some way. Ideally, your content should be leading people through your sales funnel. For example, you may have content that is intended to attract a large number of potential leads to your website. Once on your site, the next call to action may be an offer to receive related information in an eBook. This allows you to continue to nurture those leads who are not yet ready to make a decision.
Content is a valuable marketing tool when used strategically. If you take the time to understand what specific content will appeal to your audience and focus on your objectives, you’ll write content that will drive the success of your business.