Here are but a few: 1. What are your company’s business objectives? Does the content you produce align with your business objectives? Be specific because it will help you create better content. Increasing sales in Europe is too vague to be a useful business objective for content generation. Rather, try to refine it; increase sales in Germany, France and the Benelux countries by X% during the next year by selling our ABC software solution into the financial services market. The more detail you can include in your business objectives the better content you will produce, and the better you will be able to measure the success of your content-centered communications program.
2. Who, specifically, are you trying to reach with your content? While the temptation may be to say “whoever will buy my product,” if you’re going to maximize the impact of the content you generate you will need to be very specific about the people you’re trying to reach. For instance, you might narrow it to include CIOs and senior IT professionals at banks, insurance companies, brokerage firms and other financial institutions in your targeted European countries.
3. What do your customers need? If you can clearly define the needs of your customers, then you can develop content that will be meaningful to them. Your customers will respond favorably to your content, and come back to you looking for more, if you can, for example, help them identify key problems they may face in the future and how to solve them. If your content becomes a key factor in their decision making process, then your company will be viewed as a trusted business partner and not just a supplier or vendor.
4. What type of content does your target audience want? This is vitally important in the creation of customer-relevant content. If your customers want to read in-depth technical information about how you solved a problem for another company in their industry, developing a light-hearted video might not be the best choice as a delivery mechanism. Content comes in all shapes and sizes, from white papers and technical documents to video and podcasts to eBooks and online slide presentations, and covers an infinite number of topics. Therefore, it is critical to align the type of content you create, and the information it contains, with what your customers are looking for.
5. Where do your customers go to find their information? Some people love Twitter. Others are addicted to Facebook. Some are YouTube junkies. Many prefer email and web sites. Still others, believe it or not, still read newspapers and magazines. If you’re going to effectively engage your customers in a meaningful dialogue, you need to present your content where they typically look for information. Otherwise, they'll never see your brilliant content. These five factors are by no means all you need to know to develop a comprehensive content-centered communications program, but they are integral to any such plan.