One Question You Must Ask When Writing Content

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Sometimes, it’s hard to know what direction you should take. If you’re in the throes of beginning a content marketing strategy, I encourage you to take the time to develop a plan, designate a content lead and determine what metrics are going to determine your success. However, you have to get started, and I would recommend one simple question.

What does your audience want to read/watch/hear?

One of the bigger marketing failures of recent memory was the pushed download of U2’s album Songs of Innocence by Apple onto their users. WIRED commented that the marketing stunt should be “remembered primarily as a monumental blunder by the tech industry” as Apple found itself trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.

The idea of releasing a U2 album – a band, and brand, that Apple has enjoyed success with for over a decade – must have seemed like a good one from some angles. An exclusive offer, a splashy media event to set off new product offerings, and a fond recall to the early days of the iPod, a product that took the world by storm. It also had echoes of the industry-shaking release of Beyoncé’s eponymous 2013 album, which drove iTunes into a frenzy.

The problem lay in the fact that Apple had failed to determine whether its users even wanted a U2 album.  Content is only welcomed when it is wanted; content demands people’s time and attention. Content marketing depends on the relationship between the business and the consumer; it has to be mutually beneficial. You must be interesting; that is the benefit you are providing to your consumer.  So take the time to determine if your content is wanted. Think about how you can be helpful and compelling to your audience.

It’ll make a world of difference.

Photo courtesy of Flickr’s Rafa Gil