Content marketing is not a simple undertaking. Fortunately for the motivated marketer, there is a healthy online supply of content marketing how-to articles, infographics, and video tutorials about killer headlines, effective SEO, readable sentence structure…and it’s all important. But no how-to guide will help you move the needle without having first established a strong content marketing foundation. This blog series will identify the 3 key building blocks for laying the basis of a successful content marketing operation.
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Building Block 1: Targeted Content
To help your organization create a steady flow of relevant and provocative content first personify your target audience by clearly defining your Buyer Personas. Start by asking yourself:
- What demographics and firmographics define my target audience(s)?
- What matters to them personally and professionally? What are their pain points?
Be sure to flesh out the persona with gender, professional title, behavior, opinions and personality. If it helps you connect, come up with a name and ask yourself what keeps her up at night? What are his daily challenges and goals? And don’t forget to revisit your Buyer Personas consistently. Personas evolve as you learn more about them, and with each evolution, you’ll create more pertinent content for your buyers and drive better results. For more information on creating Buyer Personas, you can refer to Create a Buyer Persona-Based Content Marketing Strategy from Sales Benchmark Index.
Next, clearly identify the stages of your Buyer Journey by asking yourself, What stages does a prospective buyer go through in their journey from no brand awareness to becoming a paying customer?
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Start with everyone who could be interested in your product or your content, through to people who have indicated an interest in buying your product, and finally to the paying customer. Understanding the informational needs of your buyers and how they change at each of these stages will help you deliver valuable content at the right time. Not to mention, defining the logical pathways to purchase will give you a look into which pieces of content you might still need to create. These exercises will ensure that you can successfully map content to each stage in the sales cycle.
After that, outline your company’s area of expertise. Ask yourself, What topics does my company have a unique point of view on and expertise in?
In your brainstorm, consider the business problem your product or service helps to solve. If needed, don’t hesitate to identify primary and secondary topics. But most importantly, make sure you can write an endless amount of content on whatever you identify as your area of expertise.
Finally, ensure each piece of content is within your company’s content “sweet spot:” the intersection of a specific Buyer Persona, stage in a Buyer’s Journey, and an area of company expertise.
Make sure all content is mapped to a specific stage in the buyer journey. Use the knowledge gained from creating Personas to understand the kind of information buyers want–and need–as they move through the funnel. For example, instead of creating content about the amazing way your newest feature does this-that-and-the-other-thing, look at information through the eyes of your buyer. They may not know much about your solution, or even care that you can offer them a better way of doing business. What they do know is that they want to be more efficient and more effective at meeting their goals. If you gain their trust and respect by creating content around these desires and everyday struggles, they’ll be more willing to learn about your company’s solution.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Building Block Series, and in the meantime, remember that your prospects and clients are people! Once you start creating expert content for real people with real challenges and needs, you will have one of the key building blocks for a successful content marketing strategy.