CONTENT STRATEGY: HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR CONTENT NEEDS [GUIDE]

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Picture of Ashlie Jones
Written by Ashlie Jones

Are you in the process of redesigning your website or rebranding your company? Are you wondering if you have enough content or if the content you have needs to be reworked, rewritten, or replaced?

Are you a business owner or marketer assigned to the daunting task of writing content? Are you feeling overwhelmed by that little 7 letter word? If you answered YES to any of the questions above, you are in the right place.

This blog will walk you through some content strategy, specifically a 4 step process for determining your content needs.


GATHER


So, how do you determine your content needs? Well, to figure out what you need, you should start by assessing what you have. That's right. It's time to do a scavenger hunt.

Search and rescue ALL of the content you or the company you work for has out there. I mean everything; business cards, brochures, newsletters, flyers, and other printed collateral, proposals, website content (each individual page), videos, and blogs.

If you or your company has an editorial calendar, also go through the planned content and social posts. Make a master list of all of the content gathered, the type of content, what it is currently being used for, and notate the last time (date) it was used/published.

Once you've gathered all the content you have "out there", you should revisit your buyer personas. If you don't know what personas are, start here.

If you have your personas in front of you, pay close attention to their goals, challenges, and needs. Make sure to address them as they relate to each stage of the buyer's journey (awareness, consideration, and decision). If you don't know what the buyer's journey is, click here.

Let's take a closer look at those goals, challenges, and needs as they relate to the awareness, consideration, and decision stages.

What problem are they trying to solve? What would make them reach out to you? What would deter them? Why would they need your company? What information do they need to know to choose your company? What would make them choose your company over another?

AUDIT


Once you've answered those questions, go back to your content and see if you address the answers to the questions they are asking. Do this for each of your personas.

If you come across things you haven't addressed, make note of them. If you have content that doesn't address any of the questions make note of those items as well.

TIP: If you have a marketing or web agency you are working with, involve them in this process. It will make for a better end product. :)

To determine if your website, video, blog, or social content is stale, look at your analytics.

Typically, posts, pages, and videos that have fewer views, shorter session times, higher bounce rates, and/or little to no clicks, shares, or engagement, have outdated and/or invaluable content.

"Content that understands its audience will be good content. Content that doesn't, can't be." Doug Kessler

When you're done auditing your existing content, you should be left with three groups.

1. Content that addresses your personas concerns.

2. Content that addresses some concerns, but is lacking overall.

3. Content that doesn't address any concerns.

Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for number 1. After all, that is content gold!

PRUNE: Now let's address number 2 and 3. Content that addresses some concerns, but is lacking (number 2), just needs some TLC. The good news is, it can be reworked.

Revisit this content to see what questions need to be answered and how it can be improved upon. When it addresses your personas concerns and answers their questions, it can be added to number 1 as content gold.

All of your content should address your personas throughout the buyer's journey. Each piece of content should cover something. Content that doesn't address any concerns (number 3) is, unfortunately, a no-go. Out with the old and in with the new!

"And remember: If it's not relevant, it's just noise." Jason Miller

Buyers aren't interested in fluff. You will need to beef up content that was lacking and replace fluff content. Content that doesn't address any concerns will need to be rewritten or chucked altogether.

Before chucking content, make note of how the content was being used (whether it was in printed collateral, in a video, on the website, etc.) so that it can be replaced.

STRATEGIZE


Revisit your master list. First, check off items that were content gold. Those items are safe for now. Then, check out the last used date column.

Take a look at the content that hasn't been used in 3 months. Is that the same content that didn't address prospect concerns? Most of the time without even knowing it, we weed out bad content ourselves. If it has been ineffective, we stop using it.

Second, revisit the personas' concerns that hadn't been addressed. With each individual persona in mind, think about where they go for information. How would their concerns best be addressed?

Do they read blogs, search Google, or visit a particular social platform? Make a list of the items needed to address their concerns. Creating each persona's missing content is THE top priority.

Third, notate the items you decided needed to be reworked or replaced. Now, looking again at the last used column, prioritize the list by those items used days ago (putting them first), and then the items used last week (putting them next), and those last used a month ago (putting them last).

What you are left with is a prioritized to-do list. Start with the missing content and then move on to the content that needs to be reworked or replaced. Set a realistic goal for yourself to have each piece of content completed.

As your company grows and evolves and your industry and personas change, you will need to revisit the effectiveness of your content to prevent it from getting stale. Repeat this process as needed to keep your content relevant.

I'll leave you with this final quote by Michael Brenner. "Behind every piece of great content is a marketer, publisher, author who passionately and empathetically sought to help his or her audience. But how do you teach empathy to an executive who has none? The answer is fear. You have to show them that if you don't create the best answer to your customer's questions, someone else will."

A little fear can be healthy, don't you think. ;)

Still stuck?! Click the button below to tell us more about your content woes. We're here to help. :)

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