“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”

Kennedy’s inauguration speech was as relevant to the American people in 1961 as it is to the content marketer in 2013.

Why? Substitute the word ‘country’ with ‘audience’ and you’ll see.

Because a successful content strategy isn’t self-centric. And it doesn’t start by asking what the audience can do for the brand. It starts with the audience and it asks what that audience wants and needs. And then it delivers.

Take a look at your content. How much of what you produce is about your brand, your news, reviews, products and promotions. And how much of your content caters to your customers’ wants and needs?

If your content focuses more on your brand than your audience then your strategy needs a rebalance.

Paul Chaney at Practical Ecommerce recommends adopting a 70/20/10 ratio:

  • 70 percent of content should address customer interests and needs. These can be delivered in the form of top tips, how-to’s, Q&As, content curation and useful resources.
  • 20 percent of content should be user-generated (UGC), allowing your audience to contribute content elements such as videos, images and graphics and giving a sense of ownership back to the community.
  • 10 percent of content should be self-centric and focused around news, product and sales messaging. Your community will soon disperse or disengage if they are bombarded with over-promotion.

By adopting an audience-centric content strategy that starts with building a relationship, giving guidance and providing information relevant to audience needs, there is a greater likelihood of ending with acquisitions and sales. Or, as Ted Rubin calls it in this nifty infographic, Return on Relationship.

 

Image courtesy of Jeff Dean – then a student at Lawrence College, Appleton, Wisconsin, under a  Wikimedia Commons license.

Infographic courtesy of Smarter Commerce Blog.

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