After you’ve compiled the thorough inventory of your organizations content marketing efforts during the audit stage, the next step is to really listen to the feedback on those efforts. I call this the Listening phase because we need to not only listen to what our data and analytics tools have told us — the part of this phase that usually gets the most attention—but we also need to listen to what the market is telling us, what our customers are telling us, and what our partners within our organization are telling us. This stage can get really complicated very quickly, so I’m going to give an overview of some key areas to investigate and questions to ask. If you work for a large organization, you’ll likely have resources and teammates who can help you answer these questions and provide perspective, but for smaller organizations, where you’ll need to do the investigating yourself, you’ll probably need to take a less in-depth approach and choose where to focus your efforts.
Let’s start with market insight, or market intelligence. Whether you work for an organization with a dedicated market intelligence department or you are doing your own research, there are key areas where you’ll want to understand the landscape so you know how your content compares (and competes). Questions you should be asking at this stage include:
- What is the competition doing and how is that manifesting through their content?
- What are the big trends in our industry? How are megatrends, like new technologies, impacting our industry?
- What are the market opportunities for our organization (and which ones have we been pursuing or will we pursue in the future)?
- What are our strengths as an organization?
We all know quantitative data is critical, but don’t ignore the qualitative data you can gather from your stakeholders and what they’ve seen first hand and in talking to customers.