Research, review, refine: prep for your content marketing strategy

You’re a marketer rebooting content in your business. You’ve got agreement from everyone you need to. So what do you need to do before you even start to think about your strategy and creating your content framework?


Become obsessed with your business and its people.

Forget everything. Ask a million questions as if you know nothing. See it afresh. Meet the leaders and individuals at every level of the company – why do they work for the business / why did they set it up / why do they come to work every day? Get them talking and make it personal. Follow the people who are dealing with customers until you become annoying. Cram your brain with insightful tidbits.

Get to know your customers and prospects so well that you dream about them.

Find out what they do in their spare time, what they love, what motivates them, what makes them laugh and cry, why they buy you – and why they don’t. How many new customers do you need this year? Write it on a board and start the countdown today to create momentum.

Look up from your business and out at the world.

Identify the big trends and upcoming events that will impact your customers. Think beyond Trump and millennials. What if we no longer eat meat? We move to Mars? Cancer is cured? Social media booms and busts? Every service becomes a product and every product becomes a service? What are people in your industry not talking about yet that they will do?


It’s time to get granular so that your plans work. 

Look at all your marketing and rate it. What was worthwhile and why? How can you measure things better? What data do you have on customers and the customer journey? What else do you need and how will you get it?

Map out the key events that will impact your marketing over the next year, two years, five years.

Map out who uses marketing in your business – and who should and could be using it.

See what your competitors are talking about and ignore it: there is little value in being the same. See what businesses outside your industry are doing and decide what you can learn from them.


Brainstorm the big stuff.

What is your purpose? Not for this year. Forever. What was the need your business was set up to address? How will the world be different if you achieve your goal? You should already have this but, when it’s so key to success today, it’s worth reviewing and refreshing.

Similarly, review your brand story, your point of differentiation and your tone of voice. How can you better communicate what makes you unique? List what you are, and what you aren’t. Consider how you can imbue personality into everything you do.

Based on all this, write up your refreshed purpose, story, point of differentiation and tone of voice. Update your customer profiles. Refine again. Share with someone you trust for a fresh perspective on clarity and accuracy. Share with your stakeholders. Take on feedback while sticking to your guns. You know what’s best.

In brief, these are the steps to take before you even get to writing your content marketing strategy. When it comes to marketing, this is the stuff that gets your brain buzzing so one final tip: enjoy.

This blog looks at Stage 1 of LightningBug’s 5 content marketing stages.

Sign up to my newsletter to read our upcoming blog on Stage 2 as soon as it comes out. 






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