In our previous blog posts about setting goals, defining your target audience and conducting a content audit, we’ve looked at starting to implement an industrial content marketing strategy. Now we’re moving on to the more creative aspects of generating ideas and deciding on the topics you want to talk about.
Deciding on the right topics at the outset is very important. Putting time, effort and resources into badly chosen topics will mean that you quickly become discouraged and lose your enthusiasm. There’s also a risk that the results will turn your audience away, and lose your credibility, rather than helping you to achieve your goals.
Maybe that makes it sound as if choosing topics is rather daunting but it really isn’t! And remember, talking about the right topics will help you to increase your site traffic, generate more leads and engage with your industry. Not to mention boosting your sales!
What matters to your audience?
The key to choosing the right topics is to understand what matters to your audience. You know what matters to your organisation, but always bear in mind that this might not quite align with what matters to your audience.
You need to put your problem-solving hat on and offer solutions for the problems your target audience has in your industry sector. If you’ve done your research into your target audience, then you will be familiar with some of these tactics:
- Talk to your sales and customer service teams. Have an open discussion with them. They are interacting with customers and prospects on a daily basis, so they'll know what customers are interested in, what their challenges are, and what the questions are that they most frequently ask.
- Look at historical data and analytics for your own website. See what is popular with visitors at the moment. This will help you to identify customers’ needs that you can address.
- Do some keyword research – there are a gazillion questions asked on Google every day. In particular, see what search phrases have been used to find you and this may well suggest some interesting and useful topics for you to cover.
- Interview customers. Who better to tell you what customers are looking for than actual customers?
What’s your expertise?
There is an almost unbelievable amount of information on the Internet, so to grab and retain the attention of your audience, you need to create content that stands out, is unique and offers genuine value. The more you focus on your niche expertise, the greater your chance of establishing yourself as an authority.
There is sure to be lots of knowledge within your organisation that you can use to create content around helpful topics that tell your audience something they didn’t previously know or explain something they didn’t understand. Have clearly in mind the area of expertise that you want to ‘own’, become a thought leader and establish your organisation as THE place to go for information and solutions in this area.
What’s hot in your industry?
Newsjacking is when organisations/brands piggyback on news stories to draw attention to their own content. They don’t have to be national news stories. Particularly in technical B2B, piggybacking on industrial news can help you to reach interested audiences and have an immediate impact. For example, if you’re in the electrical installation industry, right now you could piggyback off the imminent launch of the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations. Or, if you’re in automation sector, Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT) are hot topics, as are robotics and AI.
Holidays, industry exhibitions, awards or awareness days also provide great opportunities to newsjack widely trending topics.
What are your competitors saying?
We covered checking out your competitor’s content in the last post, but the idea isn’t to copy them. Instead, try to identify and address content gaps that they’re not filling – but always stay true to your own brand; don’t be tempted to deviate toward what they’re doing. The best way to do this is to:
- Check what’s trending on Google Trends
- Explore which parts of your competitors’ content are getting links from other sites
- Discover which keywords are generating the most traffic for them
- Investigate who’s sharing their content
- Find out what are they writing about
Finally, whatever topics you decide on, remember that the focus is not about you! It’s always about putting your customers first. It’s not about broadcasting news of your latest widget; it’s about providing truly relevant and useful information to help your customers meet their challenges!
This blog is part of a series on creating a successful content marketing strategy. We’ve developed a template to help industrial companies create a content marketing strategy – download it below. Our next blog in the current series will focus on creating a calendar for your content.