Does coming up with content topics make your brain hurt?
Or on the flip side, do you have lots of topics you could write about…but nothing that will actually reach your customer?
Luckily, there’s a really simple way to come up with content that not only helps you easily generate even more topics but also drives your customer to you, primed and ready to buy.
Are you ready for it? Here we go!
1. What’s your customer’s core challenge?
Often health tech companies create content without thinking about the reason they built their technology in the first place: to solve a major challenge for their customers.
When they forget this, they develop content all about themselves – their funding, their new hires, their awesome company culture. But this content doesn’t do a thing for their customers, so those customers ignore it and look for someone or something who seems more focused on them and their challenges.
Instead, that core challenge your tech solves should be the focus of your content.
To do that, you have to think about their challenge and your solution as more than just a list of features and benefits that your tech provides. Try working through the following exercise to answer 7 different questions 7 different ways about their core challenge and to get further insight on their core challenge:
Write down their problem and how it affects their life
Write down the positive – how you solve their problem and how that solution affects their life
Write it down again but this time with no jargon or industry-specific language
Write down what their day looks like without your tech
Write down what their day looks like WITH your tech
Write down how this challenge affects their relationships
Write down how this challenge affects their work and play
Cool. Now that you’ve done that, give the same exercise to someone else on your team and have them do the same. The more perspective you can get on this the better.
Once you and at least one other team member have done this exercise, compile your answers to see if you find any interesting or helpful insights about your customer’s challenge.
This insight will help you develop customer-centric content…not content about you, and that turns into a powerful message you can use to amplify your mission.
This message is something you will bake into every blog post you write, each video you create, or each tweet you send.
Some examples of powerful messages that are both overtly and subliminally delivered through brand content are Nike’s “just do it,” Burger King’s “have it your way,” and SoulCycle’s “Take Your Journey. Change Your Body. Find Your Soul.”
And while these million dollar taglines are awesome and catchy and memorable, at this point, it’s not so much about having a million dollar tagline. It’s more about having a consistent message that is baked into every single piece of content you create.
The given that shapes the marketplace
Once you have this message, think about the given that shapes the marketplace. For a client of mine with a fertility tech product, the given is that almost every woman has a menstrual cycle and knowledge of that cycle affects her reproductive health.
How you reframe the conversation
Then, ask yourself, how do you reframe the current conversation? What do you do differently than your competitors that meets the need of your customer? My fertility tech client, for example, reframed the conversation by offering a natural solution that gave women in both the developed and developing world knowledge about their bodies and empowered them to prevent or plan for pregnancy.
How you do it
Finally, as part of the messaging, write out how you do it – what tools do you offer your customers to reframe the conversation and solve their challenge? Do you have a mobile app that solves their problem? Do you provide 1-on-1 coaching to them? Do you help them track and interpret data about their condition or their job? This is what differentiates you from your competition and gives you your unique edge to drive your message through the noise.
2. What are the three main pillars of that challenge?
The exercises above help you examine your customer’s challenge and your solution from different perspectives so you’re ready for this next step: discovering the sub-challenges, or pillars as I call them, underneath the main challenge your customers face.
For instance, it could be your customer’s challenge is they need a way to monitor heart health. The three sub-challenges would be how to continue to keep their heart as healthy as possible, how to enjoy a free lifestyle despite their condition, and how to get the knowledge they need to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
These pillars become the three main categories you create content around, and are like the swim lanes you see at the beach that keep you in the safe swim zone for your content. Once you’ve determined these, you can start generating the topics that will make up the bulk of your content.
3. What are the subtopics?
Once you’ve established your 3 pillars (you can have one or two more, but I suggest no less than 3 and no more than 5), those easily break down into narrower subtopics. To get you started with this, start asking who, what, when, where, why, and how for each of your pillars. This exercise will generate additional categories which can then break down into further subtopics.
This is all getting technical, right? I find it helpful to create a flow chart with your core message at the top, followed by the 3 pillar topics underneath, and then further divided into multiple subcategories below that.
As an example, when I do this for each of my clients, we end up with 40-50 topics under each pillar topic, so by the time we’re done, we have enough content for 3 or more years.
4. Determine the types of content each topic will fall under.
Once you know your topics, you can’t stop there. Think through the different types of content you can publish – blog posts, ebooks, customer stories, videos, long form social posts, infographics, etc – and decide which topics should be which types. You should be able to get more than one type of content out of each topic…meaning those 3 years worth of topics can turn into even more.
After you’ve created your topics, start by creating one blog post about your core message, and then one blog post for each main pillar topic. From there, work out which subtopics are the next priority, then begin filling out your content calendar. There are plenty of free tools out there, but I highly recommend using CoSchedule – it’s a simple way to keep track of your entire content calendar for everything from social media to blog posts to email blasts.
Let’s make this easier for you
I’ve created a free guide to simplify content planning. It’s exactly the process I use with my one-on-one clients and will get you developing targeted, mission-aligned content every single time.
PLAN CONTENT THE EASY WAY
Would you rather go to the dentist than plan content? Never again with my self-multiplying content cheatsheet!
WHO IS WHITNEY?
Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.
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