Hitting your content marketing sweet spot
12th, Jan 2015
In a recent study reported by MarketingSherpa, business owners were asked for their biggest criticism of the information they received from vendors. Not surprisingly, the majority said it was too sales-oriented.
Clients want help with their problems from people they trust, not sales pitches. The way to prove you can be their trusted resource is by providing material that’s interesting, relevant and useful to them. But the problem is coming up with content that is both compelling to your audience and promotes your brand message and expertise – aka your sweet spot.
In his book, Epic Content Marketing, Joe Pulizzi defines the sweet spot as “the intersection between your customers’ pain points and where you have the most authority with your stories.”
So how can you hit your sweet spot?
Identify your unique value proposition.
How would you describe your expertise? What are you more knowledgeable about than your competitors? Have you worked with particular kinds of businesses or industries? Do you have experience with certain types of issues? Are you well-versed in regional or local concerns? What special skills, education or training do you draw on in doing your work? What passions, values and point of view express your brand and make you stand out?
The good news is it isn’t as hard to figure this out as you might think. One of the easiest ways to start is to consider in what situations do you feel the most comfortable and confident answering questions and giving advice. Also think about when and for what reasons people turn to you for help. When you really know your stuff, you share useful information readily. You can talk at length and people find you helpful.
If you’re still not sure what sets you apart in the marketplace, ask others – colleagues, clients, industry experts, peers – for their thoughts.
Your goal is to be able to clearly explain your unique value so your content marketing consistently expresses that.
Understand your target audience(s).
In a previous post, I talked about making sure you identify the audience(s) you want to target with your marketing and then research their interests and pain points. You should take this even further and actually create buyer personas – that is, develop profiles for each type of buyer you are targeting. What are their key demographics and behaviors? For example:
- Job title and responsibilities
- Role in the purchasing process
- Company size
- Budget and priorities
- Concerns and stressors
- Level of knowledge about your products/services
You should also have a good understanding of their decision making process. What issues or circumstances cause them to look for help with their problems? Where else do they turn to for information? When do they hire you and why do they like you?
Also think about what stage in the buying process is your marketing going to target. Are you trying to attract prospects doing initial research online? Or are you nurturing a lead and trying to move them closer to a sale? Your audience may have different needs and interests as they move through the sales funnel and your content needs to be targeted accordingly.
Don’t skimp on the research. Survey your market, monitor industry developments, and look at what your competitors are doing as well as what the competitors of your customers are doing. Also analyze your own data – email and social media statistics and website analytics – to determine what topics or content types are getting better results with your audience. If you have multiple audiences, then make sure you understand each one in this way.
The point is the more you know about their needs, the better you can tailor the substance of your message as well as how you promote it to them.
Bringing it together.
Going back to Joe Pulizzi, think about “where can you be the leading expert in the world that truly matters to your customers and your business?” Your content won’t resonate unless you can speak credibly (and passionately) about topics your audience cares about.
So where do your expertise and audience’s pain points collide? Hopefully this exercise will help you hit your own content marketing sweet spot.