Interestingly, Brian and Mike’s answers seemed very similar and, in most cases, they complemented each other to give readers the big picture. However, there was only one question to which they gave opposite answers:
Q. How do you know what kind of content to write?
Brian: I don’t ask my readers directly; I rely more on observation (which is time-consuming, but it works for me). By reading other blogs and finding the gaps where content needs are not being met, I position myself to write the kind of content that fills those gaps, e.g. basic copywriting skills. The key is to find out what people are struggling with and what their desires are and then to provide those solutions in your content.
Mike: We’re big on surveying our audience (I use surveymonkey.com). We ask open-ended intelligence questions to find out what people want to read. For example, once we asked our audience, “What is the No. 1 question you want answered about social media?” Based on those answers, we decided to write a report (which now comes out every year, as we continue to do these surveys). This has brought tons of traffic to our site. So the lesson is to figure out how you can use open-ended questions to discover what your audience wants to read.
I guess you would agree with me that Brian and Clark are gifted content marketers. Which advice should YOU follow?
Here is the deal: when it comes to marketing in general and content marketing in particular, there are no rigid rules. Different techniques may work for different people.
As Brian beautifully puts it, he admits that his technique is time-consuming. Still, it works for him. That’s the timeless tip that I want to share with you today. Whenever you come across some expert’s advice, don’t just take it for granted! Take a minute to ask yourself: Does this work for me?
If you answered yes, then by all means go for it; but if doubtful, better be safe than sorry!
Now let’s discuss when it’s a smart move to apply Brian’s tips and when you should go for Mike’s advice.
If you are starting up, you probably wouldn’t have enough readers to survey. In this case, observation is your best bet.
Once you establish enough readership, surveying your readers can definitely produce reliable results.
At Garious, we actually strive to get the best of both of worlds: Observation and Surveying. But we do have an entire team dedicated to social media marketing.
If you have the time and resources to do both, great! If not, you will have to favor one technique over the other.
(You know, Brian’s tip got me thinking: he does have a huge subscriber list. So, why doesn’t he survey them? I would leverage them if I were him. In a previous article, I asked Mike a question and he was kind enough to answer promptly. It would be great if Brian satisfied my curiosity as well.)
For more content marketing tips, I recommend the following articles but, as you read them, please apply the “Does it work for me?” principle:
The key takeaway that I hope you get out of this article is to learn how to tailor experts’ tips and insights to fit your own unique situation. Doing that correctly requires an essential prerequisite: clearly defining your business objectives and accurately assessing where you are from achieving them today.
This way, you can always filter the experts’ tips you come across and only go for what works for you! Does that make sense?