How to create highly effective content.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic business process which focuses on providing prospects with valuable & educational content relevant to them in order to stimulate an interest in your products or services. Your content marketing strategy should align with your overall business goals, one of which is probably to generate more customers. It should both educate your audience and build trust. After all, a prospect who trusts that you know what challenges they face and how to overcome them is far more likely to want to do business with you.
Content marketing is all about your audience so before you engage in building a content marketing strategy you need to properly define your audience segments and understand what challenges each of them faces. This allows you to create content that resonates with them, provides value and offers solutions to their problems. When done correctly, content marketing helps to establish a relationship with your audience which ultimately leads to trust and delight.
How content marketing affects sales.
Given the way humans interact with technology and the subsequent shift in consumer behaviour over the past decade, people much prefer to ‘pull’ educational content then have someone ‘push’ it to them. Traditionally it has been the salesperson’s role to attract and engage with prospects. Nowadays people prefer to perform more research on the company and its competitors before engaging with sales, and they’re looking to be educated by the information on your website.
84% of B2B buyers go to websites before making a business purchasing decision. Relevant, high-quality content and regular content updates to keep buyers engaged and interested.
If content marketing follows a strategic plan, you will drive traffic and produce inbound leads. Developing quality content which addresses the searcher’s needs will allow you to influence their journey and engage with them on their terms. Great content should also be used as a sales enabler in the latter stages of the sales process. Offering free and relevant resources for your prospect to make an informed decision increases the likelihood they will want to do business with you. Examples are infographics, case studies, and informative videos.
Content marketing also creates brand awareness and educates prospects who visit your site, building credibility from the start of your relationship and eventually developing them into trusting customers. Great content marketing builds trust by providing prospects with consistent and valuable content that helps them solve their challenges.
The 5-step checklist for creating content that converts.
If you’re doing content marketing already, you’ll know it takes up a lot of time and effort, so you want to make sure it’s working for your business strategically.
As with anything you want to do properly, you should spend some time planning first, otherwise, you risk having a content bank that confuses prospects and damages your credibility. Follow this 5-step checklist when you create content and turn your marketing efforts into sales:
1. Purpose: why are you doing this?
What value are you offering your audience? Content that educates and inspires is a good place to start if you’re looking for ideas. It could be a blog post that’s filled with useful resources for the audience or one that introduces them to a new service your business offers. Whatever your purpose for this post, it should complement your overall marketing strategy and goals.
2. Goals: set them.
How are you going to measure the success of this blog post, video, campaign or other? You’ve probably heard of setting SMART goals before but it’s worth reiterating the importance of setting your goals to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Your goals should also tie in with the purpose of the post. For example, if you’re hosting an event and using a blog post to promote the topic, one of your goals may be to generate a click-through-rate to the event page of 5% in the first week. The success of your marketing efforts should be reported in terms of engagement or traffic metrics i.e. page views, sessions, bounce rates etc.
3. Audience: Who is this for?
There are a few things to think about at this stage of your planning but it’s made a lot easier when you have some buyer persona’s to play with. A buyer persona is a researched character profile that depicts a target customer. Buyer personas describe your ideal customers, their challenges and other information such as how they make decisions.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Who is the main audience I am targeting?
- Why will this content resonate with them?
- How is it relevant to them?
- Which stage of the buyer’s journey are they at?
- What challenges will this help them solve?
- Does this person know what their challenges are?
Using buyer personas will greatly reduce the time spent on this step of the planning process and give your content marketing strategy a clear purpose. Learn How to Create Buyer Personas with our step-by-step guide and FREE downloadable template.
4. CTAs: Plan smart.
When it comes to your call-to-action buttons, you should focus on compelling, persuasive text to capture the reader’s attention and appeal to the same reasoning that got them there in the first place. Use persuasive text to excite the audience, Learn more, Get Started, Join Today, or Sign Up. Make sure if they click on the CTA they are taken to a place where they can seek additional value. To make your CTA stand out make sure you get the positioning on the page right. Where and when do you want your audience to see it? Try using a brand colour which contrasts the page background to get your CTA noticed.
5. Distribution: Get your content seen.
You may have heard of the 80:20 rule when it comes to content marketing. This approach means spending 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time promoting it. After all, it’s better to find 10,000 more people to consume your existing material than it is to just start the next piece once it’s posted. Depending on the content you should decide how you will get this to the right people at the right time. If you choose email marketing to a list, make sure the email is from you, not firstname.lastname@example.org. If you schedule the post, don’t schedule it for 9am on the dot. That screams of automation and you want to remain as human as possible, send it at 9:04 instead. Excite the audience by using an intriguing subject line and preview text and don’t be afraid of using emojis.
Make sure you’re promoting your content across your social channels and encouraging your team to engage with the posts to boost its reach.
Content marketing: conclusion
While content creation and marketing takes time and effort, it is a worthwhile business process to invest in getting right. If done consistently well you will have closer relationships with your customers and prospects as well as more inbound leads and higher conversion rates.