Aussie businesses are doubling down on audience growth. As reported in the Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing in Australia 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, “85% of Australian respondents agree that their organisation is focused on building an audience versus 69% last year.”

But if you’re investing in content creation in order to build that audience, you’ve probably run into a common challenge: once you’ve run through all your easy, obvious ideas for content pieces, what do you do next?

Get unstuck using a few questions we use when planning content campaigns for Windsorborn clients:

What differentiates my business from my competitors?

The vast majority of your business’s content should be educational – not promotional – in nature. But that doesn’t mean you can’t subtly show off your business’s advantages by working your differentiating factors into the content you create.

Imagine that you run a financial services firm, and you’re using content to build relationships with future clients. Maybe your firm is different because you have more agents than other organisations in your area. Maybe you specialise in an uncommon area of service. Whatever your differentiating factors are, they can inform your content building efforts.

If you’re the largest practice, for example, you could create a content piece that talks about choosing an agent – emphasising how important it is to choose a firm with multiple agents so that your readers can find the right fit. If you’re specialised in a particular financial practice, build content around that topic so that it’s clear you’re the local authority on the subject.

As long as you frame your approach through a helpful lens, readers won’t feel as if they’re being sold to.

What’s happening in my industry?

Creating valuable content is a great way to demonstrate your business’s thought leadership in its field, as described in the specialised financial practice example given above.

Newsjacking – the “practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote or advertise one’s product or brand,” according to the Oxford Dictionary – is one way to build thought leadership through content by commenting on the most pressing news items facing your audience.

But you don’t have to wait for newsworthy items to appear. Instead, think about the changes you’re seeing in your industry. Are best practices evolving? Are new technologies disrupting the status quo? What other upcoming changes do you anticipate that your audience needs to be aware of?

Answer these questions through content, and your audience will begin to see you not just as a potential service provider, but as a leader who can help them navigate change.

What questions are my customers asking?

At the start of 2008, Marcus Sheridan’s company – River Pools and Spas – was struggling in the face of the Great Recession. Rather than close shop, he turned to content.

“They decided to try blogging, and they started writing content for their site by simply answering their customers’ questions through their blog posts,” writes Beth Hayden on the Copyblogger website. “Today, his pool company website gets more traffic than any other pool company site in the world.”

All Sheridan did was write content that answered customer questions like, “how to customise a fiberglass pool” and “what type of inground pool is best for me?” Not only did his efforts eventually bring in enough traffic to save his company, Sheridan’s work offers a great case study for how small businesses can generate content ideas by simply answering questions.

Start capturing the questions you hear from your customers – whether through email, chat, phone, social media, customer service or any other channel. Draw on this list whenever you’re stumped for content ideas.

What objections do my leads or prospects have?

Finally, repeat the question gathering process described above – this time, looking for objections you hear when leads or prospects interact with your business.

For example, if you frequently hear the feedback that your product or service is too expensive, use your content to create an explainer piece that describes what goes into your offering and what that means for your customers. Again, stay just outside the line of being self-promotional. Stick to educating users with this and the content ideas described above, and you’ll never lack for great content pieces your audience is sure to respond to.

What other questions would you add to this list? If you need further help with content planning, reach out to the Windsorborn team for a customised strategy or jump right in and start a project with us

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