Regardless of where you fall in the marketing spectrum—whether it be a small business owner who manages it yourself or an established content marketer—it’s always important to review your content marketing plan from time to time. After all, content looks like it will continue to be one of your most effective tools for some time going forward.
Great content allows you to educate the marketplace and identify who is most interested in your product. It also helps you maintain customers by sustaining that brand-to-customer relationship, creating loyalty and encouraging user-generated conten
Outlined below are three key steps that should guide you in producing content that feeds your marketing machine, speaks to your audience and, in turn, adds value to your bottom-line.
1. Content that Inform
We’re all familiar with how the sales funnel works, that being the cyclical process of learning about a company, gaining in understanding, purchasing and becoming a repeat customer.
But within the sales funnel each audience requires different content along the way, whether it is focused on creating interest, problem-solving or building relationships. To focus your efforts, it helps to build the funnel into three general categories.
- Awareness: At the top of the funnel are those who need basic information about a problem, solution, and industry. Here you can encourage them to share information like their name, email and phone number so you can continue the conversation with them. This content should create curiosity that encourages the customer to engage with your brand.
- Conversion: As customers enter this stage they have shared information, shown interest and become more engaged with your brand. Now is your chance to introduce them to the unique benefits of your product and get them to a point of decision making. At this stage, you’re helping them answer the question: “Should I buy Brand X or Brand Y?”
- Building relationships: Customers who reach this important next stage of the funnel are proof that your content marketing is working. Now, it’s time to take those customers and motivate them to become a brand advocate by submitting a quote or review, participating in a case study or being a customer reference. There is so much you can do with one happy customer to create more (future happy) customers.
2. The Best Medium for Your Message
Not all content is equal. For example, some, like video, can be suited to virtually any stage of the sales funnel, from initial interest or advertorials to testimonials, and even instructional videos. Others lend themselves to more specific levels of engagement. Evaluating the best type of content to convey your message is the next step in producing something that will reach the right customer at the right time.
If you’re building awareness to generate leads at the top of the funnel it’s usually best to focus efforts on blog posts, infographics, and even some trendy 2018 content types. Currently, those include informational videos and long-form content. Engaging long-form pieces of content can provide a significant lift in your SEO marketing efforts and provide informational depth to benefit potential customers.
For the next stage of the funnel, you’ll want to demonstrate how your specific product can help the potential customer. Content like white papers, product videos, webinars, eBooks, or side-by-side comparisons are great ways to get the customer to make a favorable decision when asking “should I buy Brand X or Brand Y?”
Finally, content that generates customer advocacy comes from continuing the conversation with your customer after their point of purchase. Most often, we turn to email marketing with calls to action for reviews, check-in via email and phone and gauge willingness to be an advocate, and overall aim to let them know how much we appreciate their business and genuinely take into mind their thoughts about the product. Shareable content and newsletters will also make it easy for them to take the next step to be a brand cheerleader.
3. Measure, Rinse and Repeat
Recognizing that this should be part of every marketing plan, still, it’s the final piece of the puzzle is to keep close tabs on how your content pieces are performing, and inform you of your next steps. This information provides a clear understanding of leads generated, engagement and conversion, which not only benefits the bottom line but also helps internally promote the value of your marketing efforts.
Applied properly, metrics provide a solid road map for creating more effective content. By utilizing readership and customer feedback, marketing teams can optimize their content to perform better for the brand.
Developing content that informs, finding the right media for distribution and keeping a close eye on metrics will result in great content that can be repurposed into a limitless number of new content pieces. The best way to achieve the results is to start sooner than later. Most content tends to be a long tail form of marketing, but more on that for another time.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Jon "Canadian" Bacon received his college education in the U.S. at Brigham Young University. After several years in marketing communications, working on clients in hospitality, entertainment, tourism, mortgage lending, he found his passion in technology. Currently, he works at SureCall, a Silicon Valley based consumer electronics company that enables better connections through its products, cell phone signal boosters. As the VP of Marketing he oversees the companies strategic direction while working with an excellent team of marketing professionals. With several years in this growing industry, Jon is fascinated by the growth opportunities ahead. When he's busy at work, you'll find him spending time with his family outdoors in beautiful Southern Utah, enjoying the spectacle of politics, or watching and/or playing sports.