Too often in content marketing, we get focused on getting what we have to say out there. Although this is an important part of the process, one of the most important and often overlooked content marketing secrets is to continually listen to your customers and take action based on what you hear. In fact, one of the biggest strengths of content marketing as compared to traditional marketing is that customer feedback is a built-in part of the process, if only you take advantage of it.
How to Gather Feedback
There are a number of ways to gather feedback in your content marketing. Your goal is to find out what a wide variety of users are saying and identify common trends. This takes a combination of carefully looking at what users are saying as well as giving users more opportunities to express themselves.
Some of the content marketing tips for gathering feedback include:
- Read and respond to comments. Users may take the time to comment on videos, Facebook posts, blog posts, and more. It’s worthwhile to read as many of these comments as possible. In addition, if you have the time and resources, you may consider responding to comments and questions on these venues. This demonstrates that you’re aware of and listening to your audience.
- Monitor social media mentions. Keep track of what social media users say about your business and what they say about industry-related topics in general. One way to accomplish this is by tracking key tags.
- Start a discussion. Don’t just passively look at what people have to say – actively solicit their comments. For example, a B2B business may start a discussion on LinkedIn asking for audience feedback on a key topic, while a B2C business might prefer a platform such as Facebook. If you start a discussion, the main goal is to sit back and observe the comments.
- Solicit questions. Similarly, you can start a campaign to answer questions of all sorts from your customers. This can be great for building goodwill as well as identifying the key concerns faced by your audience.
- Send out surveys. Send out surveys to your content audience in general or to past customers in particular to find out what they’re looking for in the products and content they consume. Surveys should be relatively short and use clear language. Be sure to include a space for open comments at the end of the survey.
These content marketing tips should be taken in conjunction with more traditional methods of gathering feedback, such as phone calls, paper surveys, and asking the sales team what issues they’re encountering. The right combination of methods will depend on your business’s nature and needs.
How to Act on Feedback
Of course, not every customer comment is a pearl of wisdom. So how do you separate out the feedback worth listening to? Ask yourself the following questions about the feedback you receive:
- What comments and concerns are coming up over and over again?
- How does what I’m hearing in content marketing venues match up with what I’m hearing from flesh-and-blood customers?
- What feedback addresses content or product issues that the company can reasonably change?
When you do act on feedback, it’s sometimes appropriate to briefly recognize that you’ve made your decision after listening to your audience. For example, if you developed a new product or switched to a more environmentally friendly production process in part because of audience comments, it’s worth mentioning. Similarly, if you’re producing more of a certain type of content due to audience request, you can mention that it’s due to popular demand.
Really listening to your audience is one of the best content marketing secrets around, but it does require a certain balance in terms of time commitment and knowing which feedback to act on. When you can strike that balance, though, you’ll find that your audience becomes more engaged in both your content marketing and your products and services.
Do you incorporate listening to customers into your content marketing practices? Share in the comments!