We have recently discussed your content marketing ideas and how to plan content creation, but we haven’t really tied it all together.

Today’s post hopes to address that through the discussion of a content strategy concept called ‘thematic content development.’

Why themes?

As a young web copywriter, I learned that we are creatures of habitual categorisation, organising our world through the application of labels (words/symbols) to represent the things we see and perceive around us.

To handle all this ‘data’ that we create, we organise our world into categories or themes: animals, plants, rocks, humans, living/non-living, known/unknown, friend/enemy.

These thematic groupings helped us to survive and today, our species continues to rely on thematic categorisation and imagery to keep our world in order: nations, groups of nations (e.g. NATO, EU), collections, series, species, even our industry sector themes serve to guide our way in the world.

This is why User Experience (UX) pros rely on themes to order the content on a website around user journeys – the key experiences (themes) that lead to successful human-computer interactions; or, in business language, successful transactions.

How to determine your key themes (subject areas)

We must create content for our prospects around a central theme to unify our message, sending out a strong signal that tells our prospects what we offer and (crucially) why it will help them.

Figuring out your key content themes and subject areas for content marketing could seem rather haphazard if you’ve only just brainstormed a bushel of ideas. From looking at a list, it’s not readily apparent how they connect together.

To work out your theme(s) as a solid backbone for your content marketing:

  • Take your customer needs (what is their ‘pain’?)
  • Mix that with your offer (how do you relieve the pain?)
  • Add your positioning (what makes your tonic so unique?)

When considered in this way, you end up with a unique theme that forms the backbone of all your content marketing. You may even have several themes running across your content to address different needs of different customer types at different points in the buying cycle.

You might have ‘introductory’ content for your new prospects to attract their attention and then you might serve up ‘informative’ content for your email list of prospects (those who were interested in getting more from you) and serve yet another theme of content to your long-term customers focussing on ‘ongoing’ concerns.

Take all your content marketing ideas and assign them into customer-centric themes. This will unify your content marketing message, making it easier for your prospects to understand your offer, and ultimately make it easier for you to create new content in the future.

In the next post, we’ll look at creating the ultimate content theme aimed at one particular topic: the content series (like this one).

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