In a world where consumers have grown weary of disruptive ads and sales posts, content marketing has emerged as an alternative way for businesses to get eyes on their products and services. Unfortunately, many businesses get caught up with the marketing, but they don’t pay enough attention to the content they create and publish. Content marketing is not about singing your own praises, contrary to what some people believe. It’s all about using a variety of content to solve problems – the same problems your product or service addresses.

When you produce meaningful, actionable content, you establish yourself as a thought leader. You have an opportunity to show your audience how you can make their lives better or make it easier for them to do their jobs. Whether you present your information in the form of a blog, video, podcast or infographic, it should be original and valuable. There are many myths surrounding content and if you believe them, you could be churning out content which won’t help you reach your goals. Let’s look at some of the things you need to keep in mind when planning your content in 2020.

Content Creation is Not About Advertising

Many brands are spending more time and money on content creation, but you shouldn’t see it as just another way to advertise. Your content shouldn’t be heavily promotional, and it shouldn’t be designed to sell directly to the customer. Rather, it should spark interest and build a relationship with your target audience. When you publish original, high-quality content which helps the consumer in some way, you build up your reputation as an expert in your industry. Regardless of which types of content you create next year, your focus should be on offering value.

Content Creation is Not About You

Many businesses fall into the trap of focusing on themselves when they establish a web presence. However, this doesn’t reap much success. When creating content in 2020, you need to adopt the customer’s mindset. Sure, you’ll talk about your products or services sometimes and add a clear call to action, but your achievements should not be the focus of your content. Your editorial calendar must be filled with topics that appeal to your customers and they should feel inspired to like and share your content.

You Need to Get to Know Your Audience

How do you know what your target market will want to read, like and share? You need to get a detailed picture of them. Get to know both your current customer base and the buyer persona of who you want your new customers to be. Know their age range, income status, educational level, and aspirations. The only way you will be able to create truly helpful content in 2020 is to think like your audience.

All the usual types of research can be helpful in getting a better understanding of your audience. This means you can use surveys, polls, interviews, and focus groups. However, you should also follow them online. One reason for doing this is that it provides an opportunity for you to analyze the things they post, re-share and comment on. This will help you to identify the types of content they like. However, following your target customers and even commenting on their posts has an added benefit. It makes them feel important and they may volunteer information without you even having to ask for it. You will never regret meeting your audience where they are.

Consumers Want Actionable Content in 2020

You can’t just publish content haphazardly and hope for the best in today’s competitive market. Once you know who makes up your target audience, you can begin to provide information which solves their problems. What are your customers struggling with every day? Is there a challenge that they just can’t seem to overcome? Present them with the help they’ve been looking for.

Whether you repair roofs or provide legal services, you need to show your audience that you have the solution they need. Even if you’re in a more discretionary market like beauty services or luxury retail, you can provide actionable content. Show your prospective customers how you can fulfill their desires and make them look or feel better. Regardless of the field you’re in, your customers will appreciate it when you offer them helpful information.

It’s important to remember that not all your customers are the same and not everyone likes the same type of content. Some members of your audience will enjoy reading blog posts, long-form articles, and case studies. Others prefer infographics and videos while others want a podcast they can listen to while they commute to work. You don’t have to create every type of content imaginable, but you do need to provide what your audience wants.

Consider Outsourcing Your Content

If you’ve tried creating content internally but felt it was too time-consuming or difficult, you should think about getting someone outside the company to assist. It will be easier for a professional content writer to come up with an editorial calendar and create a variety of targeted content on your behalf. If you don’t particularly enjoy content creation, you can outsource the task and use the time to work on other aspects of your business. You’ll get consistent, high-quality content that meets your business’ goals while strengthening your brand’s reputation.

Content has to be a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy for 2020. However, it needs to be done right. Comments in a vacuum won’t establish your company as an authority or give your audience what they need. Use our tips and you’ll be well on your way to success.