I’ll do anything to avoid coming up with ideas for our blog. I’ll check email ten times in ten minutes. I’ll convince myself I need to wrap up a (not) pressing client need. I’ll clean my desk. Anything to avoid the blank page, I’ll do.

What we used to call ‘blogging’ is now called Content Marketing. A content marketing strategy can transform your business. It allows you to use your online platform to position yourself as an industry leader, and few tasks carry the most bang for your buck. Producing interesting material is the goal. You want to answer relevant questions. You want to provide solutions to customer problems. You want someone to walk away saying “that was half-interesting.”

But before that you have to get started. And man, it’s hard.

Learning to Fly

So, where do you begin? We’re believers in keeping it simple, so here’s a way to easily get your first ten ideas onto your content marketing strategy’s blank piece of paper.

No one spends more time with your clients or potential clients than your salespeople. They’re the first to know the kinds of questions that are being asked, as well as what concerns and obstacles your customers want to overcome.

Ask your salespeople to help identify what top questions and concerns your clients have, then winnow those down to the ten most pressing. By focusing on the questions first, you can start drafting the topics you will cover in your content marketing strategy.

The Stories We Could Tell

Let’s look at how a business like ours might go about developing a content strategy. We took 10 minutes today and came up with a list of questions that we get all the time just in one of our area of expertise (branding).

  • What do I get when I go through a branding process?
  • How long does branding take?
  • What return can I see from branding?
  • How can I measure return?
  • How much does branding cost?
  • What is the client’s role in a branding process? (I.e. what do I have to do?)
  • What happens after a branding process?
  • What questions does branding answer?

From here, your content marketing strategy starts to form. For us, some of these questions will turn into exclusive topics for posts, while some we’ll combine and turn into multiple posts. The point being they’re all important questions to people looking for our services.

The Waiting

By addressing the needs you know your customers have, your content marketing supports a larger sales and marketing plan. It may seem daunting, but if you start small, it’s doable. Use your salespeople, brainstorm your customer’s top questions, and start using your blog to answer those questions.

As these useful posts pile up, your blog will become a valuable resource for customers and potential customers — while building your own credibility as an expert. And remember: one great blog entry isn’t going to change things overnight. As you start forming your content marketing strategy, think long game. Because anything that’s worth anything in business is just that.

#RIPTomPetty