content marketing planning

Planning Content Marketing – A “Where to Start” Example

It hasn’t quite reached the level of the Beatles or Jesus Christ just yet, but content marketing is getting more popular by the hour. Eventsbooks, websites, and entire organizations have been dedicated to the promotion of utilizing content to tell brand stories, answer common customer questions and make a connection with the audience through valuable and useful information. For many of those who have now heard the “helpful and useful content can improve your marketing” mantra, the question still remains: “Where do I start?”

A couple years back, I wrote a post about finding and creating relevant content. In general terms, it provided some ideas on where to source content topics and gather ideas about what we can create or curate as skilled content marketers. The following information provides instruction in greater detail by showcasing an actual client example that you can potentially replicate for your own project(s).

smartwatchEarlier this month, I was asked by one of my agency clients to help piece together an editorial calendar for one their own clients. The end client, who shall remain nameless, sells smartwatches. A relatively new product in the world of nerdy gadgets, a smartwatch allows its owner to synch information from her smartphone to a wrist watch. The watch can send and receive text messages, handle phone calls, provide reminders, and trigger simple commands on the synced smartphone such as take a photo, play a song, create a note, get directions, etc. Your typical smartwatch operates on voice command, so the owner just talks to it to make things happen.

As noted, my agency client was struggling a bit with what content to produce. One simple approach to determining what the audience needs is to uncover common questions they ask and information they seek. For this task, I have chosen to rely on five specific toolsets that are free and available to everyone:

1. Google Keyword Tool (get it while you can)
2. Google Trends
3. UberSuggest
4. Yahoo Answers
5. Quora
6. Twitter Search

Keyword Research

The Google Keyword Tool is a handy and free utility that will unfortunately be sunsetted in favor of Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner in the coming weeks (but hey, there’s always Wordtracker). For the next month or two, use the Keyword Tool to find relevant queries for your topic. Here are a few revealing searches I found for “smartwatches”.

Keyword Monthly Searches
apps for smartwatch 590
smartwatch screen protector 28
best smartwatch for android 46
smartwatch games 12
best apps for smartwatch 58
smartwatch apps list 28
smartwatch reviews 390
what is the best smartwatch 720


Beyond just searching for “(insert brand name) smartwatch”, these terms indicate a need for the consumer to learn more (“reviews” and “best” queries) about the category and shed light on specific needs such as protection (“screen protector”) and uses (“games” and “apps” searches). The monthly search volume, or lack thereof in many cases, should not deter us right now as the next tool will demonstrate.

Trends Analysis

Google Trends is an extremely interesting utility that shows the level of interest for a specific topic over time. As you can see “smartwatch” was rarely if ever considered more than a couple years ago. Its status as an up-and-coming topic should tell us two things: 1) the product category’s infancy demands basic, awareness-level education, and 2) there is likely a great opportunity to win the information war against the client’s chief competitors – so let’s get cracking!

google trends line graph

Trends also gives information about where searches originate by state, which can be very helpful for geographic targeting purposes, and top terms, which appear to be more general in nature given the newness of the topic.

google trends geography


As many already have seen, when you start to type a phrase into the Google search box, the engine provides simple suggestions. These subtle recommendations are made based on the volume of their queries on Google.

google suggest

ubersuggestThe only problem with these suggestions is their limited quantity (4 in the example above). Enter UberSuggest. This tool takes a cue from Google Suggest and blows it out. Where Google Suggest provides a mere handful of alternatives, Ubersuggest provides dozens organized alphabetically and numerically.

A quick scan of the Ubersuggest results shows the following terms that shed light on consumer needs:

smartwatch battery life
smartwatch camera
smartwatch comparison
smartwatch email
smartwatch fitness
smartwatch gps
smartwatch how to get started
smartwatch not connecting
smartwatch pictures
smartwatch review
smartwatch troubleshooting
smartwatch uses
smartwatch vs ____ (several brand names and product categories)
smartwatch waterproof
smartwatch wiki
smartwatch youtube
smartwatch (enter model number) here is a potential opportunity for paid search capture


Want to know what customers are asking about your products? Look no further than Yahoo Answers and Quora. Both are popular Q&A sites that organize questions asked by users about nearly anything and allow other users to provide the best answer. Not only are these sites helpful to learn more about a subject, product or service, they also demonstrate the challenges and frustrations shared by consumers.

Here is just a sampling of questions found in both Yahoo Answers and Quora related to the smartwatch category:

  • Can I swim and/or run with my smartwatch?
  • What are the top 5 features a great smartwatch must have?
  • If smartphone users don’t wear watches, how are smartwatches a practical idea?
  • Where are (brand x) smartwatches manufactured?
  • Will my smartwatch work with (insert smartphone brand here)?
  • I can’t get my smartwatch to work with (insert smartphone brand here) – help?
  • How does (brand x) smartwatch compare to (competitor y)?
  • What are the most important smartwatch features to YOU?


Twitter can also be a reliable source of customer queries for needs analysis. Here are just a few tweets about smartwatches found in Twitter Search (note: I used varying combinations of “smartphone”, “?” and other terms to locate these messages).

These two reflect questions by potential customers in the consideration stage.



And here are two more that show what information current smartwatch owners are seeking.



What Next? See-Think-Do Categorization

As luck would have it, Avinash Kaushik published a brilliant post early this morning discussing a framework for content, which he refers to as See-Think-Do. I was drawn to the thinking behind it and feel that it could supplant the old AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) framework for many marketers. See-Think-Do segments possible customer behaviors and content offerings into three categories which I will apply to our smartwatch example:

  • See – to promote awareness of smartwatches
  • Think – to aid those considering a smartwatch purchase
  • Do – actual purchase or ownership communique

By placing each customer need in one of these three buckets, we can more aptly determine what kind of content the customer needs and the modes in which she needs it. Here is how we can potentially categorize just some of our smartwatch customer questions.

“See” Questions
What are the most common uses for a smartwatch?
Do smartphone users really need a smartwatch?
Who uses smartwatches?

“Think” Questions
How much do smartwatches cost?
Where can I read smartwatch reviews?
Which smartwatches will work with my smartphone?

“Do” Questions
I just purchased a smartwatch. How do I get it all setup?
I’m having trouble with my smartwatch holding a charge. What should I do?
What are the best apps for my smartwatch?

Mixing Right Brain with Left Brain

Now to the hard part (or the fun part depending upon your point of view). Once you have conducted your research and secured a tight grasp on exactly what potential customers are asking during different stages of the purchase process, we actually have to get creative. Damn it.

To close out, here are a few examples of how content could manifest given the data we have derived. Feel free to lend your own thoughts below or ask questions about this process.

Blog Posts

  • Eight Jobs That Will Require a Smartwatch (See)
  • Four Things to Consider Before Buying a Smartwatch (Think)
  • Unboxing Your Watch – 5 Steps to Setting Up Your Smartwatch (Do)


  • Customer Survey Data – Who Uses Smartwatches (See)
    • Show demographics, professions, geography, favorite uses, unexpected benefits
  • Top Smartwatch Apps (Do)
    • What they do, who they are for, and why they are useful

Ebook or Downloadable Guide

  • Six Smartwatches Compared (Think)
    • Provide honest transparency to those in shopping mode by demonstrating price, features, device compatibility and average customer ratings on respected consumer review/gadget sites


  • Try & Tell: Find people from different walks of life to try wearing smartphone for one day and record what they love/hate about them (See & Think)
  • Tutorial: How to sync your smartwatch to your smartphone (Do)

Other Content Modes

  • Twitter account to provide fact-based answers to questions about smartwatches on the market and provide customer service in real time (Think & Do)
  • Photo Gallery: selecting a band for your smartwatch (Do)
  • Contest: Encourage smartwatch owners to create an inspired “selfy” photo using their smartwatch and smartphone. Run contest on Facebook and/or Instagram (See & Do)

Also, once you have a viable topics list, don’t forget to keep it organized with a living content marketing editorial calendar.

5 thoughts on “Planning Content Marketing – A “Where to Start” Example

  1. Great post. You brought up some great “keyword phrase data mining tools” that I have not used to their full potential. Only one issue though – it’s “selfie”.

  2. Thanks, Joseph. Ah, “selfie” – I have revealed how unhip I actually am. Thanks for the heads up!

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