Better marketing is easy – follow this guide to get a better idea on how to achieve it.
1. Understanding the Content Marketing (Sales) Funnel
This is a broad term that is used in describing the decision-making journey of the buyer, and it has three key phases; awareness, evaluation, and purchase. This process is very important for anyone who takes part in sales and marketing because it will help them have a better understanding of what makes the buyer want to move from one phase of the funnel to the next.
To some extent, content marketing can be seen as an outreach, which means it is located at the top of the funnel. Many outsiders can easily see that this aspect of digital marketing is not close to the actual money-making part of the funnel.
With content marketing, it adds the fourth stage of the funnel, and it comes right after the “delight”, which sums down to brand loyalty. This makes it a must for every content strategist to think about these four phases of the funnel;
- Outreach: to attract new customers
- Conversion: to convince customers to buy
- Closing: to make the sale
- Retention: to establish brand loyalty and also the returning customers
The top of the funnel is where lead generation and brand awareness takes place. This provides you the chance of casting a net over a large customer base and managing to build an audience and engaging with them to understand more about the entire strategy. A great content manager or strategist is able to understand on to engage with their customer at every stage of the funnel and keep cycling them through the funnel over and over.
2. Viewing Content as Data
A content strategy isn’t the number of blogs you can write in a month, the amount of time you spend on Facebook live, or whether a white paper is a right choice or not for your company. It is about the quality, but all of these are not what truly a strategy is about – they are components, but they are not the ones to guide your strategic approach.
A good content marketing strategy should be able to engage their audience at every point and to achieve this, a great strategist needs to know how their content is working. If you have the ability to spin the content to be effective in one phase, then you can use the same approach to move to the next stage in the funnel.
Analytics will guide the strategy. The main work of the strategist is monitoring, tracking, watching, and reporting on the numbers so as to enable the refinement and adjustment for a better conversion. Some of the things you will need to track are where are the customers “coming from”, and where are they “going”. This means a constant assessment of traffic patterns.
Testing continuously what you are doing will give you a better chance of learning the preferences of your audience, their purchasing behavior, and interests. You need to know whether the material is performing well so that you can make it to the next steps of the process.
Some of the questions you will continuously ask include:
- What can be improved and refined?
- What platforms, apps, and tools are working well and not working well?
- Going by the sales, what is the best use of resources and time?
- How are all the different things blending?
This post from Harnham UK will provide you with more ideas on this concept.
3. Making a Plan
Having a calendar is important for any strategy. Having a content calendar is just the same as an editorial calendar for traditional publication because it will help in guiding your strategy throughout the campaign. You will most likely like to add some special dates inside, like events relevant to the industry or major holidays. Leaving a “blank” spot is a good idea because it will be able to cover any unpredictable but relevant event or a new topic that needs content to be created for it at the last minute.
This calendar can also be used in planning where the content is going to be posted. It is very important to have a multimedia strategy and outreach such as guest posting and PR. Think about the different channels that are able to fit into your sales strategy in the coming months.
When you are considering distribution, you need to keep in mind that different types of content have different purposes, and you need to know how each is going to affecting your marketing. You also need to know how to combine in order to save yourself time and resources. You might be interested in considering establishing authority by use of guest blogs and building tribes and groups through social media.
It is efficient and reasonable to have a strategy that is based on chunks of content that can be repurposed easily using different channels for a different purpose. When creating your content, you should also be thinking about how it is going to be repurposed in the future.
Below are some of the ideas;
- Developing a webinar then turning into an email course you can sell
- Creating PDF guides using content from old blogs
- Creating Wikipedia pages from the content written about your site – they can be used for citations.
- Developing a blog so you can have an easier time later when creating a case study or whitepaper
- Creating an infographic using a slideshow or a slideshow using an infographic
You can also create the content with a mixed-use strategy in mind. A great example of this is tweet buttons. Anything that is able to help you I providing an easier way for you or your audience to increase the distribution of content is very good.
Establishing a Specific Direction for the Content
Let’s you are the content manager or strategist, and you have a great team of content and writers. You have already come up with a strategy, you have a good understanding of the funnel, you have the calendar ready. You have already established what you want to say.
Many businesses out there already have a lot of content and good writers to create even more; these are important, just like the tools to use for analytics. But the strategist must know the piece of marketing framework the different types of content falls into.
This list is not a concrete example as it varies with context. But it should give you a rough idea of breaking down content types into the different stages of the funnel so that every member of the time knows the purpose of each one.
- Outreach: landing page, Facebook ads, infographics, explainer video
- Conversions: Informational blog posts, social media, quizzes, case studies
- Closing: Reviews, email series, questionnaires
- Retention: Whitepapers, exclusive offers, contests, emails, surveys
It is important to have the content ready to be used and be ahead of the timeline. In addition to this, you will need to know the different types of content performances in different contexts, and this means through different platforms and different audience. Video is the trend that you can bank on the most today (especially when it comes to ephemeral content). Others include AI based application like voice search and infographics.