Great content is relevant content, and relevant content doesn’t happen by accident. Moreover, the content you create for your brand today probably won’t remain relevant to your audience forever. You need to always keep your finger on the pulse of your content strategy to make sure it’s beating strong.
This isn’t an easy task, given the overwhelming content competition you face on a burgeoning internet. Even if you manage to cut through the clutter, your content requires constant attention to ensure it remains relevant.
Where do you begin your quest to create—and keep creating—relevant content? A little Socratic questioning may be the ticket. Instead of making assumptions, ask the right questions and let the answers guide you.
This time-tested learning process isn’t so much about questioning your content. It involves querying your audience in rapidly changing times. Here are three questions to ask in order to create relevant content.
1. Who Really Is Your Target Audience?
To connect with your target audience, you first have to know who they are. Don’t make the mistake of assuming they are who they used to be. Markets change, and your offerings may have as well. If your audience members aren’t the same as before, your content is probably off target.
Examine who’s buying what you’re selling right now and why. Are they the same demographic but shifting to embrace new trends? Or is an entirely new demographic emerging?
Once you develop a profile of your existing audience, build out your target audience from there. Let their preferences, concerns and interests drive your brand’s content strategy. Keep in mind that those factors will change periodically, even if the people themselves do not.
Great content is relevant to your audience, not necessarily to your brand itself. Part of making content relevant is not about the subject matter at all. It’s about matching how that information is delivered with the media your audience is using.
For example, ask yourself whether the text format you’re using on your website will translate better as video on social media. If the answer is “yes,” as it is likely to be, change up the format to match the platform. If you don’t, you won’t reach the audience you want to attract.
If your existing content has lost its relevance to your audience, you need to find answers to this question. Doing so will guide the adjustments you need to make your brand relevant to those who should be your customers. And that will breathe life into not only your content, but your bottom line.
2. How’s Your Brand’s Online Reputation Faring?
The best thing about digital media is that it makes it easy to get people talking about your brand. It can also be the worst thing if the chatter isn’t exactly favorable. You need to stay on top of the conversation.
What are people saying about your business? If they’re delighted with your brand, why? If they aren’t, why not?
Look for input everywhere, including online reviews, website analytics and customer call center data. Sort input thematically so you can identify trends in your target audience’s engagement.
You need to develop some thick skin to face the digital declarations about your products and services. But there are lessons to be learned in even the least constructive and meanest criticism you read. Ask questions to get to the underlying reasons for it so you can take steps toimprove your online reputation. Acknowledge errors, be honest and maintain transparency about your brand.
For example, if there are comments about poor customer service, take responsibility, apologize and make immediate changes to improve. Don’t forget to use those online forums to tell customers what you have done to cure what ails them. And of course, monitor the results of your modifications.
Hopefully, not all of the chatter will be negative. In that case, figure out what you’re doing right and keep doing it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—but do maintain it so it doesn’t fall into disrepair.
3. How Can You Change Your Strategy for the Better?
A common miscalculation for brands is to sit back and relax when their content strategy seems to be working. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy it in the moment. Just don’t delude yourself by thinking you have arrived, because strategy is a never-ending journey.
If you understand that successful content strategies rely on multiple factors, also understand that those factors are in perpetual motion. Newton’s first law is at play here. A body at rest tends to stay at rest, and one in motion tends to stay in motion. Be the motion — not the rest.
It makes sense. Let’s say your content strategy has your brand sitting on page one of search results for a month. You won’t be perched there for long unless you maintain motion, since your competitors will be moving to replace you. In other words, to hold your spot, you need to move.
That doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel if your strategy is currently performing well, but you should constantly improve it. Revise and update effective content to maintain top-tier SEO as keyword trends change. Recycle content in new formats to expand your reach.
Content strategies need adjusting periodically, just like the wheel alignment on your car. If you neglect the latter, over time you’ll notice the steering wheel pulling to one side and your car heading toward the shoulder. The same is true if you neglect your brand and its online reputation.
Build into your content strategy the ability to pivot quickly as the world changes. Watch for the signs to keep your brand in the lead and moving forward.
Maintaining relevance in the digital world is a constant challenge. Your content will never be perfect, which means you should always be looking for ways to improve it.
“How?” you might ask. That is, indeed, the question.