Your business has a solid inbound marketing strategy in place and your goal is to produce one new content offer per month to drive traffic and lead generation.
The strategy sounds good on paper, but the reality is: it takes a lot of work to plan and create content offers that convert and are useful.
What Makes a Good Content Offer?
A good content offer should help provide your audience with answers to their questions or solutions to a problem they are trying to solve. It should not be a description of your product or service.
Don't you love it when you type a question into the Google search bar and results return with educational ebooks, whitepapers, or blog posts that help to answer your question? I know I do. Your goal should always be to delight your audience by producing content that helps them learn something new or find a solution.
Here’s an example: as a veteran marketer and agency owner, I know from experience that employees can be more productive if they are offered a flexible work schedule. I wanted to get some insight on the topic from industry and thought leaders, so I typed the question, “Why should I offer my employees a flexible work schedule?”
In addition to several articles on the topic from top business management resources, I also found this helpful Guide to Planning and Implementing Flexible Work Schedules from MIT. This guide gives details on not only why employers should consider flexible work schedules, but also gives recommendations on how to implement a program—the why and the how. This is exactly the type of content offer that could keep a visitor like me coming back for more. That's content marketing at its finest.
What Solution is Your Audience Looking For?
From this example, put yourself in the prospects shoes and brainstorm the questions they may be asking to help solve a problem. Do they need to increase productivity or improve a situation? Do they need to learn how to do something? What type of content would best serve them?
Once you have identified the key questions to answer, then you can start searching with these questions and analyze existing content that's out there. You will also discover if there is a gap and a need for information on a topic. If the topic has already been written, could your business provide a unique point of view?
Your Actual Customers (and Your Sales Team) Are Valuable Assets
Whenever possible, interview prospects and customers to understand their pain points. Some of your best content can come from answering your customers questions. Ask your sales team what questions they are most often asked by prospects to get more insight. Collaboration between sales and marketing can produce big results.
Develop an Outline and Do Keyword Research
From there, write the outline for your content offer. At this stage you should also do keyword research on phrases to include in your content and determine the best format: ebook, whitepaper, tip sheet, etc. To help identify the offer format consider the stage of the buying cycle.
Once you’ve defined your content theme and the format, think about the offer in terms of a campaign. How will you communicate your offer on social media and through email? Thinking through every step, beforehand, can cause new ideas to emerge during the content creation process.