Smart marketers have learned to adapt and are taking advantage of this trend by using content to attract, educate, and nurture potential customers through each stage of the buying process. The key here is to not just create content you think your audience wants, but to create and publish content that aligns with your audience’s needs, at every stage of the buying cycle.
With content marketing, you’re publishing quality content in the right place at the right time, making it both relevant and helpful to your potential customers. It’s an art, actually, because you’re communicating with potential customers through helpful information—without selling. Quality, educational content will not only attract potential customers, it will keep them coming back for more and engaged from the top to the bottom of the sales funnel.
Are you providing valuable content to your target audience when they need it? Here are a few tips to help you develop an effective, targeted content marketing strategy and publish quality content that both attracts and retains potential customers.
1. Organize your content team. In order to produce consistent, valuable content, you need to have the right team in place, ready to execute. Make sure you cover all of the bases: content management and planning, research and measurement, video and graphic creation, audience engagement etc.
2. Develop buyer personas. Creating content that’s not the right fit for your audience will attract the wrong visitors to your website and drive the right visitors away. Before you start producing content, take the time to create a detailed picture of your target audience and build buyer personas. By conducting research or reviewing existing information, segment your audience by demographic information, identify their pain points and needs, and develop behavior-based profiles. This will ensure you understand your audience so you can create appropriate content for each persona.
3. Outline your buying cycle. Not every piece of content you create will be appropriate for prospects in every stage of the buying cycle. So how do you know if you’re providing valuable information every step of the way and not just taking a guess and wishing for the best? By outlining your buying cycle stages, you will be able to more clearly define your prospects, which in return will help you create and deliver content that’s appropriate for each stage of the buying cycle. For example, you could divide the buying cycle into three stages:
- Awareness: Prospects are searching for specific information and find you. They’ve either become aware of your products and services or realized they have a need to fulfill.
- Evaluation: Prospects develop an understanding of your products and services and realize your offerings could fulfill their need. At this point, they’re evaluating their options and in the process of deciding whether or not you’re the best fit.
- Purchase: At this stage, prospects are ready to make a purchase or take action.
4. Plan and map your content. During this step, you want to outline the types of content that might be appropriate for each stage. For example, informative materials like blog posts and ebooks may be a good fit for the awareness stage, while case studies and work samples may be more appropriate for the evaluation stage. Once you have determined the types of content offers you have for each stage, assess what you have for content and what needs to be created for each buyer persona. It’s a complex process, but it’s worth it.
Have you taken your content marketing to the next level with a targeted content strategy?