Today I wanted to reveal to you 5 questions that will play a vital role in determining the success of your content marketing strategy. Tap into them effectively and you’ll discover just how valuable content marketing can be for your business.

Around the web consumers learn more about your company, products and services through articles than through advertisements.

Let’s assume that for this blog post, your company is a Homeware / DIY store that sell items people can use to improve their home.

Focus On Value

Start by thinking about the value you can offer those interacting with your content.

It could be in the form of educating or providing advice, assistance or entertaining them by revealing another aspect to your business that is surprising. Consider building relationships through co – collaboration or by asking for feedback.

For example the underwear brand Bonds asked their customers to upload suggestions for new designs / patterns / photos to their Instagram accounts and tag the brand. The winning design was then actually made into a physical product.

Look at all of your current marketing collateral for your forthcoming or current campaigns. This can be videos, ambassadors, blogs, photographs, newsletters, contests, infographics, brochures, podcasts and print material.

It’s likely you’ll find out that the majority of it is focused on how great your brand is and amazing your products and services are.

Then sit down and ask your team these 5 questions.

1. Will this content retain our current customers?
2. Will it attract new ones?
3. Are they likely share this across their social networks?
4. Are they actively searching for it?
5. Will they value it enough to Like & Follow our social networks?

Those 5 questions are vital in shaping the direction of your content. But how might you answer them?

Remember, in this example we’re a Homeware / DIY store.

1. Will this content retain our current customers?

You could create a short video (even on your iPhone) which talks about the best way to save money on your electricity bill. This could involve having your lights on a timer, turning devices off at the wall socket or closing the curtains to keep the heat in. You could also then promote the new cost efficient solar panels that will reduce their bill, which you also have available in store.

2. Will it attract new ones?

Let’s assume it is summer and BBQ season is coming up. You could create a blog post reviewing the latest BBQ’s you have instore, including which is suited to which lifestyle.

If you have a big family, you might want the 4 panel set, if you’re going away for a holiday, they portable BBQ might be more appropriate. Be genuine and link all of the examples, through to your online store.

3. Are they likely to share this across their social networks?

If you create a downloadable guide to creating a treehouse (whilst emphasising you have all the required materials) this is something families might share with each other across their social networks.

4. Are they actively searching for it?

Use Google Trends (its free) to see the kind of information and topics people are searching for.

Are more people looking for “camping equipment” or “kids play equipment” – this should dictate the type of content you should then focus on in the future. Give people what they want, not what you think they’ll need.

5. Will they value it enough to Like & Follow our social networks?

Are you more likely to follow a brand that provided you with helpful reviews, handy guides and answered your questions, or one that constantly talked about themselves?

You Don’t Have To Do It First, You Have To Do It Best

In order to maintain the one-to-one conversation with your customers, like any relationship it requires hard work. The more visible you are across search, social media and the web in general, the greater your chance of converting and retaining customers.

But how can you create something new each day? What happens if you don’t have time or budget to generate your own content?

It’s the start of the week and there’s a weekly email to send. What can you include and how will it engage your current customers?

Consider curating.

Spend just 30 minutes a day finding videos, clips, quotes, articles and digital content that relates to the area of your business. It could be a video on how to prevent drilling cracks into a wall or an article about how to install light fittings. Whilst you haven’t created these, by sharing them you are passing on value to your audience.

The more often you do this, the sooner your customers will view you as a reliable source of information around a specific topic or market.

When they receive your email, they’ll know it will have something of value for them. It’s also a great way of expanding your relationships within your industry.

The ideal scenario is a mix of both, generally speaking the 80/20 rule applies – for every 8 pieces of content you create you share 2.

Remember, it all comes down to giving real value.