Social Media: 9 Questions To Ask Your Customers When Creating Content

Social Media Cartoon 999In a recent blog post titled “Social Media and the 3 New Pillars of Marketing?”  I mentioned that content is one of the  key pillars that can position your company as a “thought leader” in your market segment and help you provide solutions to your customers problems. So now we need to start looking more closely at what are the important facets of creating, re-purposing, promoting and delivering  content online.

 

So what are the three key components for content in a social media world?

  1. Creating Content
  2. Re-Purposing existing offline content for online
  3. Promoting and Delivering the content

Today I would like to have a look at the first key strategy  “Creating Content”.

Firstly you need to define who your your audience is as shown in the diagram in a guest post on Mashable below courtesy of  Lee Odden of Top Rank Blog

 

 social-media-seo-roadmap Lee Odden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or as David Meerman Scott brands them in his Book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR”…. Persona’s.. So in essence persona’s are  “the short biography of a typical customer”. Which can be profiled by asking some questions.

  1. Who are you selling to?
  2. What are their goals and aspirations?
  3. What are their problems?
  4. What media do they rely upon for answers to their problems?
  5. How can we reach them?
  6. What things are important to them?
  7. What words and phrases do they use?
  8. What are they really buying from you?
  9. What images and multi-media appeal to each persona?

To find this out you need to do things like

  • Check out blogs where they hang out
  • Read the publications they read
  • Look at the agendas of the conferences and seminars they attend

So when you are writing , sourcing and creating content for your blog, website and social media channels you need to “walk a mile in your customers shoes” and provide solutions in your content for their problems that they face every day in their business. You need to talk their language and you need to have their segmentation in fine enough detail that when they encounter your web content they will then say…”they understand what my problems are and they can help me solve them”.   In most companies they will be engaging with several “persona’s” or verticals.

So what are your customer “persona’s? When they come to your website or blog do you help solve their problems by proposing solutions that makes them say “Hey these guys understand my problems and can help me solve them”  Would like to hear your experiences with developing content for your clients and has it made a difference.

Comments

  • http://mattarney.com Matt Arney

    I’ve been meaning to look for an article that gives tips on how to post content. I’ve got articles lined up and this blog just gave me very good information on how to go about it. I’ll surely go these “extra mile” for my customers.

  • Sherri A. Austin

    Jeff,

    Great post! I’m adding it to my Social Media toolbox.

    I’ve discovered some people can’t answer most of the questions listed above. They’re interested in Social Media because they want more of something (customers, revenue, etc.) OR because it’s the “hot” thing.

    Keep up the good work!

    Sherri

  • http://www.johnakerson.com/blog John Akerson

    On one hand, I think that you are absolutely correct. Everyone needs to consider that paragraph (when you are writing , sourcing and creating content for your blog, website and social media channels you need to ”walk a mile in your customers shoes” and provide solutions in your content for their problems that they face every day in their business. You need to talk their language and you need to have their segmentation in fine enough detail that when they encounter your web content they will then say…”they understand what my problems are and they can help me solve them”. )

    BUT ON THE OTHER HAND – I think it is absolutely essential to maintain the blogger’s voice. I think any writer needs some unique quality, style and VOICE that makes that person unique. I think it is a necessary component too. Call it voice, or call it personal branding, or call it style, but if there’s nothing unique beyond “they understand my problems and have solutions” then there is much less to be memorable.

    If you are memorable, you aren’t merely seen as a solution to solve ONE problem – you are seen as a go-to resource, perhaps a preferred source to solve the next problem too…

  • http://twitter.com/ness1124 Vanessaa Garcia

    Great tips on content creation and great questions to continually ask about your audience. The diagram is a great illustration of keeping the customer on top…a very value-centered approach! Thanks for these tools!

  • http://www.mortgageprospect.blogspot.com Courtney Hamlett

    I am the Social Media/ Marketing Manager for Digi Tech Studios. I have just sent a similar list to my clients to answer. I was shocked that most of the answers were left blank for me to discover.

  • http://www.magnificentageing.com Penelope Young

    Really helpful information Jeff. I’ve been focussed on writing my book ‘Happy to be Older’ which is nearing completion but I am starting to look for coaching clients and speaking engagements so finding this blog is fortuitous. Many thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Composing is the first act of writing. The process does not start with the actual “deliverable” – a college essay fully footnoted with a bibliography, for instance, or a fantastic blog post that goes viral on Twitter. You as composer must first spit out the ideas – what you’re going to say, what you want to sound like, how you’re going to phrase your point of view or frame the facts, and whether or not there is a larger agenda to your creative efforts. Rather than sitting in front of an empty word processor screen, hypnotized by the blinking cursor, try using an audio app like tinyvox and just rambling for a bit on the topic. Or find someone else who’s interested in the topic and tape yourself telling them all about it. Composing by talking is so easy and even FUN! As interactive human beings, we are caught in an endless loop of composition for one another whenever we converse. We just don’t think of it as “composing”, because for most of us conversation is an incredibly creative and spontaneous endeavor, particularly when we find a person to talk to who shares interests and culture and excitement with us.

    Interviews, being the interface between oral and written culture, are relied on by magazines as a dependable source of engaging content, and music and film and visual artists often have plenty to say about and beyond their works. Throw in a few current issues within the industry or the world at large, and merely by sending intelligent reporters out with microcassette recorders, magazines like Rolling Stone have been able to engage and retain subscribers consistently for decades with a minimum of editorial stress.

    Everybody having an interesting conversation about anything is composing. Tinyvox is a great tool for capturing the magic. Your ideas occur in a whirlwind – you need a tool built for the on the spot, on-the-fly, in real-time nature of your genius. If you capture your thoughts, later you will have options for deploying them. If you do not capture these moments, they simply whip away in the wind like so much dust. We propose that you use tinyvox in the moment, to tape the genius as it occurs. Later, even a week later, in a free moment at home, pull up the tape and a piece of paper or word processor (I use Stickies for the Mac) and take notes. On yourself! Yourself a week ago – a weird new type of time travel. It’s fascinating! You may say to yourself, “I want to type that up as a chapter in my book!”

    Having a conversation with tinyvox will make time fly. You’ll look down, and suddenly realize that you have 7 1/2 min. of conversation recorded. When you go back later to transcribe this tape, you’ll find that you have filled up page after page of text with the amazing words that you and your conversation partner shared, which never would have existed if you hadn’t taped it. Furthermore, you will add value as you transcribe the tape, of course. The written word is different from the spoken word, and your creation of a “second draft” off the tape will give you a chance to polish your composition for any readers you may wish to reach. You will also fill in the white spaces in your conversational logic the second time you go through it. When done, you’ll have a polished essay, based on a conversation that you had so naturally. With your tape as a seed, created earlier and nearly automatically, your writing just about anything instantly becomes a pleasure. And, of course, you have a pause button, which you should use constantly as you transcribe. If you go through your tapes after you have created them, you will never miss an idea again. You will also develop a reputation as a very, very prolific writer! (by the way, I spoke this out, then typed it up :)

  • Midgehand

    Nice post thanks for sharing.  The old adage “walk a mile in your customers shoes” is always good to be reminded about this – I think it’s an art that we all often forget but it is so very important if we are to help our prospective clients.  Going the extra mile is a personal motto of mine – and you find there’s not a lot of people doing that!  

  • http://twitter.com/sdltridion SDL WCM Solutions

    Nice. :)

  • http://twitter.com/sdltridion SDL WCM Solutions

    Great post.

  • HistoricFortMyer

    Wonderful insights!

    I just wrote a book and built a blog centered website to complement what’s in the book.   http://www.Historic-FortMyer.com  – seems that I’ve taken a different path than the article suggests.  Going to think about how to employ some of the suggestions.

  • http://twitter.com/murthyseoexpert Moorthy(SEO Analyst)

    Very useful points that needs to be follow while working for the customers

  • NaveenNanchari

    Great stuff…

  • http://twitter.com/createwithtate Ashlee Tate

    Fantastic article! Thanks Jeff

  • Zaheerabbasbaig

    Great one :)

  • http://twitter.com/GurbaxaniDotMe Prakash Gurbaxani

    Defining the “persons” is often overlooked. And more often forgotten when actually creating content. I always advise my clients to give the persona a name, and remember that all content they are creating are for that person.Love the diagram too.

  • http://ThoughtTab.com/ Jason HJH

    Good stuff, to add to this checklist, I’d include finding out the psychographics of your audience/customers.

  • WomenOutsideTheBox

    Or to be pedantic ‘personae’