ClearVoice's director of client strategy, Eric Sidone, shows us how to build strategic content ideas that align with your marketing goals.
KaZaam! You awake, break out of bed, get set and hit the road. If you’re like me, the day starts off like any other. At the office, you receive a few “Happy whatever-day-it-is” greetings, enjoy some coffee and scan through the forest of client emails growing in your inbox. Over time, I’m seeing similar types of requests from our clients come in, such as “Can I get another quick article?,” “Should we write about X topic,” and “How do I get more people to my site?,” so I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the importance of planning.
Of course, the ClearVoice software platform has tools to help you ideate, build and manage a content calendar, but what I often find is that brands have not properly connected content to their marketing plan. So, having a content calendar can seem foreign or even unnecessary. When I ask our clients about this, many have a plan of some kind in place; it may be a promotional calendar or brand strategy, but they are lacking something that connects them all together (for some reason, I’m picturing the Borg of content assimilation telling you not to resist).
Before I digress, let’s get to it.
It is important to have a strategic plan in place that has your brand goals, marketing objectives and also accounts for content. There are many frameworks, methodologies and approaches out there to help with this. For this post, let me walk you through a simple exercise to show you how to leverage data about your audience to build informed ideas that fit into your overall marketing plan — and deliver results.
Since it’s almost snack time, we can use that for this example. My brand is a snack maker, and my audience is people who like to snack. Using some openly available tools (thank you, internet <- yes, it’s lowercase starting today), I begin to gather intel (no, we are not the NSA, but it’s more fun than saying “do customer research”).
Step 1. Understand your audience
For this step, I am going to use some of the new audience data available in Twitter Analytics. In the chart below, I segmented all Twitter users by Luxury (dark purple) v. Vegan (light purple) interests to see differences in consumer buying styles between the two groups.
Here is one insight: Twitter users interested in Vegan are more likely to shop for Luxury brands (quite interesting), while those Twitter users who are interested in Luxury are more likely to shop for meat and potatoes (that makes sense). I always make this caveat: Your insights are only as good as the data you are using. In this case, we will take Datalogix’s word for it.
Step 2. Create informed ideas
Next I will use this fun tool from AnswerThePublic.com to turn my intel into potential content topics. First, I plug in the word “snacks,” and out comes this question spiral tree:
For the Vegan snack target we use;
- “Snacks with protein”
- “Snacks with honey”
- “Snacks without meat”
For our Luxury snacker (remember they buy meat and potatoes/cook at home);
- “Snacks like beef jerky”
- “Snacks for movie night”
- “Snacks like popcorn”
Step 3. Align your plan
Now that we have an idea of what topics might resonate with this audience, it’s time to look at the plan. Below is a basic market planning outline, courtesy of Leading Resources Incorporated. I have overlaid a few areas where content considerations are made. If we are thinking in the mindset of a consumer packaged goods snack brand, then we take our strategic plan and layer in current content presence and quality, content engagement and content performance. This allows us to tie our users to our assets, assign resources, budgeting, etc.
From here, we would design and build content around the topics above, select channels to promote this content and monitor performance to ensure that we had properly targeted our audience. Of course, there are many more layers of data and insights that you can bring to this to make your marketing plan and content calendar even more robust — but this post should get you started.