Today’s marketers know that it isn’t enough to invest in creative to ignite a brand. Content still rules, but it must reinforce the visual and be targeted and presented in ‘snip its’ – because most digital content is scanned on mobile devices. Forbes predicts that mobile content marketing will separate winners from the rest of the pack.
The strategic objectives that drive the need for planning your content play are real. Content can help you achieve your marketing goals including:
- Brand Engagement & Evangelism: Content builds relationships and excites influencers to share the brand experience
“A report by the Content Marketing Institute indicates that a whopping 93% of B2B marketers now use content marketing as part of their overall marketing plan.”
- Thought Leadership: Content educates consumers and empowers them to be successful; in turn, you’re seen as a thought leader in your industry
- Cross Channel Alignment: Consistent content on your website, social outposts, email campaign, offline channels, etc. reinforces the brand experience and increases marketing program effectiveness
- Demand Generation & Lead Nurturing: Content attracts the right audience and increases inbound leads to your website
- Sales Enablement: Relevant content aligned to buying stages creates opportunities to qualify and convert leads into sales opportunities, moving leads through your sales funnel – faster
Buyer Persona and Journey Development
The first step in developing your content marketing plan is identifying your target audience. Knowing whom your customers are, what motivates them to buy your product/service and how they factor into the decisioning process for purchase is critical. The buyer journey, as it’s called, will map directly to your content at each stage of the sales process.
A buyer persona represents your ideal customer. Typically there are many and they can factor in at multiple buying stages including research, committing to change, validation and purchase. These personas will help you determine who and how you will market to them using content. Personas are often developed based on customer demographics and behavior, along with your own understanding of their motivations and challenges. The best way to start is to interview customers, prospects and members of your sales and customer services teams and validate with surveys and industry research.
Armed with this intelligence, you’ll be able to:
- Identify content topics, formats and methods of preferred channel distribution that satisfy specific needs / pain points and help the buyer progress from each stage of buying process
- Develop a tone and style of engagement that supports the brand value proposition and is consistent to reinforce the brand experience
- Target the topics you should be writing about
- Understand where buyers get their information from and how they want to consume it
Develop the following information about your targeted buyers:
- Persona name
- Persona title
- Job details and key responsibilities
- Where does your persona get his or her information?
- Persona’s primary goals
- Persona’s challenges and pain points
- Actual quotes
- Key objections
- Role in the purchase process
- ‘On brand’ marketing messages that speak to the value proposition and pain points of persona
Armed with your personas, the next step is developing the buying journey that will convert these personas into prospects and customers. A buying journey maps a buyer’s decision-making process during a purchase. Mapping this allows you to:
- Understand what process your buyers go through when considering your product or service
- Develop a content strategy that speaks directly to buyers, regardless of the buying stage
- Create a content matrix — mapping your current content to each buying stage, and determining where you have deficiencies
- Identify the topics that will align to the persona and stage using content arcs or themes and measure how content is performing
- Determine many assets will you create each month for each stage of your sales funnel
We adhere to the stages as defined by Sirius Decisions as follows:
1 — Loosening of the Status Quo
2 — Committing to Change
3 — Exploring Possible Solutions
4 — Committing to a Solution
5 — Justifying the Decision
6 — Making the Selection
Measure the Results
Once your content marketing strategy is in play, nothing is more important than measuring the impact of your content and its ability to convert. Here are some metrics to help you analyze the results of your campaigns by channel promotion.
Website & Blog
- Content asset downloads
- Content syndication program performance
- Conversions based on form fills
- Paid email program performance
- Performance of email programs containing content asset
- Content asset shares via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+
- Assisted Social Conversions
- PPC ad performance
- SEO ranking performance
The fundamentals and your content will be the fuel behind all of your marketing programs no matter what the program — an email campaign, a Pay-Per-Click search ad, or social application, your content aligned with visual engagement will be the secret sauce that drives conversions.
Additions & Feedback
If you have additional links, sources or ideas that you think would be helpful, please comment below.