Six Questions Your Content Creator Should Ask You: the e-book version

I love repurposing.

So I’ve repurposed my October 30 blog post into an e-book.

This gave me an opportunity to revisit the topic and add critical information on wildebeests, George (H.W.) Bush, and Yogi Berra.

But more importantly, it allows me to share my thoughts with a wider audience.

If you missed the October blog post, I state that there are six critical questions that your content creator must ask before creating content These questions apply whether your content creator is a consultant, an employee at your company, and you yourself.

The e-book discusses each of these six questions:

  1. Why?
  2. How?
  3. What?
  4. Goal?
  5. Benefits?
  6. Target Audience?

And as I note in the e-book, that’s just the beginning of the content creation process.

Whether you intend to use Bredemarket as your content creator, use someone else as your content creator, or create your own content, the points in this e-book are helpful. They can be applied to content creation (case studies, white papers, blog posts) or proposal work, and apply whether you are writing for Inland Empire West businesses or businesses anywhere.

And if you read the e-book, you’ll discover why I’m NOT sharing it on the Bredemarket Identity Firm Services LinkedIn page and Facebook group.

You can download the e-book here. And you can be a content marketing expert also.

Six questions your content creator should ask you

If you want a content marketing expert to write for your business, do you just say “Write this, and make it viral”?

Not THAT viral. (Too soon?) By Alexey Solodovnikov (Idea, Producer, CG, Editor), Valeria Arkhipova (Scientific Сonsultant) – Own work. Scientific consultants:Nikitin N.A., Doctor of Biological Sciences, Department of Virology, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University.Borisevich S.S. Candidate of Chemical Sciences, Specialist in Molecular Modeling of Viral Surface Proteins, Senior Researcher, Laboratory of Chemical Physics, Ufa Institute of Chemistry RASArkhipova V.I., specialization in Fundamental and Applied chemistry, senior engineer, RNA Chemistry Laboratory, Institute of chemical biology and fundamental medicine SB RAS, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=104914011

Six words of instruction will not result in great content.

Even if you just say “Write this” and leave off the viral part, this will not work either.

You and your content creator have to have a shared understanding of what the content will be.

For example, as I indicated in a previous post, you and your content creator have to agree on the tone of voice to use in the content. The content creator could write something in a tone of voice that may not match your voice at all, which would mean that the content would sound horribly wrong to your audience.

Imagine a piece for financial executives written in the style of Crazy Eddie. Ouch.

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml6S2yiuSWE

And that’s just one thing that could go wrong when you and your content creator are not on the same…um, page.

Bredemarket’s content creation process includes six questions

When Bredemarket works with you to create content, I use a content creation process. I’ve revised my original content creation process several times, and I’m sure I’ll revise it more as I work with more of you.

But as of today, Bredemarket’s kickoff meetings with clients begin with six high-level questions that set the scene for everything that follows.

Question One: Why?

As I noted in my Simon Sinek post, the “why?” question needs to be answered before any other question is asked.

Before you ask a content creator to write a case study about how your Magnificent Gizmo cures bad breath, you need to understand why you’re in the good breath business in the first place. Did you have an unpleasant childhood experience? Were you abandoned at the altar? WHY did you care enough to create the Magnificent Gizmo in the first place?

(As I write this post, I’m going to look at how each of these six questions can be answered for the post itself. After all, it’s fair to ask: Why does Bredemarket do what it does? Short answer: because I write. You can pry my keyboard out of my cold dead hands. For the longer answer, read the “Who I Am” page on the Bredemarket website.)

Question Two: How?

You also need to make sure your content creator can explain how you do what you do. Have you created your own set of algorithms that make breath good? Do you conduct extensive testing with billions of people, with their consent? How is your way of doing things superior to that of your competitors?

(Now if you’re asking the “how” of Bredemarket, my content creation process is the “how.” After these initial six questions, there are other things that I do, and things that you do. Here’s how I create content of 400 to 600 words. Here’s how I create content of 2,800 to 3,200 words.)

Question Three: What?

Once these are clear in your mind, you’re ready to talk about the “what.” As Sinek notes, many people start with the “what” and then proceed to the “how,” and may or may not even answer the “why.” But when you ask the “why” first and the “how” second, your “what” description is much better.

(Again, you may be asking what Bredemarket does. I craft the words to communicate with technical and non-technical audiences. For additional clarification, read “What I Do,” which also notes what I don’t do. Sorry, finger/face/ID document vendors.)

Question Four: Goal?

Once the Golden Circle is defined, we’re ready to dig a little deeper into the specific piece of content you want. We’re not ready to talk about page count and fonts, yet, though. There’s a few other things we need to settle.

What is the goal of the content? Simple awareness of the product or service you provide? Or are you ready for consideration? Or is it time for conversion? The goal affects the content dramatically.

(In the case of this post, the goal is primarily awareness, but if you’re ready for conversion to become a paying customer, I won’t turn you away.)

Question Five: Benefits?

I’ve written ad nauseum on the difference between benefits and features, so for this question five about benefits I’ll just briefly say that written content works best when it communicates how the solution will help (benefit) the customer. A list of features will not make a difference to a customer who has specific needs. Do you meet those needs? Maintain a customer focus.

(Bredemarket’s primary benefit is focused content that meets your needs. There are others, depending upon your industry and the content you require.)

Question Six: Target Audience?

This one is simple to understand.

  • If you’re a lollipop maker and you’re writing for kids who buy lollipops in convenience stores, you’ll write one way.
  • If you’re a lollipop maker and you’re writing to the convenience stores who could carry your lollipops, you’ll write another way.

Now sometimes content creators get fancy and create personas and all that (Jane Smith is a 54 year old single white owner of a convenience store in a rural area with an MBA and a love for Limp Bizkit), but the essential thing is that you understand who you want to read your content.

(This particular piece is targeted for business owners, executives, directors, and managers, especially in California’s Inland Empire, who have a need to create focused content that speaks to their customers. The target audience not only affects how I am writing this post, but also how I will distribute it.)

What if you use a different content creator?

I am forced to admit that not everyone chooses Bredemarket to create their content.

  • Maybe you create your content yourself.
  • Maybe you already have access to content creators.
  • Or maybe you have a limited budget and can only pay a penny a word to your content creator. Let’s face it, a five dollar blog post does sound attractive.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use these six questions. I did publish them, after all, and they’re based on questions that others have asked.

If you create your own content, ask yourself these six questions before you begin. They will focus your mind and make your final content better.

If you have someone else create your content, make sure that you provide the answers for your content creator. For example, if you seek a content creator on Upwork or Fiverr, put the answers to these questions in your request for quotes. Experienced writers will appreciate that you’re explaining the why, how, what, goal, benefits, and target audience at the very beginning, and you’ll get better quotes that way. If someone knows your target audience is crime scene examiners, then you’ll (hopefully) see some quotes that describe the writer’s experience in writing for crime scene examiners.

And if you provide the answers to those six questions and your content creator says, “That doesn’t matter. I write the same for everyone,” run away.

You’ve probably seen the film. By Wikifan75 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29042440

Maybe the resulting content will even go viral. (The good viral.)

What if you want to use Bredemarket?

Or perhaps you’ve decided that you don’t want to trust your content to someone on Upwork and Fiverr, and you want to work with me instead. After all, I can help you with white paperscase studiesblog postsproposal responses, or other written content. (Well, unless the written content involves finger, face, driver’s license, or related identity services. There’s the day job, you know.)

Ah, we’ve moved from awareness to consideration. Great.

If I can work with you to create your written content, please contact me.

And to make our meeting even smoother, start thinking about the answers to the six questions I posed above.

Who’s laboring on Labor Day?

Bredemarket has always restricted its business to the United States. (Lately I’ve focused more on California’s Inland Empire West, but that’s another story.) So everyone in my target market is celebrating Labor Day today.

Theoretically.

It’s important to note that most other countries celebrate the contributions of labor on May 1, but for several reasons the United States chose a different day. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO page that explained this no longer exists, but I quoted from that page in a tymshft post a decade ago:

Despite the popularity of May Day and the appeal of an international holiday, the American Federation of Labor pushed to secure Labor Day as America’s primary celebration of its workers. This was due to the more radical tone that May Day had taken. Especially after the 1886 Haymarket riot, where several police officers and union members were killed in Chicago, May Day had become a day to protest the arrests of anarchists, socialists, and unionists, as well as an opportunity to push for better working conditions. Samuel Gompers and the AFL saw that the presence of more extreme elements of the Labor Movement would be detrimental to perception of the festival. To solve this, the AFL worked to elevate Labor Day over May Day, and also made an effort to bring a more moderate attitude to the Labor Day festivities. The AFL, whose city labor councils sponsored many of the Labor Day celebrations, banned radical speakers, red flags, internationalist slogans, and anything else that could shed an unfavorable light upon Labor Day or organized labor.

From https://tymshft.com/2012/05/01/the-american-perspective-on-may-day-or-i-am-not-a-commie/

So for over a century, most Americans have chosen to celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September.

Well, some Americans.

I took a walk.

My employer for my day job is closed today (at least for its U.S. workers), so I kinda sorta took it a bit leisurely, waking up at…5:35 in the morning.

You see, this is the last week of my company’s wellness challenge, and because of the current heat wave in Southern California, I wanted to get my walking in while the temperatures were still in double digits (on the Fahrenheit scale; that’s something else that Americans do differently than the rest of the world).

I didn’t take any pictures of myself walking today, but here’s one that I took Saturday while I was walking inside (at the Ontario Mills indoor mall).

At Ontario Mills, Saturday, September 3, 2022. It was about 25 degrees cooler inside than it was outside.

Other people were working.

But while I took my early morning Labor Day walk, I ran across a lot of people…working.

  • There were the people at the Starbucks in downtown Ontario, busily supplying breakfast sandwiches and drinks to people.
  • There was the woman at a 7-Eleven in Ontario, letting me hydrate with a cold drink. (She may have been the owner, but owners deserve a day off too.)
  • Finally, I passed two men who have been working on and off on a residential wall, and today was apparently one of the “on” days. I hope they’re not working in the afternoon.

The truth is that, even in the midst of COVID, the entire workforce can’t shut down entirely. Some people have to work on days when many people don’t work. Remember that even in “blue law” states, preachers certainly work on Sundays.

Me too.

But still my morning walk was somewhat relaxing, because even though it was a weekday, I didn’t have to end the walk by 8:00 to start my day job. So while I got my steps in, I did so somewhat leisurely.

So what did I do after my walk was done?

Well, I did Bredemarket work.

  • I renewed my City of Ontario business license. (Online, of course, since city offices are closed for Labor Day.)
  • Right now I’m writing this post.
  • And after I write the post, there’s an email that I need to send.

So I guess I didn’t completely take the day off either.

But at least I’m not buliding a wall out of doors.

Oh, and I work on Saturday mornings also.

Of course, since I’m employed full-time, Bredemarket itself is a weekend job for me. My official office hours fall on Saturday mornings, for example.

While this is work, in a way it’s not work, because it’s a refreshing change from my normal work. (And since I enjoy my normal work, that isn’t so much work either. If you’re not working at something you enjoy, then you’re working.)

And if you don’t enjoy creating written content, let Bredemarket help you create it.

I can help you with white papers, case studies, blog posts, proposal responses, or other written content. (Well, unless the written content involves finger, face, driver’s license, or related identity services. There’s the day job, you know.)

If I can work with you to create your written content, please contact me.

I’ve never written a case study THIS detailed

I’ll admit that the case studies that I’ve produced, either under the Bredemarket name or under other names, have been relatively short in the two-page range. This is why I usually recommmend the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service for clients who want my case study services.

But there’s no law that says that a case study has to be that short. If you want to create a 1,000 page case study, you’re certainly entitled to do so.

But what about a 17 page case study?

That’s the length of the case study that greenlining.org prepared on a program here in the City of Ontario.

Greenlining.org explains what the case study covers:

Since 2007, a coalition of residents, community-based organizations and the City of Ontario have been working together under the Healthy Ontario Initiative (HOI) to improve health outcomes and quality-of-life. HOI came together to address community health and build safe and vibrant neighborhoods, against a backdrop of high levels of poverty and chronic disease burdens. 

From https://greenlining.org/publications/2021/building-community-collaboration-tcc-case-study/

At 17 pages, the case study goes into a great deal of detail on a variety of initiatives, including Healthy Ontario and the Vista Verde Apartments near Holt and Grove. The apartment complex and other projects all fit within the goals of improving “health outcomes and quality-of-life.”

Read the case study for yourself (PDF).

Why does Your Inland Empire Business Need Case Studies?

When marketing your Inland Empire business to potential customers, you don’t start the conversation by talking about yourself. You start the conversation with a customer focus by talking about your potential customer’s needs.

And what better way to speak about your potential customer’s needs than by talking about other customers who have faced the same problem, and who solved the problem using a solution from your business?

A case study is one way to share another customer’s successes with your potential customers. Case studies can follow a format such as this:

  • The problem. Henry’s Horse Rentals couldn’t get any businesses because all of the people in Alta Loma who rented horses preferred dark green horses, and Henry’s horses were brown and black.
  • The solution (literally). Jane’s Green Widgets and Other Green Stuff offered an environmentally safe horse bath, Jane’s Dark Green Animal Bath, that turned the horses dark green, posed no health hazard to horses or people, gave the scent of a pine forest, and made the horses happy because they looked really cool.
  • The results. Once Henry’s Horse Rentals posted pictures of the newly-bathed horses on its TikTok account, renters formed lines around the stables, requiring Henry to increase his stable from three horses to seventeen. The fivefold increase in revenue allowed Henry to franchise his operations, bringing in more money and starting a worldwide dark green horse craze.

When potential customers read about the original customer’s success, they will want to do business with your company also.

But aren’t case studies only for large national firms?

National firms can certainly use case studies, and Bredemarket has written its share of case studies for large firms. But any company of any size can benefit from a case study. As long as you have a website or social media site to distribute electronic versions of your case study, or a way to hand out physical copies, a case study can start working for you.

Create the study, and at the end of the study encourage the reader to contact you for more information. (Or request the person’s contact information before letting the person download the case study, then subsequently follow up and see if you can help.)

There are case study writing services in the Inland Empire, and in fact there is one that I highly recommend. My own.

Should you use case studies, or should you use testimonials instead?

Yes and yes.

  • You can distribute a two-page case study that describes your company’s benefits to potential customers.
  • Or you can distribute a one paragraph customer-authored testimonial that does the same thing.

Or you can do both. On a high level, there’s really no difference between the two, which is why I often speak of casetimonials as a catch-all for content written from the end customer point of view.

How can your company take advantage of the power of case studies?

Bredemarket can help Inland Empire firms create case studies, in the same way that I have worked with national firms.

Let’s talk.

On gating casetimonials

In my Bredemarket consultancy, I’m involved in the creation of content for Inland Empire West and other businesses, including case studies / testimonials, white papers, and the like. But I generally don’t get involved in the distribution of the content. That’s for my clients to decide and manage.

At my new day job, I’m putting my fingers into both content creation and distribution, so I’m having to think about things that I haven’t thought about much before. For example, when you should gate content, and when you shouldn’t.

Bredemarket and gated content

Over the years I’ve created white papers, case studies, blog posts, and other content for Bredemarket clients. Some of this content has been “gated,” while other content has not.

By David Shankbone – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2808363

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of gated content, “gating” is simply a way to obtain some information about a prospect before providing content to them.

  • This blog post, for example, is not gated content, because anybody can read it and I don’t necessarily know who is reading it.
  • In other cases, companies (including some of my Bredemarket clients) require you to provide a name, company, email address, and possibly other information before you can download the content.

Why gate content?

The “Case Study Buddy,” (Joel Klettke), in a post that asks whether case studies should be gated, outlines why gating is sometimes desirable.

These days, you have to look hard to find a website that doesn’t have some sort of pop-up or downloadable resource begging you to surrender your email.

For this post, we’re going to call that “Gating” – putting a gate in front of your content that someone has to deliberately go through….

If the information on the other end is enticing and relevant enough and the source is trustworthy enough, then giving up your email might be a small enough price to pay.

From https://casestudybuddy.com/blog/should-you-gate-your-case-studies/

The “sometimes” comes into play when you consider where the prospect is in the sales process. If the prospect is in an early awareness-building stage, they might not be willing to surrender their spammable email to just anyone. If the prospect is further along, they may want to provide that email to a few top-of-the-line companies to whom they’re willing to talk.

Should you gate case studies?

There are different views regarding whether case studies should be gated, but Joel Klettke the Case Study Buddy definitely has his thoughts.

Case studies are HUGE credibility builders. When done right, they prove you can get results for people just like your leads. Not only that, but they reveal by way of example what a lead should expect when working with you.

I can think of no better asset to show a lead in the awareness and evaluation stages than a well-written, beautifully designed customer success story.

So why on earth would you hide all of that credibility-building power behind a gate that a lead will need to trust you to open?

From https://casestudybuddy.com/blog/should-you-gate-your-case-studies/

Case studies vs. testimonials

If you’ve been reading the Bredemarket blog long enough, you’ll note that I often combine discussions of case studies and testimonials into a single “casetimonial” discussion. After all, case studies and testimonials accomplish the same thing, albeit in different lengths, formats, and authorships.

Testimonials are often written directly by customers themselves, although a company (or an independent consultant!) could ghostwrite the testimonial. Because they’re usually much shorter, they don’t necessarily include all of the components that you could find in a longer case study. Although there’s no reason why they couldn’t. Take a look at this particular testimonial, which some of you may have seen before:

“I just wanted to truly say thank you for putting these templates together. I worked on this…last week and it was extremely simple to use and I thought really provided a professional advantage and tool to give the customer….TRULY THANK YOU!”

From https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-and-proposal-services/ (and other places)

Although there’s no explicit problem description in this testimonial, there’s an implied one. Since the testimonial author praises the template writer because the templates were simple to use, this implies that the pre-template proposal creation process was difficult.

Other than lacking an explicit problem description, the testimonial has the other aspects of a case study: identification of the solution that solved the problem, what happened when the solution was used, and the benefits of the solution.

Now a case study might go into much more detail, with extensive statistics and proof points. Testimonials usually don’t.

Should you gate testimonials?

No.

I can only think of one conceivable reason to gate a testimonial, and that would be when the testimonial contains sensitive information. For example, I doubt that most testimonials written by secret agents are publicly accessible.

“I just wanted to thank you for the Acme Long-Range Recording Device. Before using this device, it was impossible to record conversations in the Mordor Embassy. But after adopting this device, I was able to uncover a Nazgul plot and use Rohan agents to foil it. THANK YOU!”

From…nowhere, actually.

Now that’s a testimonial.

Are you opening the gate?

What content are you gating, and what content are you allowing to run free? And why? Feel free to comment.

Is Calendly customer focused?

Blake Morgan of Forbes just released his list of the top 100 most customer-centric companies of 2022. Why does he do it? Because he’s identified a benefit in a company having customer focus.

What is it they do? They make customers feel GOOD. That is why recent research shows that 89% of companies that lead with customer experience perform better financially than their peers.

From https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2022/05/01/the-top-100-most-customer-centric-companies-of-2022/?sh=244040502b38

If you want to initiate something at your company, it’s always good to note that it will help the company make money. Focusing on customers seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to learn how many companies focus on themselves rather than their customers.

I perused Morgan’s list of customer-centric companies and noticed that Calendly was on the list, in the B2B category. Since I use Calendly to set appointments for Bredemarket (more about that later, I promise), I thought I’d read further.

Calendly. Calendly was created to solve a common business problem: the hassle of scheduling meetings and appointments. The simple interface makes it easy for companies to schedule any type of meeting or appointment. Calendly saw huge growth during the pandemic as teams worked remotely.

From https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2022/05/01/the-top-100-most-customer-centric-companies-of-2022/?sh=244040502b38

Since Morgan was covering 100 companies, this three sentence description had to suffice. So I dug deeper and found a story (or, if you will, a case study) that showed how Calendly exhibits customer focus.

The problem with making connections at Conductor

Calendly’s website includes a case study page entitled “Enhanced customer support at Conductor adds value, boosts retention.” Conductor, one of Calendly’s clients, improves the organic marketing of its own customers.

As any good case study (casetimonial) does, the Calendly page begins by talking about Conductor’s problem. Here’s an excerpt:

Mergim Selimaj worried he had a problem. As the customer success manager at Conductor, he could see the company’s small accounts weren’t getting the personalized attention they really needed. As a SaaS company specializing in intelligent content and SEO improvement, Conductor helps companies customize marketing to fit their needs. Mergim needed to find ways of helping his reps deliver tailor-made service to match.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

Yes, a company that “helps companies customize marketing” faced a problem in customizing its own marketing for its small accounts. More importantly, it recognized the problem and realized that the problem needed attention.

So how was Selimaj going to focus on its smaller customers?

First, Selimaj had to identify the problem(s) to solve.

Reps spent hours just scheduling — not to mention re-scheduling — calls. A week of hectic service calls would come on the heels of months of limited activity.

Even when the service finally did connect with customers, they rarely had a clear picture of their individual needs. Some clients only needed to speak once per year, while others had hoped for many more touchpoints. There just had to be a way to spread meetings more evenly, Mergim thought. Meanwhile, the customer care team needed a way to know more about the needs of each client. If only there were a way for clients to specify the kind of help they needed, whenever they wanted.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

There’s at least three problems that Mergim identified:

  1. It was hard to schedule calls with Conductor’s small accounts.
  2. It was hard to know the customers’ desired frequency of contacts.
  3. It was hard to know the specific help that Conductor’s customers desired.

How would Conductor benefit by solving these problems?

Improved experience, and simpler ways of interfacing with customers, would only aid Conductor’s ability to deliver organic traffic and higher returns on customers’ tight marketing budgets.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

You probably noted that these were stated as benefits rather than features. If Calendly were to say, “We offer Scheduling Gizmo 2800,” Conductor could reply, “So what?” But when Calendly said that its solution delivers organic traffic and higher return on investment, Conductor paid attention.

The solution that Calendly provided to Conductor

So what three things did Selimaj do in an attempt to solve the problem?

He started by embedding a Calendly customer success scheduling page on the Help page of Conductor’s website.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

(Apparently you have to log in to see this page, because I couldn’t find it on any publicly available page. I’ll take Calendly’s word for it that this page exists.)

Second, Selimaj also created a scheduling link in Conductor’s app itself, to ensure that Conductor’s customers had easy access to meeting scheduling.

And third, he did one more thing: he instructed each of the company’s customer success reps to include a scheduling link in their email signatures.

I’d like to highlight two things:

  1. Now, rather than requiring the reps to spend huge amounts of time scheduling meetings, the scheduling process was now driven by the customers. When customers needed help, they could easily schedule meetings. When they didn’t need help, they wouldn’t schedule meetings.
  2. Also note that there were three ways for customers to access the scheduler: the web page, the app, and the email signature. Selimaj didn’t tell Conductor’s customers that there was only one approved way to schedule meetings. (And I’d be willing to bet that if a customer called a customer success rep on the phone, the rep would answer.)

So what happened?

The results

The article lists the benefits of Conductor’s Calendly implementation.

  • More tailored customer solutions via available information from integration with Salesforce, Slack and Trello.
  • Better service of large accounts as reps spent less time servicing small accounts.
  • Better engagement through quadrupling of customer contacts.
  • Maintenance of high customer quality, even as quantities increase.
  • Those quantities are increasing because of a 30% boost in renewals.

In short, Calendly’s focus on Conductor allowed Conductor to better focus on the needs of its own customers, thus letting Conductor make more money. And Conductor’s customers presumably made more money also. Customer focus benefits everyone in the B2B chain.

Can a customer focus benefit YOUR company?

Perhaps you own a business, large or small, that could use an increased customer focus and an elaboration of benefits that your company can provide to your customers. Part of this is the need to create customer focused content.

Maybe you, like Calendly and Conductor, have a story of your own you’d like to share with your customers. If so, consider working with Bredemarket (the Ontario, California content marketing expert) to create a case study.

Bredemarket uses a collaborative process with you to ensure that the final written product communicates your desired message. Bredemarket’s content creation process ensures that the final written content (a) answers the WHY/HOW/WHAT questions about you, (b) advances your GOAL, (c) communicates your BENEFITS, and (d) speaks to your TARGET AUDIENCE. It is both iterative and collaborative.

Often my clients provide specific feedback at certain stages of the process to ensure that the messaging is on track. I combine my client’s desires with my communications expertise to create a final written product that pleases both of us.

If you’d like Bredemarket to help you create a case study or other content, you can go to calendly.com/bredemarket to book a meeting with me. Or if you don’t like Calendly, there are two other ways to contact me:

Why the Toyota Arena’s square footage is unimportant in Zurdo vs. Boesel marketing…or YOUR marketing

There is a LOT going on in Ontario, California that escapes the attention of most of us. For example, only dedicated boxing fans may know what is happening here on May 14.

Former world champion and light heavyweight Mexican boxing star Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramírez (43-0, 29 KOs) of Mazatlán, Mexico, will face former WBA Interim Light Heavyweight World Champion Dominic Boesel (32-2, 12 KOs) of Freyburg, Germany on Saturday, May 14….The event will take place at Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA, and will stream live exclusively on DAZN.

From https://www.ringtv.com/638236-gilberto-ramirez-dominic-boesel-set-for-may-14-in-ontario-california/

So why didn’t I learn about the Ramirez-Boesel fight until a week after this April 22 announcement?

Because I’m not part of the target market for this fight.

The announcement that I quoted above was shared on The Ring website. Obviously people who visit that particular site are interested in boxing.

And the Toyota Arena is certainly promoting it. (“Zurdo” is Ramirez’s nickname.) Notice the prominent “BUY TICKETS” call to action. The Toyota Arena wants you to attend the event in-person.

And the DAZN streaming service is obviously talking about it and hoping that you sign up for the service. The yellow “SIGN UP NOW” buttons (two of them in this screen alone) are hard to miss. Unlike the Toyota Arena, DAZN doesn’t require you to be in person to view this fight.

DAZN website, Zurdo vs. Boesel streaming sign up.
From https://www.dazn.com/en-US/sport/Sport:2x2oqzx60orpoeugkd754ga17/abtjyjpn1btla7vxkzowzh5h5

What the Toyota Arena and the DAZN streaming service DIDN’T do when marketing the fight

Let’s look at one aspect of how the fight is being marketed.

Have you ever noticed that some companies believe that the best way to market themselves is to talk about themselves? They’re worse than a self-obsessed narcissist on a date.

Major Frank Burns (Larry Linville).
Major Frank Burns (portrayed by Larry Linville) of M*A*S*H fame. (Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan not pictured.) By CBS Television – eBayfrontbackeBayphoto front & release, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30082123

If the “my company is most important” people were promoting this fight, the Toyota Arena could have started its Zurdo vs. Boesel page with the text below.

Toyota Arena, built and owned by the City of Ontario, operated by ASM Global, can accommodate over 11,000 guests. The 225,000 square foot venue features 36 luxury suites located on two levels and a continuous concourse hosting a variety of concession and refreshment stands, merchandise kiosks, the VIP Club and other fan amenities. Toyota Arena hosts over 125 events annually including concerts, family shows, and sporting competitions. The Arena is home to several sport teams including: Ontario Reign (American Hockey League), Ontario Fury (Major Arena Soccer League), Aqua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (G League Basketball), and LA Temptation (Legends Football League).

From https://www.toyota-arena.com/arena-info/about

This text appears on the arena’s “About Us” page. Why not also put it on the page for the fight, to ensure that the readers see it and realize the sheer awesomeness of the arena, the City of Ontario, and ASM Global?

Why not talk about the arena at the beginning of the fight announcement? Because fight promoters are smart. Fight promoters know that to make a sale, they need to maintain a customer focus.

Let’s say that you’re a boxing promoter and YOU have to promote this fight. Which of the following two facts is more important?

  1. Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramírez has a boxing record of 43-0 with 29 knockouts.
  2. The Toyota Arena is a 225,000 square foot facility.

Now perhaps the janitorial staff that has to service the Toyota Arena is more concerned about item 2, but if you want boxing fans to buy tickets or streaming access, you’re going to aggressively promote item 1 and maintain your customer focus.

So what is MY call to action to YOU?

If I were to ask you, there is a high probability that you are not a boxing promoter. I know this because I’m not submitting this post to The Ring as a press release, but am instead sharing it in various Inland Empire West business channels.

However, there is a pretty good probability that you own or manage a local business, and you have your own news that you want to get out.

And this news must resonate with your customers.

  • Perhaps you want to share a customer success story, case study, or testimonial—a casetimonial, if you will. This document must appeal to your customers, speak to their needs, and ideally lead to them considering your company’s services or products.
  • Or perhaps you want to share a white paper that addresses your customers’ needs, but also drives them to consider your business. For example, you might distribute a white paper that lists seven critical criteria for customer success—and coincidentally, your company’s offering satisfies all seven critical criteria. (What an amazing coincidence!)

Regardless of your desired written content, you need the services of an Ontario, California content marketing expert who can work with you and maintain a customer focus in your content marketing.

Ontario Convention Center.
By Mack Male – originally posted to Flickr as Ontario Convention Center, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9512928

I, John E. Bredehoft, through my Ontario-based DBA Bredemarket, can write casetimonials, white papers, and other types of content, working with you to answer these and other critical questions BEFORE producing the content:

  • Why, how, and what do you do?
  • What is the topic of the content?
  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

After you’ve provided the relevant information to me, I’ll create the first iteration of the content, and we’ll work together to create your final content. The specifics of how we will work together depend upon whether you have elected the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service, the Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service, or something else.

When we’re done, that final content is yours (a “work for hire” arrangement).

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

Bredemarket content marketing services for small businesses in and around Ontario, California (the April 8, 2022 iteration)

A minor refresh to what I wrote on March 31, including an updated brochure.

Here’s the text I recently added to my home page.

Bredemarket presently offers its services to identity/biometrics, technology, and general business firms, as well as to nonprofits. I offer my services to firms in my hometown of Ontario, California, as well as firms in EastvaleFontanaMontclairRancho CucamongaUpland, other cities of the Inland Empire West, and throughout the United States.

From https://bredemarket.com/

This post concentrates on the services that Bredemarket can provide to businesses in my local area. Read on if you own a small, arty business in the Emporia Arts District of Ontario…

Ontario, California Emporia Arts District.

…or perhaps a larger, less arty business north of Holt in Ontario, or perhaps even a business in one of the other cities that I mentioned, or one of the ones I didn’t (sorry Narod).

There are a lot of local businesses out there

Even if you don’t count sole proprietors (such as myself) or freelancers, there are somewhere around 7.7 million businesses in the United States. (This figure is from 2016; I’m not sure if it’s gone up or gone down in the last five years.) Now if you include sole proprietors in the total, then you’re talking about 32 million businesses. (This particular number may have actually increased over time.)

Obviously I can’t target them all. Well, I could try, but it would be a little ridiculous.

So what if I took a subset of those 32 million businesses and tried to see if Bredemarket could serve that subset?

The local small business persona

When you want to market to a particular group, you develop a persona that represents that group. You can then develop a profile of that persona: the persona’s needs, aspirations, and expectations; the persona’s underlying goals and values; and perhaps some other elements. The persona may be developed via extensive research, or perhaps via…a little less quantification.

When I initially looked at this topic last September, I concentrated on a particular persona, but my thoughts on this topic have evolved over time. While I will still serve artists as I initially proposed last September, I’m now thinking of other businesses that can best use the type of content that I provide.

For example, the business may be an incorporated business that is based on the Inland Empire West, provides its products or services to customers in the local area, provides excellent service that is loved by its existing customers, and needs to get the word out to new potential customers by creating content that can be downloaded from a company website, shared via a company social media account, or handed out at a trade show or other in-person event.

Regarding the values of this particular persona, you can probably already deduce some of them based upon the customer love for the company.

  • The business puts the customer first and strives to provide services that satisfy its customers.
  • However, the business also prioritizes the well-being of its employees.
  • While the business may not have explicitly articulated a vision, its actions testify to a vision of excellent service, customer satisfaction, and care for employees.

But what does this business need in terms of types of content? For my example, these businesses are ones that need customer-facing content such as the following:

  • A document (online or printed) that explains the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides, and that discusses the benefits that the product(s)/service(s) offers to the customers. This document may take the form of a product/service description, or it may take the form of a white paper. For example, your business might issue a white paper entitled “Seven Mandatory Requirements for a Green Widget,” and the white paper just might happen to mention at the end that your green widget just happens to meet all seven mandatory requirements. (Coincidence? I think not.)
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
  • A document (online or printed) that tells a story about how an individual customer benefited from the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides. You could call such a document a case study, or you could call it a testimonial. Or you could call it a casetimonial.

These types of documents are more valuable to some businesses than to others. Your average convenience store has little need for a 3,000 word white paper. But perhaps your business has this sort of need.

How many words should your content contain?

When I originally wrote this last September, I started off by discussing my two standard packages, based on word length. But now that I’ve thought about it a bit more, there are some questions that you need to ask BEFORE deciding on the content length. (We’ll get to content length later.)

(Owen Lovejoy) How long should a man’s legs be in proportion to his body?”

(Abraham Lincoln) “I have not given the matter much consideration, but on first blush I should judge they ought to be long enough to reach from his body to the ground.”

Thomas Lowery, quoted at https://thelogcabinsage.com/how-long-should-a-mans-legs-be-and-2-other-lincoln-stories/
Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln. (Legs not shown.) By Hesler, Alexander, 1823-1895 – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID cph.3a36988.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18705107

So how far away is the ground? Let’s ask some other questions first before we determine the answer to content length.

Bredemarket’s initial questions for you

Before I create a single word, I start by asking you some questions about your content to make sure our project starts on the right foot. (Even though I am left-footed.)

Bredemarket Kickoff Guide header.

  • What is the topic of the content?
  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

Once I’ve asked you these and other questions (such as a potential outline), we will both have a good idea of how long the final piece needs to be.

The length of the content also dictates the length and complexity of the review process.

Returning to the content length question

Once we have a good idea of the content length, there are three options that we can pursue to actually create the content.

If your content consists of 400 to 600 words, then I create the content using the process detailed in my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-400-short-writing-service/

This has two review cycles with up to three days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service
If your content is longer, say 2800 to 3200 words, then I create the content using a similar (but more detailed) process through my Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-2800-medium-writing-service/

This has three review cycles with up to seven days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service
If your content falls between these two lengths, or is longer than 3200 words, or needs a more rapid delivery time, we’ll talk and come up with a solution. (And we’ll even come up with a spiffy name if you like)
For more services, see https://bredemarket.com/what-i-do/

If you can use my services, what are the next steps?

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

Bredemarket content marketing services for small businesses in and around Ontario, California (the March 31, 2022 iteration)

A lot has happened since I first wrote this description of Bredemarket’s local marketing services on September 1, 2021. Time for a content refresh.

The refresh begins with the reprint of the relevant text on my home page, which was just updated this week.

Bredemarket presently offers its services to identity/biometrics, technology, and general business firms, as well as to nonprofits. I offer my services to firms in my hometown of Ontario, California, as well as firms in EastvaleFontanaMontclairRancho CucamongaUpland, other cities of the Inland Empire West, and throughout the United States.

From https://bredemarket.com/

This post concentrates on the services that Bredemarket can provide to businesses in my local area. Read on if you own a small, arty business in the Emporia Arts District of Ontario…

Ontario, California Emporia Arts District.

…or perhaps a larger, less arty business north of Holt in Ontario, or perhaps even a business in one of the other cities that I mentioned, or one of the ones I didn’t (sorry Narod).

There are a lot of local businesses out there

Even if you don’t count sole proprietors (such as myself) or freelancers, there are somewhere around 7.7 million businesses in the United States. (This figure is from 2016; I’m not sure if it’s gone up or gone down in the last five years.) Now if you include sole proprietors in the total, then you’re talking about 32 million businesses. (This particular number may have actually increased over time.)

Obviously I can’t target them all. Well, I could try, but it would be a little ridiculous.

So what if I took a subset of those 32 million businesses and tried to see if Bredemarket could serve that subset?

The local small business persona

When you want to market to a particular group, you develop a persona that represents that group. You can then develop a profile of that persona: the persona’s needs, aspirations, and expectations; the persona’s underlying goals and values; and perhaps some other elements. The persona may be developed via extensive research, or perhaps via…a little less quantification.

When I initially looked at this topic last September, I concentrated on a particular persona, but my thoughts on this topic have evolved over time. While I will still serve artists as I initially proposed last September, I’m now thinking of other businesses that can best use the type of content that I provide.

For example, the business may be an incorporated business that is based on the Inland Empire West, provides its products or services to customers in the local area, provides excellent service that is loved by its existing customers, and needs to get the word out to new potential customers by creating content that can be downloaded from a company website, shared via a company social media account, or handed out at a trade show or other in-person event.

Regarding the values of this particular persona, you can probably already deduce some of them based upon the customer love for the company.

  • The business puts the customer first and strives to provide services that satisfy its customers.
  • However, the business also prioritizes the well-being of its employees.
  • While the business may not have explicitly articulated a vision, its actions testify to a vision of excellent service, customer satisfaction, and care for employees.

But what does this business need in terms of types of content? For my example, these businesses are ones that need customer-facing content such as the following:

  • A document (online or printed) that explains the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides, and that discusses the benefits that the product(s)/service(s) offers to the customers. This document may take the form of a product/service description, or it may take the form of a white paper. For example, your business might issue a white paper entitled “Seven Mandatory Requirements for a Green Widget,” and the white paper just might happen to mention at the end that your green widget just happens to meet all seven mandatory requirements. (Coincidence? I think not.)
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
  • A document (online or printed) that tells a story about how an individual customer benefited from the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides. You could call such a document a case study, or you could call it a testimonial. Or you could call it a casetimonial.

These types of documents are more valuable to some businesses than to others. Your average convenience store has little need for a 3,000 word white paper. But perhaps your business has this sort of need.

How many words should your content contain?

When I originally wrote this last September, I started off by discussing my two standard packages, based on word length. But now that I’ve thought about it a bit more, there are some questions that you need to ask BEFORE deciding on the content length. (We’ll get to content length later.)

(Owen Lovejoy) How long should a man’s legs be in proportion to his body?”

(Abraham Lincoln) “I have not given the matter much consideration, but on first blush I should judge they ought to be long enough to reach from his body to the ground.”

Thomas Lowery, quoted at https://thelogcabinsage.com/how-long-should-a-mans-legs-be-and-2-other-lincoln-stories/
Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln. (Legs not shown.) By Hesler, Alexander, 1823-1895 – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID cph.3a36988.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18705107

So how far away is the ground? Let’s ask some other questions first before we determine the answer to content length.

Bredemarket’s initial questions for you

Before I create a single word, I start by asking you some questions about your content to make sure our project starts on the right foot. (Even though I am left-footed.)

Bredemarket Kickoff Guide header.

  • What is the topic of the content?
  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

Once I’ve asked you these and other questions (such as a potential outline), we will both have a good idea of how long the final piece needs to be.

The length of the content also dictates the length and complexity of the review process.

Returning to the content length question

Once we have a good idea of the content length, there are three options that we can pursue to actually create the content.

If your content consists of 400 to 600 words, then I create the content using the process detailed in my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-400-short-writing-service/

This has two review cycles with up to three days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service
If your content is longer, say 2800 to 3200 words, then I create the content using a similar (but more detailed) process through my Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-2800-medium-writing-service/

This has three review cycles with up to seven days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service
If your content falls between these two lengths, or is longer than 3200 words, or needs a more rapid delivery time, we’ll talk and come up with a solution. (And we’ll even come up with a spiffy name if you like)
For more services, see https://bredemarket.com/what-i-do/

If you can use my services, what are the next steps?

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

And one more thing…

Scroll down to the bottom of my general “local” page for a special “locals only” discount code!