Did you know content is over 50% of what contributes to a sale?
That producing engaging content is the #1 content marketing challenge?
With expectations of consumers high, and the number of content touch points before a sale on the rise (up to 10.4 touches per customer), content marketing departments are trying harder than ever to deliver premium content experiences. Unfortunately, over 22% of content marketing budgets are wasted on ineffective content.
That is around 3.5 million dollars a year for a medium size company with 550 million in annual revenue.
The most common mistakes leading to wasted budget and ineffective content being rolled out the door are:
Follow these 6 steps to success in content marketing and increase content effectiveness up to 136%
#1) Develop buyer personas:
This is our opportunity to dive deep into the target audience. Skimping on this step is all too common and will leave your content without the customer centric, emotion grabbing sense of urgency we all want it to possess.
It is best to use a structured, research driven approach to developing personas. Using a research team and customer questionnaire is the best way to really find out who your customers are.
Focus on gathering inputs in the following areas.
Core Characteristics > Attitudes & Behaviors > Industry Mindset > Preferred Content Approach
Download this template with all of the outputs you will be looking for in persona creation.
#2) Create a customer journey:
Here is your chance to walk a mile (or just through a sale) in your previously developed persona's shoes. The customer journey incorporates emotions, pain points, touch points, acquisition strategies and more all into one.
It is important to really understand how a customer may move through the sales cycle, as this is the groundwork to creating objectives and strategies for each phase of the selling cycle.
There is no typical customer, nor 1 typical customer journey, but after enough research we are looking to gain an idea of how a large chunk of customers move through the sales cycle.
Download the customer journey template below
Now on to #3, #4, and #5
This is the meat and potatoes of content marketing, and will leave you with an identified content creation plan.
The most important thing to remember is to create content objectives and strategies based on what your persona wants! Do not start to think “oh yes, we have that one piece of content, from that one time, so let’s force it into our plan”
We created personas in step one to develop the most customer centric content strategy there is, and steps 3, 4 and 5 will allow you to isolate what type of content to create, what to talk about, and how to make (or re make) content that is high quality.
#3) Perform a content audit / pre build assessment and current inventory:
All content should be assessed before it is created (and after) on 3 main pillars:
Quality, Design and Relevance.
I've designed a custom content audit excel tool to help me with this process. It includes statements and scoring on items such as: “Title is clearly paid off in the body,” “Adheres to brand design standards,” “Is the appropriate length for the stage of journey.”
It is important (especially in large content marketing departments) that everyone knows what constitutes supreme content. The custom tool helps everyone be on the same page.
For more information or assistance on developing your own custom content audit tool, please contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
#4) Create objectives and strategy for each phase of the journey:
Here we focus on developing content objectives and strategies that alleviate pain points at each stage of the customer journey. For B2B technology companies, it is useful to use the 3 phased awareness marketing approach I wrote about in my last blog post.
Download the template below
#5) Determine what tactics and assets you will use
It’s all about the journey, and the journey is all about what topics you present, in what format, and through what medium.
In this step we use the customer persona, the objectives and strategy and have a little fun creating what I call the 3 t’s. Types, Topics, Tactics
Hint: get in a room with all your campaign stakeholders and use the template below, and hash this out. This will turn into your ideal content plan.
Circle what you will create first second and third, and now you will have a ideal content plan. Phase the priority of creation and move on to step 6 for all content you create.
#6) Create a measurement plan for each asset:
The most overlooked step in content marketing is creating a measurement strategy. Time and time again content is being made from scratch, and topics are being generated in isolation.
The goal of a measurement strategy is to amplify the good, re-engineer the ok and retire the bad content. This also creates a system of assessment and investment where best practices are identified and documented. Think about it … your content (and campaigns) keep getting better and better as you build off one another.
The above 6 steps to success in content marketing will unlock potential in your department like never before, and remember do it right and 60% – 136% increase in content effectiveness could be coming your way.
You now have templates for 4 of the 6 steps:
Persona, Customer Journey, Objectives & Strategy and Tactics & Assets.
For help with the other 2 areas:
Audit & Assessment and Measurement Plan
contact me @ email@example.com
Live long and prosper ... \\//>