Just for fun, I’m going to challenge my assertion that there are six questions that your content creator must ask you before creating content.
I ought to know about these six questions. As a content marketing expert, I wrote the book on the topic.
If you haven’t read the e-book, the six questions are:
- Target Audience?
The idea is that your content creator hosts a kickoff session, asks you the six questions, and only then starts to create the content in question—the blog post, case study, or whatever.
Are the six questions overkill?
But simplicity advocates may argue that those six questions are five questions too many.
Analysis paralysis may prevent you from moving forward at all, much less realizing your content creation goal. Perhaps you should be more efficient and just put pen to paper and, as the shoe people say, just do it.
I found a content marketing expert who agreed with this assertion, and wrote a post entitled “In marketing, move quickly.”
That content marketing expert was…well, it was me.
I ran across a local company (which I will not name) that issued a press release in December 2021. In part, the press release mentioned the local company’s new dedication to the marketing function.From https://bredemarket.com/2022/03/23/in-marketing-move-quickly/
The company had hired an international marketing firm “to develop comprehensive marketing strategies….We expect their work to incorporate a website redesign, brand refresh, new strategic messaging and content, as well as focused video and digital campaigns.”
So, when I wrote the “In marketing, move quickly” post three months later, what had this international marketing firm accomplished in the interim?
The website has a full slew of data sheets on the company’s products, and I found a 2017 brochure that effectively served as a white paper. But that’s it; no other white papers, and no case studies describing happy customers’ experiences.
The company’s YouTube channel has two videos from 2021.
The company’s Facebook page hasn’t posted anything since 2017.
Neither of the company’s LinkedIn pages (yes, the company has two LinkedIn pages) has any posts.From https://bredemarket.com/2022/03/23/in-marketing-move-quickly/
Now I have no visibility into this particular company, but I’ve been around the block to guess that the international marketing firm was probably still in the analysis stage, optimizing synergies according to “out of the box” criteria, to ensure bleeding-edge revenue maximization.
No, the six questions aren’t overkill
After reviewing what I wrote before in that blog post, I realize that my e-book lacks a very important point.
Don’t spend three months answering the six questions.
I shouldn’t HAVE to say this, but perhaps it’s safer to explicitly say it.
Now practices can very from consultation to consultation, but it’s very likely that a content creator and their client can breeze through those six questions in half an hour or less.
Or maybe the client can answer the questions on their own before the meeting.
If your content marketing expert schedules six one-hour meetings (or worse still, workshops) to address the six questions, run away!
(Is the content marketing expert billing by the hour?)
And the six questions create a content strategy
There’s something else that I failed to explicitly say in my e-book.
Not only do the answers to the six questions benefit that one piece of content, but they benefit everything else that your company does.
For example, let’s say that a content marketing expert is working with a gourmet ice cream shoppe (not a shop, but a shoppe), and the proprietor (Jane Cold) answers the “how” question as follows:
At Jane’s Gourmet Ice Cream Shoppe, we keep the internal dining temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that our guests enjoy ice cream as it was meant to be enjoyed. We inform our guests of our temperature policy beforehand to ensure they bring proper attire.
Now let’s say that the piece of content in question is a social media post describing a new farkleberry ice cream flavor. (Thanks, Live Eat Learn.)
While the content marketing expert will use the answer to the “how” question to create the content, the ramifications go far beyond the social media post itself.
- Perhaps the new flavor could be branded “Frigid Farkleberry” to suggest how the ice cream should best be enjoyed.
- Maybe in addition to branding, the “how” answer may even influence pricing. Perhaps prices incorporate the number “32,” as in a single-scoop price of $4.32. (Yes that price is high, but after all this is an ice cream shoppe.)
And what of future social media posts?
Let me clue you in on a little secret: once your content marketing expert has asked the six questions for the first piece of content, the kickoff is much quicker for subsequent pieces of content.
Chances are the basic “why” and “how” won’t change, although some of the later questions such as the target audience could change for each individual piece of content.
So without explicitly trying to do so, the six questions have created a de facto content marketing strategy. After creating five pieces of content, you’ve essentially defined your company’s mission, purpose, and differentiators, and may have defined as many as five separate vertical markets along the way.
Not a bad investment of thirty minutes of time.
(But a terrible investment of three months of time.)
An exercise for you
Normally this is the point where I’d tell you to contact me if you want to use Bredemarket’s content marketing expertise. But this time I’m going to do something different.
- Why don’t you think of a piece of content you want to create?
- Once you’ve decided on that, why don’t you ask yourself the six questions?
- Once you have the answers, why don’t you see what type of overall content marketing strategy you can shape, solely based on those six responses?