CREATING CONTENT WITH PURPOSE
Why is Content important to Inbound?
There is a lot that goes into a high performing content.
What exactly is Content?
Content is the message your inbound strategy delivers. It’s what you are trying to deliver to your visitors, leads, customers and promoters. There are many ways to deliver that message like blogs, e-mails, landing pages, social media; without content there is nothing to deliver. Internet would be empty. Internet is full of content. Content pulls people from one set of methodology to another.
Content is what attracts visitors to your website, converts them into visitors and leads, closes them as customers and then delights them into promoters.
“Content is a fuel that Powers a successful Inbound Strategy.”
In the attract stage, your content is made of videos and blogs. Content is what converts the strangers to visitors; this is the stage where they download videos and information from your website. Content drives those visitors into leads as it what they receive in return for their e-mail addresses. In the close stage, content is what builds the emails that your leads are opening. Content is what delights the customers into promoters. Personalized contents helps educate them and offers them an outstanding customer service and creates promoters.
So content is what fuels the inbound methodology running!
How to Create Remarkable Content?
Remarkable content is what people want to read, share and come back for more. In pre-Internet era the major problem was space; Limited space in magazines, billboard, but with internet the space is unlimited. Even though there is so much of content out there, it is very difficult to capture the attention of the people.
Good content is about catching the attention of the people. If you really want to grab the attention of your prospects you will have to follow a plan.
35% of the B2B marketers have a documented strategy and B2C marketers have a documented content strategy.
You can come up with your own ideas and strategies in order to turn your organization into a content creating machine. The more content you create the better. Every piece of content makes it easier and better. Think of the process as a savings account, if you stick to your plan and invest then you earn returns from your investment bringing you closer to your end goal. It is the same with content. Every piece of content you create is like an investment towards your content goal. If you are consistent in your approach then in time you will become content wealthy. And you will have a robust content database to attract, convert, close the prospects as customers and delight the customers as promoters!
You should also keep in mind that building out a plan for your content creation machine does take time, which you will gain over time. You need patience!
Typically a Content Process has 4 steps;
Take what you have learnt from your analysis and repeat it all over again.
A Content is best defined by 3 things;
- Purpose—to get the people to your sites or to get them convert into leads
Now after you have established the Purpose of the content, you have to format it which comes in various forms:
- Case Study
- Calculator / Worksheet
- Research Report
- Slideshare Deck
- Whatever else you come up with!!!!!!
There is not much of a difference between them. It just depends on who you are creating it for, how much time it would take to create, how much time it should be created for.
Picking the best format for your content is all about your buyer persona;
If your buyer persona is a visual then you should think about making infographics. If you know that they read blog posts on a regular basis, make a blog post work. If you have a particularly valuable piece of content then it might belong behind a form. You have to try different types of format for your content and check what works best , if you not able to figure out the format then the best people to contact would be your SALES TEAM as they are the best to give information regarding the needs and requirements of Your buyer persona.
The final element of a piece of content is the topic. What are you writing about? Figuring out the topic for your content is the most important part of the content creation and sometimes it can be hardest part. To make it simpler there are 2 things to know so as to come up with a topic;
- BUYER PERSONAS, who you are trying to reach
- THE BUYERS JOURNEY, what content would be most interesting and helpful to them
In order to tailor the topic for a remarkable content, you have to know your buyer persona and where they are & in a buyer’s journey. If you follow the proper guidelines you could convert your inbound efforts into remarkable contents. And if you are creating it without these 2 things in mind, then you would not be as efficient or effective that you could be.
Buyer personas are those who you want to attract, convert, close and delight. This is your ideal customer. This is who you are creating your content for. The best kind of content is the one which your buyer personas read, share and come back for more. So you need to build content with them in mind always!
Great Content is Educational; this is how you are going to instill interest in your buyer persona. There are different ways to identify topics that matter.
- Keyword Research – what you want to rank for
- Internet Forums
- Popular Industry News
- Sales/Support FAQs
- Your Buyer Persona Goals
- Your Buyer Persona Challenges
You got to understand your readers better to know who your readers are especially the ones whom you want to convert into leads and customers. Once you know, who they are; you can create a content, which perfectly suits their needs.
A remarkable content is not product based, its solution based. Remember remarkable content isn’t about your business or your product its about your potential customers, the problems they are having and the answers they are searching for. In order to provide a solution you need to understand their problem, the buyers journey helps you do this.
The Buyers Journey: the active research process people go through leading up to making a purchase.
In Buyer’s Journey they first identify a problem or opportunity, investigate the issue and finally find a solution to their problem. The buyers journey helps you refine, what your content is all about while helping you create content that is relevant to your buyer personas place in the buyers journey.
- Awareness Stage: content would be regarding the problems faced by the buyer persona
- Consideration Stage: content would be more of a solution to a problem
- Decision stage: content regarding your product or service as the visitor has already determined their solution to their problem
Now, you want to be creating contents for all the different stages of your buyers journey. Before you conclude, simply try and understand what your buyer persona is looking for in different stages of the buyers journey, which will help you keep aligned with the specifications of your content creation.
Awareness Stage: Since the content is regarding the problems or opportunity experienced by the prospect. Now educating the buyer persona regarding his need or problems would be something he would be looking for so;
- Analyst Reports
- Research Reports
- Editorial Content
- Expert Content
- Educational Content
All the above said contents would be a great piece of content for the awareness stage.
Consideration Stage: the prospect has clearly defined and given a name to his problems or opportunity. The content assets should clearly speak about their solutions and their needs bridging the gap between educational assets and product or service information while limiting the promotion of your brand. You don’t want to sell your value too early and risk losing their attention. Remember you are still trying to build a relation with the visitor by offering insightful educational advice. That being said, if there is a product or value that is directly related to what is being said or discussed, there is no harm in calling it out, it should not be made the primary focus on the content. Be helpful but not pushy;
- Expert Guidelines
- Live Interactions
- Comparison Whitepapers
Work well for this stage!
Decision Stage: The prospect has worked well on their solution strategy, method or approach and is making a decision. The assets in this stage require more direct action from your buyer persona. They are ready to make a purchase. Now that their problems are identified and an ideal solution is determined. Content on the decision stage will be focused on your own Product and Service;
- Vendor Comparison
- Product Comparison
- Case Studies
- Trial Download
- Product Literature
- Live Demos
There are so many opportunities with different types of contents you can create. You can determine where your content fits in; based on the topic, not the format.
How will this benefit your Buyer Persona?
Always ask this question while creating a piece of content. If you are not asking yourself this question then you may not be creating a remarkable piece of content. Remember you want to create content that will benefit your buyer persona. Every time you are creating content ask yourself who you are creating it for. If it is anybody other than your buyer persona then you better go back and think through why you creating this content.
Understanding what you are going to write about before you start writing will help you consistent. Use Buyer’s journey as your blue print to your content. Simply identifying what content you would be writing to successfully educate a buyer persona will help develop a content blue print to keep you and your team focused;
Your content need not be lengthy or elaborate you just have to set a plan and follow it. It all comes down to transforming your ideas, plans into real content assets to attract, convert, close and delight. But you should remember you are not just creating content you are creating remarkable content.
Best Practices for Content creation;
- Always focus on mapping content to your buyer personas and where they are on the buyers journey: always create a content keeping a buyer persona and buyers journey in mind. The more specific your content, the better. Specific content can attract qualified visitors and get converted to leads who are more likely to become customers.
- Less is More: your buyer personas are probably just as busy as you are; make it easier for them to consume your content. Don’t go about making a 50 page e-book or a 2 hour webinar. Remember this is for your buyer persona, focus on covering the topic in full than creating a lengthy content; you buyer personas will definitely thank you.
- Keep it Educational, not Promotional: It’s not until the decision stage of the buyers journey when your product should be discussed in detail. – Your website pages are pieces of content that are great for the decision stage. It should focus on the beginning part of the buyers journey.
- Focus on the informational part of the Content first, worry about the Design second: Prioritize on making a good content rather than making it look good. Content like infographics rely heavily on design, but if not for the content then infographics wouldn’t have even existed.
This is one of the most important stages which is often overlooked. Your content is only as good as your content delivery. You should make sure that your content get out in the world. There is a huge misconception with content creation that as soon as you publish your blog post all the leads would start coming in, if you are lucky that might be the case but it is not always. You need to promote and distribute that content.
While a piece of content is finite, the promotion of that content is infinite. You have actually spend a lot of time and effort in creating that remarkable content, now it is time to distribute and promote that content to the world.
“Think of your Content like a Gas Tank and the Promotion of it as the Fuel”— Justin R Champion
You might realize that even after creating such a great content it is very difficult to grab the attention of the buyer persona. It is the issue of fighting for attention rather than space. People have very limited attention span so you really remarkable content to reel them in. The content should be shared with the world in such a way that it helps in achieving your business goals.
How do you make Distribution more Effective?
There is a certain way you leverage your content through distribution. The right distribution technique is getting the right content in front of the right person at the right time. Your content can be the right weapon to attract new visitors, convert them into leads and so on. The right distribution helps you achieve these feats. Use your website pages and business blogs not only for the content but also to host the different content offers that you have created. Landing pages will actually act as gate keeps for your content offers.
Social Media is a fantastic tool to promote your content, there are many different social channels you can use so keep your buyer persona in mind and think where they will be spending their time. Use social media scheduling tool to help you save time. Calls to action in your website will entice the visitors to download or request for different offers. Use e-Mails to let people know the exciting new content you have created. All the methods work, you just have to be promoting continuously. If the e-book is still relevant 6 months after, still promote it again.
- Website Pages
- Business Blogs
- Landing Pages
- Social Media ‘call-to-action
- Marketing e-Mails
Just as the aspect of any other inbound strategy, you need to analyse the efficacy of the content to get more out of it. Are you creating content on the right topics? Is it in the correct format? Is it being distributed in the right ways? Knowing the solutions to these questions would be more effective in moving forward. Before repeating make sure that what you are doing is working. Why did it work? Why didn’t it work?
What are the Metrics to consider while analyzing your website Content?
- Number of Visits – how many views did your content have
- Leads Generated — did your content offer convert leads, how many did reach your goal?
- Social Proof, Share-ability — did any body share your content on social media did it get re-tweeted or re-posted?
- Inbound Links —are there any outside links connecting to your website? It would build authority to your website and your content.
- Content Performance by Author — is one content author creating a better content; should he be creating the majority of the content in the future? Are there any tips that could be given to the other content creators?
- Content Performance by Topic — do your buyer personas prefer one topic? Continue writing about that topic.
- Content Performance by Format — is there a certain format that is performing better than the other. This can also give you a insight on your buyer persona. If your buyer persona is not visiting the webinar then its time to create something different which would attract the attention of the buyer persona
Do not forget to repeat. Repeat what is working out for you and stop what is not clicking!
Inbound Marketing is about testing things out and checking what works well for you? Each industry is different. Take what you can learn from each content and help create more efficient content down the road. Continue repeating this content process learning more about the Buyer Persona consider remarkable.
Building up Content Process take’s time but it will gain momentum with Time!