If your startup doesn’t have a blog yet, 2023 may be the year to start producing content. Not because it’s easy (it isn’t), but because we’re in a golden age of inbound marketing tools, frameworks & techniques.
Teams with an outdated content playbook will continue betting on keyword stuffing as their go-to strategy. And black hat SEOs will produce thousands of low-value, purely AI-generated pages. But, those teams that combine efficient processes with radical user-centeredness won’t just climb up in the SERPs, but also foster customer loyalty, differentiate themselves as experts and see actual content ROI.
In this post, we’ll dive into a key concept that should guide your 2023 content marketing efforts: Content-market fit.
- What is content-market fit
- How to assess your content-market fit
- How to achieve content-market fit in 6 steps
- 8 content ideas for great content-market fit
- A look at content-market fit beyond blogging
Let’s dive in!
What Is Content-Market Fit?
Content-market fit is the degree to which content created by a company resonates with and attracts a target audience. It describes how well content topics, formats, and styles match customer interests, needs, and goals. Content-market fit is a key indicator of success for content marketing campaigns, as it ensures the content is valuable and relevant to the customer.
With the right content-market fit, your content:
- Solves actual customer challenges
- Helps you position your brand as a niche leader
- Generates demand for your product
We know that the idea of content-market fit can feel a little abstract. So, throughout this article, we’ll use a hypothetical product to exemplify and illustrate our explanation. This product is a CRM for real estate companies called Estately (very original!). We’ll use Estately to dive into interesting questions surrounding content ideation & user-centeredness.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how content-market fit can help boost your content marketing efforts.
How Content-Market Fit Makes a Difference
On average, teams spend approximately 25%-30% of their monthly marketing budget on content (Business2Community). So, it’s very important to make sure that content has a palpable business impact. In some cases, this impact is thought of as "atracting inbound leads". But that's just part of the picture.
Content marketing can also be extremely useful for nurturing cold leads and elevating perceived value. And leveraging content at that level is impossible without content-market fit.
In this section, we'll dive into how content-market fit can help you:
- Get actual, high-value engagement
- Build authority and get backlinks
- Leverage content for sales
Let’s take a closer look.
How Content-Market Fit Increases Quality Engagement
Let's say Estately (our hypothetical real estate CRM) publishes a blog post titled "the 10 challenges of moving with pets". Some Estately customers (Real Estate professionals) may send this post to their clients, as a way to bond or engage in a lighthearted conversation. But the content itself doesn't solve any of their problems.
On the other hand, a post about 10 ways to take pictures for a real estate listing will bring your target customers direct value. So, they'll read it, save it, and even share it spontaneously.
If you create content that makes a difference to your target audience, you'll get them to engage and make the most out of your material.
Building Authority & Backlinks with User-Centered Content
With the right content-market fit, you get the undivided attention (and gratefulness) of your target audience. Consequently, you'll become the go-to information source regarding certain topics.
- You'll get qualified returning traffic
- Your target audience will remain engaged with you
- It'll be easier for traffic to convert (conversion will feel natural)
- You'll encourage word-of-mouth
- It'll be easier to build significant backlinks
How Content Can Turn into a Sales Asset
If your content addresses your audience’s needs and goals, it can be used to enrich and re-ignite conversations with potential clients.
For instance, let’s say your team writes a blog post comparing your solution to a popular competitor, and you know that a potential client has that competitor in their stack. You could use that piece to help them evaluate if they should switch to your solution. Or, in a less aggressive fashion, if you’ve written a piece about a common customer challenge, you can include it in your prospecting sequence to demonstrate expertise.
Customers are people and people don’t like to feel forced to make decisions. Sharing valuable content with your users will help them feel informed and in control.
At this point, you may be wondering how to assess your current content-market fit. In the next section, we’ll share a simple way to get started.
10 Questions to Self-Assess Your Current Content-Market Fit
Wondering about your current content-market fit? Ask yourself (and your team) these 10 questions:
- Is the content you’re producing targeting actual user challenges?
- Is it easy to include your product in the conversation, or does it feel out of place?
- Are you sharing unique insights that can help users overcome challenges in your company’s areas of expertise?
- Is your content something your users can share with friends or colleagues to help them solve issues related to your product?
- How does your current content reflect expertise?
- Are you creating content that builds trust with your customers?
- Are you creating content that differentiates you from your competitors?
- Does this difference matter to your customers? Why?
- Are you measuring the success of your content with meaningful metrics?
- Are you using feedback from your audience to continuously improve your content?
How to Achieve Content-Market Fit in 6 Steps
Now you know what content-market fit is and why it matters. Plus, you have some sense of where you stand, after answering our 10 self-assessment questions. So in this section, we’ll share how to achieve content-market fit in 7 steps.
- Examining your competitors’ best content
- Analyzing your best-performing content
- Focusing on your product
- Prioritizing your ICP
- Making your users a central part of your content strategy
- Thinking beyond keywords
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Examine Your Competitors’ Best Content
You may have a lot to learn from your competitors. Maybe you can learn from their example, or maybe they can show you what not to do. But regardless, we recommend you stay on top of your competitors' content.
When it comes to finding content-market fit, doing some competitor intelligence can help you to:
- Find topic gaps in your own content
- Assess what's the best angle to tackle certain topics
Wondering how to get started? Take a look at your competitors' best pages & keywords. Your SEO tool should make it easier to find this information.
Analyze Your Best-Performing Content
What’s your most successful content, and what does it have in common? In some cases, you’ll find that your best content doesn’t align with your commercial goals. And that’s usually not a good sign.
For instance, some translation companies have high-ranking posts answering questions about fictional languages from video games or movies. It makes sense for these posts to be popular, but their ROI will be limited. Maybe a few of the thousands of readers that find the content are actually looking for translation services. But it’ll be a coincidence, not something traceable or optimizable.
That’s the biggest downside of commercially irrelevant content: Low conversion rates and over-dependence on pieces that can’t drive sales.
If this case resonates with you, what should you do?
If these pieces are successful:
- Re-optimize them so they’re better aligned with your actual value proposition
- Analyze what you did right structure and promotion-wise, and try to translate it into your future content efforts
If these pieces aren’t successful:
- Remove them
- Permanently redirect their URLs to more relevant material
If these pieces aren’t successful, but they include valuable insights:
- Add the relevant content to other posts, as subsections
- Delete the original post
- Set permanent redirects to more relevant content
Focus on Your Product
As a general rule, we recommend never writing “too far away from the product”. Make sure your solution can be introduced into the conversation seamlessly.
Writing with this mindset will help you:
- Educate people on your product organically
- Produce content that’s aligned with your commercial goals from the beginning
- Improve your chances of reaching qualified leads
- Encourage action from prospects that are already considering your product
- Support your customers’ goals beyond your product
Prioritize Your ICP
You should spend most of your time solving your ideal customer’s problems. When ideating content, prioritize those concepts that your most valuable & loyal customers will find useful.
Let’s refer to our imaginary SaaS, Estately, one more time. If Estately’s best customers were large real estate brokers, most of its content should target the needs of large real estate brokers. So, posts about the needs of new realtors, or simple guides to creating marketing collateral should be kept to a minimum.
We usually recommend a 70%-30% distribution. 70% of content should appeal to your ICP. And 30% should add your voice to relevant, industry-wide conversations, and help you rank for promising keywords, even if it doesn’t target your ICP’s needs.
Ask Your Users
The numbers don’t lie:
- 96% of consumers say that transparency in the development of a product or service is important to them when making a purchase decision (Salesforce)
- 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers personalized experiences (SmarterHQ)
- 63% of consumers say they are more likely to return to a website that offers personalized content (Econsultancy)
- 87% of consumers say that user-generated content on a website or social media channel influences their purchasing decisions (Olapic)
Customers like to be a part of a brand's processes. And they're happy to see that their feedback makes a difference.
Incorporate user feedback into your content strategy. For example, you can:
- Create surveys or polls to engage with users and learn about their needs and preferences
- Connect with customer-facing teams (such as sales) and inquire about common frictions & challenges
- Add satisfaction polls to your content, like help centers usually do
Think Beyond Keyword Research
Keyword research helps you understand what your target audience is looking for and what language they're using. So, when approaching keyword research the right way, you can optimize your content's wording and themes to fit your users' expectations.
But keywords shouldn't be the only thing informing your content strategy. A content strategy that's only guided by keywords will result in repetitive, generic & low-value content.
The best content strategies leverage:
- User insights & industry know-how
- Positioning goals & competitor intelligence
- Search intent
Basically, it's key to know:
- What's going on in your industry and how it affects your users
- What your competitors are doing, content and product-wise
- How you want to position your brand
- What your users want to find when writing a certain search query
8 Content Ideas for Content-Market Fit
Getting content-market fit right for the first time can be tricky. So, in this section, we'll give you a hand in shaping your new content calendar.
The truth is that, in spite of how diverse branded content may seem, most blogs iterate across a handful of formats.
Here are 8 content ideas you should include in your new user-centered content calendar:
- [Your solution] vs. [Leading competitor]: What’s the Best [Product Ccategory] for [Niche]?
- What Is [Product-centric concept] and [How It Works/Why It Matters]
- How to [Achieve what your product promises] in [N°] Steps
- [N°] [Competitor] Alternatives for [User Profile]
- The Best [Goal/Area] Tools for [User Profile]
- [N°] Key Tips to [Goal]
- Why [User Profile] Struggle with [Goal/Area] (& How to Solve it)
- Why You Shouldn't [Do things the old way] (& What to Do Instead)
Of course, you can add nuance to these ideas through modifiers. For instance, by specifying a year, location, or use case. You can also combine these ideas to target specific user struggles & goals.
Let’s take a look at some examples, using our hypothetical CRM, Estately.
Estately's first 10 blog posts could be:
- CRMly vs. Pipedrive: What’s the best CRM for Real Estate?
- What Is Sales Enablement & Why It Matters
- How to Use Zillow for Lead Generation [in 8 Steps]
- 12 Hubspot Alternatives for Realtors
- The Best Real Estate Prospecting Tools for New Realtors
- 20 Key Tips to Nurture Real Estate Leads with Content Marketing
- Why New Realtors Struggle with Lead Nurturing (& How to Solve it)
- Why You Shouldn't Use Google Sheets as a CRM (& What to Do Instead)
- 20 Key Tips to Use Directories for Lead Generation in 2023
- How to Make the Most out of Your Real Estate Sales Stack [+ 10 Great Tools]
Content-Market Fit Beyond Blogging
Before we sign off, it’s worth mentioning that content-market fit isn’t just about writing blog posts about the right topics.
In some cases, a blog post isn’t the best format to address a customer’s needs.
For instance, let’s say Estately finds that “real estate CRM pricing” is a keyword worth pursuing. There are several formats they could go for. Maybe a landing page with minimum content and a pricing calculator could be far more fitting than an extremely long guide.
Don’t be afraid to go beyond blog posts. Prioritize being as useful to your audience as possible. Sometimes, interactive content (such as checklists, templates, and calculators) is the right format. In those cases, the challenge is to make sure these assets are discoverable and accessible.
Grow with Relevant Content
At Postdigitalist, we collaborate with founders & marketing teams to drive organic growth through content and design. Looking for a content crew that’s committed to content ROI? You’re in the right place. Discover our services or book a meeting.