Fictional Content Marketing Case Study: Selling Candy Online

Originally posted on the ReferralCandy Blog.

Let’s explore a fictional case study: Suppose you’re selling candy.


I’ll assume you love candy to begin with and have some expertise in the subject, which is why you’re selling it.

  1. Identify all the candy enthusiasts you can possibly find online. Who’s making it? Who’s eating it? Who’s doing YouTube reviews of it? Who’s blogging about it? You want to have a clear map of this stuff, preferably outside of your head so you can refer to it.
  2. Saturate your personal newsfeed with all the candy news you can get. Start reading all the candy blogs. Follow all the candy enthusiasts, join all the candy forums.Do this until you’re absolutely certain that you know more about candy than anybody else. You should at least be in the top 20% of people who know candy better than the bottom 80%. Otherwise why are you even in the business? If it’s more than you can take in, scale back and focus on absorbing a few channels that matter the most. Always be on the lookout for a better source of information (but don’t let that allow you to be complacent in your interactions with others!)
  3. Tell the world who you are, and be as specific as possible. What’s so special or interesting about your candy? Is it sweeter? Richer? More fun, more entertaining, more varied? Cheaper? Healthier?
  4. Develop and execute a rudimentary content strategy. 
    1. About your candy: How is your candy made? Who makes it? How is it packaged? How many different kinds of candy are there? Use lots of pictures, and communicate lots of passion and attention to detail. A compelling enough story can drive people to make purchases they otherwise wouldn’t consider.
    2. Uses for your candy: What can people do with your candy? What are the uses of candy? What sort of desserts could be made with candy? What sort of occasions might someone buy your candy as a gift?
    3. Other candy-related goodness: What’s the history of candy? What did you think about Christina Aguilera’s Candyman? What about the 1992 horror film Candyman? Candy (2006)? Hard Candy (2005)?
  5. Identify every single possible thing that people might search for.
    1. Types of candy: Peppermint? Gumdrops? Gummy bears? Marshmellows? Taffies? Candy floss? Cotton candy? What are the different sorts of candy available around the world? What are the health benefits of candy?
    2. History of candy: What interesting ways could candy be packaged in? How did candycanes become a Christmas tradition? What about Easter Eggs? What about trick-or-treating at Halloween?

Once you’ve listed out all these questions, figure out which are the ones you’d love to have the answer to, and which ones you’d be able to answer almost immediately. Ask your newfound friends in your candy communities about what they’d like to know more about, what they’d like to read. Grill yourself with questions, then get somebody to grill you too.

Writing all of these posts will take time, of course.

But they’re gifts that keep on giving. You’ll never be completely sure in advance which posts will be your superstars, so churn them out as quickly as you can.

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