Content Listening, Not Just Content Writing

For those of you who have met me, you will know I like to talk, but as a once-upon a time student of Creative Writing sometimes I quite like putting my thoughts down onto digital paper.

This afternoon at The Content Marketing Show the views of Andrew Davies, COO and Co-Founder of idio caught my attention. He discussed how vital it is to build a content strategy on data and statistics, not just creative ideas formed from hearsay and stereotypes. Content strategy is one of those shiny phrases often thrown around in meetings, but is it all just powwows and letting off creative steam? No, stop talking for a moment and listen. Really, listen.

In this digital age that we find ourselves in, listening to your audience is not about basing your strategy on stopping people in the street and asking them questions. Why? Do you smoke? I do, but I tell my doctor I smoke socially, very rarely or “every now and then”. The best way to understand what kind of content people actually like isn’t to ask them (step awaaay from the surveymonkey) but to listen by monitoring their behaviour.

You may have classified your audience as sporty, but this isn’t enough insight. Dig deeper. Push content out relating to different sports and see which attracts the most engagement. Football Vs. Netball, Cricket Vs Hockey, what comes out on top? Say you discover that content looking at football gets 60% more shares than any other sport, don’t talk too quickly with tweet after tweet related to football, stop. Listen closer still and look at what is getting the most interest within this area. Pit the Premier league against League Two or focus on certain clubs, perhaps interest levels vary depending on the players within a team rather than their standing.

Your audience are your customers - they bring you the business you need to grow. So, as in all good relationships, know when to shut up and listen.