5 Questions and 10 Ideas for Making Content Work

To get a return on their content marketing investment, companies need to understand how to develop highly relevant, compelling content that creates meaningful connections and, more importantly, moves audiences to action.

To be effective, your content must multitask:

  • Engage your audiences and make new connections
  • Educate your audiences about your company’s products and services
  • Keep your company top of mind, especially in B2B marketing, with its long and complex sales cycles
  • And, last but not least, build the brand

Adding to the complexity, your content needs to take into account your customer personas and the context of each communication channel.

So, the question is: how do you know what content to publish in order to accomplish these things, while also staying true to your brand – both in subject matter and tone/style and creating value for your audiences?

5 Content Questions to Ask

The five questions below are designed to help you in planning your content topics to ensure they bring value, engage your audiences and consistently communicate your brand differentiators.

  1. What topics are in alignment with our brand? What topics do we have a stake in discussing? What is our core area of expertise/our top competency?
  2. What type of content would make our audiences’ lives easier? What information would help them overcome their most critical challenges?
  3. What type of content best communicates our value proposition and offers a “proof” of successful outcomes? This may include, for example, case studies, customer testimonials, lessons learned and best practices.
  4. What’s our culture and brand personality? Are we innovative, curious, high-energy, accessible, thoughtful, geeky? Is our brand an adventurous go-getter or a passionate altruist and advocate?
  5. What do we want our audiences to actually do with our content? Like it? Share it? Download it? Engage in conversations?

10 Content Ideas to Implement

Now, take it one step further and use the following ten ideas in conjunction with your answers to fill in your content plan even more.

  1. Talk about what projects your company is working on within the context of what your audience may find relevant and useful.
  2. Share a “day in the life” type of content – tell the story of your team at work and play, allowing your audiences to form a more intimate connection and, perhaps, begin to imagine what it’d be like to work with you or work for you.
  3. Showcase what’s happening in the world of your customers and prospects – share their victories and good news. You are sure to earn a brownie point or two!
  4. Link to your company’s tools and resources library – worksheets, templates, checklists, best practices, etc. Don’t have a resources library? This may be a good time to develop one.
  5. Remember, it doesn’t have to be all serious all the time – engage your online communities by including “edutainment” (or even pure entertainment) content.
  6. Share how your customers use your services or products. For example, did you just finish design and construction of a new student center? Show how students are using it!
  7. Report on emerging trends and industry news that affect how you do business and how it affects your customers’ world.
  8. Reveal interesting data, statistics and facts that are relevant to your audiences and support what you do for your customers.
  9. Develop an employee spotlight series to show how your team’s work supports your customers’ business.
  10. Think about the questions your customers commonly ask before, during and after the engagement and create content that addresses them. It allows you to speak to concerns and proactively overcome objections.

Use these five questions and ten ideas to establish a consistent, effective and robust content marketing program that gets better results. As a bonus, here are four content categories to consider when organizing your content ideas.

  • Foundational Content: This type of content is what your customers are looking for when exploring options for products or services that your company offers – content that’s related to your offerings and markets served and/or content that provides answers to common questions.
  • Insight Based Content: This type of content presents new ideas that your audiences may not be able to find anywhere else. Content that plants “new” seeds, provides true insights and covers topics that explore new ideas and trends.
  • Proof Based Content: Case studies, testimonials and customer and employee stories; content that covers best practices and demonstrates proof of expertise.
  • Technical Content: This is “make my life easier” content that provides information and educates your customers about what they need to do their job and do it better.

At Substance151, we assist companies in developing powerful brands, aligning brand touchpoints and maximizing the total marketing effort. Contact us at 410-732-8379 or, and let’s talk about putting what your company has to say in the spotlight.