What happens before and after content creation may be just as important as the act itself. Content creation is a process. Below are questions a content writer needs answered at the beginning of that process. I will address what’s needed during and after content creation in upcoming posts.
Who is your audience?
Writers write for people. They want to know how familiar your audience is with your brand, product, or service. Share what you know about your customers’ preferences, interests, behaviors, and demographics. Knowing this, the writer can create content that best serves your audience’s needs and wants.
Content targeted to existing customers is different than that for prospects or first time visitors. The writer can help you decide if segmenting audiences is a good content strategy.
What are your business objectives?
If you want to expand revenues, sensitivity to the purchasing cycle is necessary. If your objective is to widen your reach to global markets or narrow it to a region, content can be customized to reflect that. Increasing brand awareness requires lots of relationship building through multiple channels including social networks.
What do you want your audience to do?
Think about it. Your answer determines content prominence, priority, and navigation. Each piece of content serves a purpose. Don’t confuse your intent (educate, influence) with audience action. The latter is measureable.
Who are your competitors? Or, what websites do you like?
Oftentimes companies avoid the question about competitors. I add the “Or” question for those squeamish or uncertain about competitors. Market research is important for content writers. Not so they can emulate your competition, but so to differentiate your company.
A favorite website can give a clue on what you like and the tone of voice you may be receptive to, if you haven’t already determined that.
Who will act as sources for information?
Finally, I ask for the names of subject matter experts within the company and whoever interacts most with customers. I also ask for the names of two or three satisfied customers who are willing to share their stories.
Not until I have the answers to these questions do I begin the tangible aspect of content creation. Do you need help getting the content creation process started?