8 Questions from Shark Tank to Validate Your Content Marketing Approach
I recently got hooked to ABC’s Shark Tank, and I highly recommend the show to all Content Marketers. Shark Tank is a show that features aspiring entrepreneurs pitching to a panel of “Shark” Investors, made up of some of the most renowned business figures in the United States. Besides being an entertaining show, my most important takeaway from the show would be the questions asked by the “Shark” Investors.
To be successful content marketers, we need to regularly question ourselves to sharpen our thinking and re-evaluate our efforts. The below are eight excellent questions that can help validate your content marketing approach.
1. Why Did You Start This Business?
Before investing in the business, the Sharks would always want to know an entrepreneur’s underlying reason for starting the business, the “why”.
When you embark on content marketing, always start with the “why”. Content marketing if done right leads to sales, but it cannot be just about driving sales as people get turned off by sales talk. Instead, think along the lines of how your consumers are going to benefit from your content marketing efforts.
2. What Is So Unique About Your Business?
Shark Tank is approaching its 9th season, and the sharks have seen and invested in all kinds of startups both on and off the show. For them to invest in the business, it would need to be unique.
Similarly, for content marketing, you’ll need to do it differently from what’s out there. Find a knowledge gap and develop a content marketing strategy to fill that gap. Ask yourself: What is one thing you can provide in your content marketing that your competition is not doing yet?
3. What Is Your Vision For The Business?
To filter out business successes built off a fad, Sharks would usually ask the entrepreneur what’s their vision for the company. Content marketing is a long game; you need to identify your business’s long term vision and align it with your content marketing efforts.
4. Who Are The People You Are Selling To?
To successfully get a deal from the Shark, entrepreneurs would want to know the specific category of consumers they are selling to and if that particular consumer segment can bring about viable profits.
And in content marketing terms, who is the content developed for, and is there traction in that segment? But first, you need to be very clear on who you are developing the content for. To find clarity, you can build an audience persona, i.e. a snapshot of the type of consumers which include basic details like age, profession, what are their goals, pain points and challenges.
5. How Are You Going To Spend My Money?
The Sharks are shrewd investors, and they are not going to just throw their money at any business. They want to know what the money is going to achieve. Thus entrepreneurs must know how exactly they are going spend the money.
As a content marketer, there will be situations where you’ll need to request a content marketing budget from your employers/investors for things like content development, influencer marketing or paid media. In most cases, your bosses are not just going to set aside the budget because content marketing is the “next big thing”. This is where you’ll need to plan out exactly where the money is going and most importantly the returns.
6. How Will You Scale/Grow From Here?
To determine if a business is investable, the one thing every Shark looks out for is scalability.
Content marketing is not supposed to be sales driven, however, content marketers should always be looking at growth targets plus how and when it can be achieved.
7. How Do You Justify Your Valuation?
This question is especially important for entrepreneurs who are seeking investments in the millions! In this case, the Sharks would require the entrepreneurs to justify their valuation.
Content marketing is an initiative that requires substantial resources, thus the need to justify if the effort is even worth it. If you are unable to do any justifications, this is where you need to re-evaluate your efforts and determine if your efforts are bearing fruit, i.e. helping to achieve your business goals.
8. And For That Reason, I’m Out.
Every time a Shark sees no potential or interest in the business, they would proceed to tell the entrepreneur their rationale on why they are out and that they are no longer interested in investing.
If you are not achieving your business goals that you’ve set, re-evaluate your strategies and in a worst case scenario, an exit strategy. i.e. is Content Marketing even the right way to meet your business objectives?