Discover How to Create Great Content
In this content marketing series, we will share best practices and strategies that have proven effective for our clients. We hope you join us in Discovering How to Create Great Content.
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Content marketing is the foundation of all marketing and sales efforts. Whether you are creating a 75-page ebook, a long-form YouTube video, or dancing on TikTok, it is all content. What makes some content take off and propel the content maker's product or passion? It all boils down to the relevance, timing, and location of the content. If you want to change behaviors and see massive adoption, you need to understand your intended audience.
Today, we are going to start a journey where we will discuss the process for generating content that can drive sales, views, or compel nations. This will be a six-part content marketing series where we will share best practices and strategies that have proven effective for our clients. We hope you join us in Discovering How to Create Great Content. We will start with basics that every marketer should know, and build through a series of articles an in-depth understanding of how to create a content marketing program that will enthrall, compel, and produce customers.
Relevance of the Content
Even if you create the most compelling content, if it does not resonate with your targeted audience it will have little or no value. So the first step, when creating ANY content, is understanding what your intended audience needs to see.
For B2B and B2C companies who offer products and services, this means identifying who your ideal customers are and their buyer personas. Essentially, a buyer persona describes what triggers a person to seek out your products, what messaging will be compelling, and where they go to learn about it.
The process used by some companies, all too often, is to create a buyer persona by making up a fictitious person and giving the attributes they believe they might have. Personas created by this method have no value and can easily cause you to create content that does more harm than good.
The proper technique is to interview stakeholders from both newly acquired companies and lost closed opportunities. Then, drill down to learn all the motivations and the processes they use to make buying decisions. A buyer persona is NEVER the demographics of an individual. Unless it impacts the buying process or decision, I don't care about the gender or age of the individual. If two people need to see the same information at each stage in the buyer's journey to continue their trek to become a customer, they are the same buyer persona.
We have created two blogs that describe the process of creating buyer persona profiles and how to use them. They are: "How to Create Buyer Personas" and "Buyer Personas the Foundation of Strategic Marketing."
The bedrock of any content marketing program is sharing the content when the potential customer needs to see it. This content map is laid out in a Buyers' Journey report, which is a matrix that lays out, for each buyer persona, what types of messaging, content, and format should be offered to each buyer persona at each stage.
Awareness Stage - In the awareness stage, potential customers are just beginning to realize they have a problem or need. At this stage, your content should focus on providing educational and informative material to help prospects understand their challenges and potential solutions. At this stage, you should not be trying to sell your product, because you have not earned the right to ask for a sale. At the awareness stage, they are simply trying to figure out all the options that might solve the problem, issue, or need that they have.
If you are the company they rely upon to learn about those options, it will create a culture of trust. When they are ready to move to the consideration stage, this will translate into you being one of those under consideration.
Best practices for content marketing in the awareness stage include:
Create blog posts and articles that address common pain points and offer tips for solving them.
Produce informative videos and webinars that provide valuable insights and knowledge.
Develop downloadable guides, e-books, or whitepapers that offer in-depth information on relevant topics.
Utilize social media platforms to share engaging content and reach a wider audience.
Optimize your website for search engines to attract organic traffic from users searching for information related to your industry.
Location of the Content
A complaint we often hear from clients is that they created great content, but it did not increase traffic at all. When asked how they shared the content, the answer is always, "our website." Unlike in the Field of Dreams movie, if you build it they won't come.
Creating compelling content is never enough, you have to share it where your targeted buyer personas go for information, entertainment, and third-party verification. You have to bring nuggets of that great article to them with compelling enough messaging that they click on the link to check it out.
How do you know where to distribute the content? The buyer persona process will provide one or two imperative channels. However, we are a strong proponent of an omnichannel approach to sharing content, where you modify the messaging and imagery for all the first and second-tier social channels.
There are two reasons for this approach. The first is when a targeted persona sees your content on multiple channels, it will reinforce the messaging. The rule of 7 is a marketing principle that states a potential customer must see a message at least seven times before they'll be provoked to take an action. So, if you share this message in many different forums, the rule of seven will happen much quicker.
The second reason is to appease Google. Getting backlinks from multiple sources will show Google that your content is valuable, and you will be rewarded with more organic traffic.
Using an Omnichannel distribution approach is appropriate even when your main content is posted on a dedicated platform such as YouTube. A number of influencers are not trying to drive traffic back to a website, rather they are trying to increase their viewership on YouTube itself. However, posting snippets of your content on other social platforms will serve to drive those viewers to YouTube to see the entire version.
Consideration Stage - When the prospect reaches the consideration stage, they are now ready to be shown how your solution stacks up to their alternatives. So, at this stage, your content should focus on showcasing your products or services as the best solution to their needs. It is critical that when showcasing your product, you focus on the benefits. Nobody buys a product because of the features it contains but on how those features will benefit them and their company.
Best practices for content marketing in the consideration stage include:
Create case studies and success stories that demonstrate how your products or services have helped previous customers.
Develop comparison guides or articles that highlight the unique benefits of your offerings.
Create battlecards that highlight the superior benefits your product provides over your competitors
Produce webinars or live demos to showcase your products or services in action.
Offer free trials, samples, or consultations to allow potential customers to experience your offerings firsthand.
Implement retargeting campaigns to stay top-of-mind with prospects who have shown interest in your products or services.
Decision Stage - In the decision stage, potential customers are ready to make a purchase decision and are evaluating different options. At this stage, your content should focus on providing the final push needed to convert prospects into customers.
Best practices for content marketing in the decision stage include:
Create testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers to build trust and credibility.
Offer limited-time promotions or discounts to incentivize immediate action.
Provide detailed product specifications and pricing information to help prospects make an informed decision.
Implement live chat or customer support options to address any last-minute questions or concerns.
Send personalized emails with exclusive offers or incentives to encourage conversion.
Relevance and strategic placement of content are crucial factors in a successful content marketing strategy. By ensuring that the content caters to the specific needs and interests of the target audience, it becomes more engaging and effective. Moreover, strategically placing the content across various platforms and channels increases its visibility and reach. Additionally, it is essential to create content that covers all stages of the buyer's journey, from awareness to decision-making, to guide and influence potential customers effectively. Building upon these principles, the upcoming five articles will delve deeper into each aspect, providing valuable insights and actionable tips to help you create a compelling content marketing strategy. Stay tuned for the next articles, as they will provide a comprehensive framework that can elevate your marketing efforts to new heights.