Finding the Right Content Mix for Your Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing refers to the creation and curation of different types of content used to attract, educate, and sell to customers. Content marketing is considered an important part of search engine optimization (SEO) and lead generation for online businesses. Discover the right mix of content to use for your targeted audience, which can add up to more traffic for your site and more revenue for your business.
Start by taking an inventory of your existing content. In addition to the pieces of content used across your website or blog, consider the types of content that you send to customers in e-mail, include as part of off-site ad campaigns or PPC (pay per click) campaigns, or share in social media. The types of content to inventory should include the following:
White papers and guides
Recorded webinars or Google+ Hangouts
Memes, photos, and images (any type of visual content)
Articles (including how-to articles, lists, and product reviews)
Next, define your buyer personas and the content that fits each persona. A persona is a collection of traits that best describes a particular type of customer or buyer. Personas help put a face to your customers and keep you on track as to what matters most to that particular customer. Buyer traits that make up a persona should include both demographics (for example, gender, income, and geographic location) and psychographics (personal preferences, lifestyle and behaviors, and needs).
Buyer personas should align with the types of problems a particular customer is trying to solve using your products or services, or the particular desires being met by your products and services. After you have defined your buyer personas, identify the existing content that speaks to or addresses those personas.
After your buyer personas are determined, you should identify content that supports each stage in the buying process for your product or service. Generally, you can group content into one of the following buying stages:
Awareness: The buyer may or may not realize she has a need or desire for your product and is in the very early stage of learning or even realizing your product or service exists. Content in the awareness stage should be general and should begin to educate the buyer about problems or concerns that relate to your product.
Evaluation: The buyer is aware she has a problem or desire and is beginning to consider different solutions or products. In this stage, your content should specifically address the benefits or features of your product or service, or discuss your company.
Purchase: Now ready to make a purchase, the buyer in this stage of the process may be choosing between which company and which brand to buy, or may be deciding when to buy. Content in this stage of the process should help push the buyer toward that final purchasing decision.
You need to make one more list: map out where your content is used. Making this list helps determine what types of content you need. This list might include your various social media sites (Facebook Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others), Google AdWords, your blog, specific pages on your website (including landing pages, or the pages where visitors are most likely to enter your site, other than your home page), or third-party sites where you may need or want to contribute content.
After completing the preceding exercises, you may determine that almost all your content is general. You may discover that your content doesn't target any specific type of customer, and doesn't address every stage of the buying process. Or you may realize you simply don't have enough different types of content to support all your advertising and marketing activities.
Identify the holes in your content marketing strategy — the content you are missing. Specifically, you are now able to create the right mix of content by determining the content you have or that you need to develop that is customized for a particular customer so that you can better address how your product meets the buyer's needs or desires in the various stages of buying.