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What Sherlock Holmes can Teach us About Content Marketing Strategy

Posted by Megan Lunetta
March 18th, 2014

You can call it what you want: content marketing, journalism, or just plain writing, but having useful resources for your audience is a pretty big deal (even in recruitment). You savvy readers out there know that having content can help guide those of us not yet ready to buy in making the big decision down the road.

Creating killer content can be puzzling. By honing in on your inner “Sherlock Holmes” power of deduction, you can see what the rest of us don’t see. If you can do that, your content can become some pretty powerful stuff. Who knows? It can even lead to your readers advocating for your brand… and that’s what we all want, right?

Be an Expert Audience Detective

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As the great detective once said, “My name is Sherlock Holmes.  It is my business to know what other people don't know.” As Social Media and Content Marketing pros, it’s your job to be experts on your brand and your customers. Before you start writing, put your detective hat on and discover your audience: where are they; what are they reading; and what gets their attention.

Don’t know where to start? Take the first step by researching your customer. Put yourself in your customers' shoes and create buyer personas to understand your audience and their pain points. After all, you want to prove that you can solve their problems.

Strategy! Strategy! Strategy!

Sherlock Holmes used strategy and reasoning to solve complex cases. Do not write content just to have content!

Start by mapping your content to the different stages of the buying cycle (awareness, education, comparison/validation, purchase). Case studies are not enough. Potential customers are not all ready to buy; some need to be educated about the problem you’re trying to solve.

Now it’s time to build a content marketing calendar you can stick to! Leverage people around you to contribute based on their specialties and interests. Don’t forget to build relationships with influencers by sharing their content and featuring them in your own content. This can potentially lead to some awesome co-branded content!

Next, get to writing! Not everything will work for your audience, but that’s why you must test and learn. For example, try blogging for the awareness stage, webinars and industry information for the education stage, case studies and demos for the comparison stage, and product information and data sheets for the purchase stage. You may be surprised by what works with your audience.

Look at the Facts

Sherlock Holmes doesn't make assumptions, because “it is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts.” Be smart about your content marketing by looking at the facts. Once you develop your strategy and know the goals for your content, dive into the analytics and customer behavior to understand what is and is not working. Stay ahead of the game by measuring your content with performance scorecards.

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Just like Holmes, you should be demanding, “Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay.” Looking into actionable metrics based on your content’s goal can give you great insights about your content marketing strategy.

Brilliant content marketing campaigns utilize marketing tools and best practices for success. Amplify your content in a smart way by promoting your content on social media, featuring content in email newsletters, leveraging paid advertising, hosting content on external websites, and reaching out to those influencers.

Don’t forget to re-purpose, rewrite, and reuse content in new and different ways. Gather all the facts, pay attention to the details, have a plan of attack, and let your powers of deduction get to work!