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In a world in which brands are being told they need to be publishers, there is growing pressure to create content.

Whether it is white papers, blog posts, white papers, infographics, videos or social media updates, content is apparently king for brands that want to connect with potential and existing customers.

Here is the big question facing many brands: what kind of content should they create given the buffet of options?

There are many ways to address this situation, but I think there are two key strategic considerations:

  1. Who are your customers? How do they research and make purchase decisions? Where do they get information about the different options? Is it social media or traditional media? Do they attend conferences or participate in Webinars? Do they read blogs or like infographics? Bottom line: To create content that resonates and delivers value, you need to know your target audiences inside out. With this knowledge, it is easier to give them what they want.
  2. Less is more. This is a lesson that I learned last year in doing marketing projects with three clients. In each case, the project was, at best, a modest success. Upon reflection, it was not due to a lack of time or effort. Instead, I believe success of each project was throttled by simply trying to embrace too many options. The better approach would have been to tackle fewer things, but do a better job in terms of commitment and execution.

So what does this mean for brands that want to leverage content marketing?

The most important issue is establishing priorities to better position your brand for success. It means looking at the different content options, and then ranking them based on their effectiveness in driving customers into the sales funnel. A lot of this insight comes from really knowing what interests, excites and motivates customers to do business with your brand.

To get started, make a list of the different content options based on your product and target audiences. It could look like this:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • White papers
  • Infographics
  • Social media
  • Conferences
  • Case studies
  • PR
  • Sales sheets
  • Videos

Then, rank each item based on their potential to achieve your goals (aka sales, leads, brand awareness, etc.). This exercise will surface the best options to drive your business forward, and make it easier to decide what to focus on. Based on the options listed above, it could mean a content marketing program that involves the following:

  • Website
  • Sales sheets
  • Case studies

These would be the content channels to invest time, resources and money because they offer the most potential. It doesn’t mean the other options are not interesting or irrelevant, but they are not as important right now.

Establishing priorities and selecting content that makes the most sense strategically and tactically makes it easier for brands to be successful. It lets them focus rather than spreading their efforts, which is often a recipe for failure. 

About the Author

FMark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, which helps startups and fast-growing companies tell better stories (aka marketing). He has worked with dozens of startups looking for strategic guidance and tactical execution to accelerate growth through a strong marketing foundation.He recently published a book, Storytelling for Startups, that provides entrepreneurs with insight, tools and exercises so they can embrace the power of story-driven marketing. You can learn more at www.storytellingforstartups.ca. You can connect with Mark on Twitter at @markevans.