How to plan knockout content for the next 6 months


Before kicking off with your content marketing strategy, you’ll need to get the basics right—there’s no use flogging a dead horse.

So, how does someone like a Marketing Director at a mid-sized company go about creating kick-ass content for the next six months?  

Here’s our take on things, from the Lean content marketing HQ in Bristol.



Value your customers’ questions

If you followed a rainbow to the pot of gold, inside you’d find all the discarded questions, complaints and queries from customers (and non-customers).

Questions from your customers highlight gaps in your content marketing. (If you assume they checked out your website and social media for the answer first.)

Your content marketing should answer questions people have about your business. They ask, you answer.



Where to find your customers’ questions

Your customers’ questions are valuable insight but where do you find them?

  • Ask your sales team. Your sales team talk to prospective clients and customers every day, they know stuff about your audience — get talking to them. You might want to bribe them with a cuppa and biscuits first though.
  • Check your FAQs, blog comments and social media channels. We’re more likely to leave a comment on social media if we’re frustrated with a product or want our question answered, fast.
  • If you have a customer service team, I’m sure they’ll be willing to share their customer horror stories, take notes.
  • Check industry forums and review sites for questions. It’s a good idea to have a nosy at your competitors as well.
  • Have regular conversations with people you want to work with. Reach out to people on social media and ask your audience what questions they have about your business.

A note about sales and marketing alignment: sales and marketing alignment is a problem for businesses because both teams usually work in silos. Sales have customer knowledge that can be shared with marketing, and vice versa.

Who is responsible for finding this information? It’s the Marketing Director’s job to pull this all together. Why? Marketing Directors should spend time thinking, they (should) have a dedicated team of specialists and content peeps to support them.


Figure out your business values

Before you start with content marketing, get a handle on your business values.. Where do you stand on topics like politics, what’s your view on the latest technology?

Your business values shape your content marketing strategy. It’s a good idea to get this down on paper so you won’t forget them.

Your mission, vision and values should be stored in a brand book and shared across the team. If you don’t have anything like this, we can help.



Create outward-facing content using your customer’s questions

Most content marketing we see today is inward-looking, meaning the content talks about the business and not the customer.

Use your customers’ questions to map out content pieces. For example, if you find that a common question is about the price of your product, create content that talks explicitly about the price of your product – viola!

Your goals and different to your customers. Put their needs before your own.



Use a variety of content

Content variety doesn’t come naturally, in fact, we’re inclined to find what works and stick to it. And why wouldn’t we? But the only way to measure how things work is to experiment with content varieties.  

In our book, Lean Social Media, we talk about the value of social media, particularly when sharing content. Get your copy now for just two quid.

And you can use this content matrix by the wizards over at SmartInsights to plot your content. Make sure you have a healthy mix of styles to keep things from getting vanilla.

Repurpose content over time

Repurposing content means finding new ways to recycle your existing content. It’s a chance to dust off that white paper you wrote last year and turn it into something shiny and new—like an infographic, animation video or blog series.

Repurposed content can help you to reach new audiences, and make the most of your efforts (let’s face it, writing a white paper is no small feat).



How to spot if your content marketing isn’t working

It’s hard to measure content marketing success; it’s easier to spot signs that your content marketing isn’t working.

Lack of engagement or interest on social media. Well, the proof’s in the pud, guys. If nobody is liking, sharing or commenting on your stuff it’s a clear sign it’s not working. Pro tip: check who you’re following and who’s following you, you might be talking to the wrong audience.

Why Marketing Directors (and just about everyone) need a content marketing calendar

What is it a content calendar: It’s a tool to help you plan and schedule all your content in advance.

Why is it useful: Keeping a record of what you’ve published makes it easier to measure results. And you’ll save time not scrambling to publish last minute posts.

Who is responsible for looking after it: Marketing Directors or equivalent

What does a content marketing calendar look like? That’s a good question, here’s a screenshot of ours.


As a general rule your content calendar should include:

  • Dates and times
  • Content themes
  • Social focus
  • Events or national days
  • Content titles and/or short description


A note for Marketing Directors: your job is to think. Build a trusted team and delegate the work to give yourself the freedom to think. As a Marketing Director, you’re responsible for actively seeking ways to improve your content strategy.

Agreeing your business values, focusing on customer questions and using a content calendar are proven ways to take your content from boring to bingo in 0.6 seconds.


Lean content

We’re a rockstar content marketing agency in Bristol. We help you to create content with your customers in mind. We stop your customers from saying, “oh, YAWN” and make them say, “ooooh” instead.