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A Content Formula to Save Time & Resources

 A Content Formula to Save Time and Resources From asking the right questions to using the right tools, learn how to get to know your audience before launching your brand.


I’m Suzanne McDonald
with Angles & Insights Marketing Consultancy, and I’ve got a formula that will save you precious time and resources.

Launching a Brand Used to Cost Millions

Let’s jump in the way way back machine to 1980, and the book Positioning, which actually is very high up on the Amazon list for marketing and startups. What’s interesting about Positioning is how they talk about how launching a brand in the Sanka Coffee era is really expensive. It cost millions.

So what typically would you do during that timeframe? You would get a Yellow Pages ad, you would maybe do a billboard, make sure that you were on the mainstream media.

Fortunately, today, we don’t have to spend all that money and all those resources on that spray and pray technology.

Related: How to Choose the Right Advertising Media

Ask Your Customers What They Want

Today, it’s really important that you ask your customers what they really want. And how you can do that is simply by asking them what they really want.

A Content Formula to Save Time and Resources
Ask your prospects what their number one concern is.

Ryan Levesque has a great book out called Ask, and what he proposes is that you ask them what is their number one concern, what’s keeping them up at night. What are they willing to pay money for to solve their problems?

Get an Inside Look Into Your Prospects’ User Intent

From an SEO perspective, you can – and should – get an inside look into user intent and what keywords they use on search engines. That tells you what people are typing into Google, what question they’re looking to have answered.

Related: 4 Tips for Writing Effective SEO Content

So now that you have those vocabulary words, you know what your prospects’ user intent is. You know what’s keeping them up at night. You now know what to write about, what is really important for your content.

When I say content, I don’t just mean blogs, or your website, or off-line copy, but also social media platforms.

Use Facebook Ads to Refine What You Know About Your Prospects

Now, Facebook ads is a great tool for you to use to really refine that copy. Again what’s so great about marketing today versus 1980 is that we can test everything.

A Content Formula to Save Time and Resources
Investing small amounts of money in Facebook Ads is a great way to learn more about your audience.

So you set up a Facebook ad for very little money, you can hone in on the target audience, and then you can find out if they prefer this headline or that headline, this picture or that picture.

A hundred dollars in Facebook ads will clearly tell us what’s going to work well when you will invest tens of thousands of dollars in media advertising.

Related: Use Social Media To Get Customer Feedback

Use Google’s Tools

Another tool, once you know the vocabulary and keywords people are using is the Google keyword tools and Google trends.

They will tell you which ones are competitive, and where there may be gaps where you can quickly insert good high-quality content that will resonate with your target audience.

Related: How to Make Google Work For You

The other key point when you’re creating content – knowing user intent, trends, and keywords – is to write specifically for one person. And I have to credit Jonah Berger’s book Contagious for this, because if you’re writing for everyone, chances are it’s not really resonating with anyone.

Other Ways to Learn More About Your Audience

Hopefully you will have some opportunities to find out more about your audience and what resonates with them.

Perhaps this is done through one-on-one interviews. Now according to Chip and Dan Heath from Made to Stick, they recommend asking about your audience’s motivations three times. Why is someone coming to your website? What problem are they actually trying to solve? What are the underlying motivations behind that problem?

A Content Formula to Save Time and Resources
Interviews or focus groups are two great opportunities to directly ask questions to your audience.

Now that you know more about your target audience, you can look at the different social media platforms that are out there. Pinterest, for example, is highly geared toward women, and it’s almost like a Martha Stewart lifestyle magazine. Are you looking to engage with a younger demographic? Then you may want to focus more on Instagram and Snapchat. If you are looking to do B2B, or business-to-business, LinkedIn and Slideshare are definitely great choices.

Use this formula to save your startup precious time and resources.

3 Keys to a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

About Suzanne McDonald

Former Boston Globe journalist and CEO of Angles & Insights marketing consultancy, Suzanne is an omnivore of all things new media & client success. She’s pioneered award-winning courses at area universities and digital marketing campaigns, including “Best Viral Video Award” for #Ticknado.

Suzanne also founded and curates Newport Interactive Marketers networking-learning community, providing marketing insights to SEOs, social, PR & content pros and to brands and nonprofits big and small.

Suzanne holds a master’s in Mass Communications and Journalism from University of South Carolina and engineered a BA into a journalism program at Framingham State University, magna cum laude.

She has 15 years’ experience at daily newspapers, 6 at The Boston Globe, until she took a voluntary buyout to launch Designated Editor in 2008. In 2015, Suzanne launched Angles & Insights to better reflect her expanded abilities to meet clients’ needs beyond SEO, social & content.

Suzanne has a rare ability to solve clients’ root problems with technology that removes guesswork and makes employees’ lives better. Current Angles & Insights projects harness technology – like CRM, marketing performance, and Analytics – to drive not just clicks and engagement but sales and brand loyalty.