Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

When you hear the words “content marketing”, odds are the first–and possibly only–thing that comes to your mind is a blog.  Most businesses’s idea of what content marketing is is too small, and they miss out on a lot of opportunities to get their brand out there.  Content marketing can attract new customers as well as move them through the marketing funnel to drive your sales numbers up. How can you incorporate content marketing into your marketing strategy?  What constitutes as “content”? This article will show you how to develop a content marketing strategy that will not only attract new customers, but excite existing ones.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is more than just blogs.  Perfect content isn’t about you or your brand, it’s about getting the customer the right information at the right time so they can easily move through the customer value journey. This can be anything from a YouTube advertisement introducing them to your product, to a graphic on your site detailing pricing information so they can make an informed decision. There are six characteristics of perfect content marketing:

  1. Perfect content marketing is full-funnel
  2. Perfect content marketing is intent-based
  3. Perfect content marketing is ascension focused
  4. Perfect content marketing is segmented
  5. Perfect content marketing is cross-channel
  6. Perfect content marketing is avatar-based

Perfect Content Marketing is Full-Funnel

Most marketers forget that they need to keep current customers engaged and happy as much as they need to acquire new ones.  By using full-funnel marketing, you can be sure that your customer is catered to at every step of their journey to purchasing.  There are three stages a new prospect will go through to become a customer, and each stage has different content that works best for it.  This use of different content for different stages of the marketing funnel is called the content lifecycle. Tailoring content to the stage of the funnel the prospect is in, and making the transition from stage to stage as seamless as possible is important because you don’t want to get in the way of your customers moving through the tunnel and getting frustrated.

Awareness (Top of the Funnel, TOFU)

The prospect becomes aware of a problem you have a solution for.  Content in this stage should be a low barrier of entry that entertains, excites, and inspires the prospect to want to further their journey down the funnel.  Content for this stage includes:

  • Blogging
  • social media updates
  • Infographics
  • Photographs
  • digital magazines/book
  • audio podcast
  • video/video podcast
  • Microsite
  • print magazine
  • Newsletter
  • primary research

Evaluation (Middle of the Funnel, MOFU)

Once the prospect is aware of the problem, they will evaluate all choices available, but take no action.  Here is where the focus shifts away from the problem to the solution you provide. This is where you offer free content to incentivise prospects to give you their contact information so you can send them future marketing.  This type of content is called a lead magnet. Content for this stage includes:

  • Educational resources
  • Useful resource
  • Software download
  • Discount/coupon club
  • Quiz/survey
  • webinar/event

Conversion (Bottom of the Funnel, MOFU)

The content in the conversion stage converts prospects into buyers.  By now, your prospect is aware of the problems they are facing as well as the solution you provide.  However, you are not the only business who offers a solution, so use this stage to set yourself apart from your competition.  Content for this stage includes:

  • Demo/free trial
  • Customer story/testimonial
  • Comparison/spec sheet
  • Webinar/event
  • Mini-class

Perfect Marketing is Intent-Based

What is the object of this piece of content? Is it to grab the attention of new customers? Is it to inform a prospect in the MOFU about a sale you have going on?  Every asset you create has a purpose, and it’s vital to keep that in mind when looking at the asset’s effectiveness. It’s just as important to remember that your prospects have intent too.  If your prospect wants to compare the prices of the different packages you offer, where can they go to find that information? Is it laid out in an easy-to-read infographic? The most lucrative assets you’ll make are those for the returning customer, not to get new ones.  Keeping existing customers happy can ensure that they will move to the “promote” stage of the customer value journey, which will bring in new customers.

Perfect Content Marketing is Ascension Focused

The whole goal of marketing is to get prospects to become customers, and you do that by nudging them along the customer value journey.  Ascension, while a stage in the CVJ, is also the act of moving from one stage to the next. Perfect content will make this ascension from stage-to-stage as frictionless as possible for the prospective client.  In the example of someone looking to compare prices, does that asset have an easy to find “purchase now” option below each package? The easier it is to move from one stage to another, the more likely the person is to ascend to the next stage in the CVJ

Perfect Content Marketing is Segmented

The number one mistake marketers make is trying to do too much with too little.  Keep in mind one or two goals per asset, and focus on those. Spreading your content too thin can hurt your credibility, and can confuse the prospective customer.

Perfect Content Marketing is Cross-Channel

Chances are, one piece of content can be modified for multiple platforms. You can post the same information on both Twitter and Facebook, for example.  Finding creative ways to tweak your content to fit multiple platforms will allow you to reach more people without having to create new content for everywhere you post.  Can that blog article become a video or podcast? Can it be expanded to a webinar or online class? There are endless ways you can create cross-channel content.

Perfect Content Marketing is Avatar-Based

Every single piece of content you produce must satisfy the intent of the customer avatars.  Either it can satisfy one avatar (targeted marketing) or it can satisfy many, it has to satisfy some intent.  This blog, for example, satisfies your intent to learn more about what makes perfect content marketing.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of what content marketing is, why it’s important, and have some ideas on how to implement it.  Content marketing is more than just blog posts, but blogging is a great jumping off point as posts can be modified to fit different channels.  Content marketing is only part of a comprehensive digital marketing plan, so how can you use it to help guide your customer through their customer value journey?

Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

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