Listening is hard. Especially when what’s being said might not be what you want to hear. But that’s why you build stories — to communicate your point of view in ways your audience can relate to. How can you best do that without listening to what they have to say?
Using your list of defined, measurable goals from my previous post, you can get an idea of who you might want to listen to, and how to go about listening to them.
Before you start seriously developing your ideas, you must know the common blocks your prospective clients have. You probably already know from experience. But this is where David Hutchens’ “story listening” comes into play. What stories are people telling about your company? If you’re serious about your brand mission statement, you can’t afford to be afraid of what the internet will tell you about your company. Depending on your industry, you may have already fallen victim to a negative Yelp attack or two. The public is telling a story — with or without you.
If your company has money to spend on market research, virtual focus groups have proven to be effective, in my experience, in gaining insight into customer reactions to brands, products, and applications. There are less expensive methods as well, including posting to social media to test with friends and family, and holding informal focus groups. There are many content review tools available online — this is one of Grandview’s specialties, and we are always available to help.
Again, you probably already have some idea of the questions typically facing your company. But, if you’re in a position where you report to managers or stakeholders, you’ll want some form of defensible data to justify your content marketing strategy. When you can show them ratings and customer quotes, and identify the weaknesses and strengths of the plan currently in place — then you’ll really be heard.