How many times have you sat at your desk in the morning wondering what content to create and if it is really needed or not? Hmm… regardless of how many cups of coffee you have, the answer to that question is not going to be easy to find unless you already have a process in place.
We all know that content marketing comes in many forms and the cost to produce and execute can escalate quickly. As a leader of marketing resources, if you’re not paying attention to your multiple initiatives, the workflow planning, budget and how your team is constantly executing, you may quickly find out that the cost to attract and convert customers has exceeded your expectations. Oh, oh. Here are a few tips that when implemented, can help prevent this from happening.
TIP 1: Plan The Work, Work The Plan
This is fundamental for any operation that has many integrated pieces, requirements, and staff speaking into outcomes. My suggestion is to start with what is most important to your marketing and begin a plan that breaks it into smaller pieces with tactical goals.
In order for top of funnel growth to occur, you must create a plan, because good content marketing doesn’t just happen accidentally.
Below are several things you should think about and even include in your content marketing plan. Before you begin creating your plan, first, determine what budget and staff resources you have available. Then, make sure you have a good grasp of your market, brand story, unique positioning statement and value proposition. Lastly, summarize all of this so that your team is on the same page. This is the foundational groundwork for your content marketing plan.
- Summarize your market space
- Obtain target audience specifics and their motivations to buy
- Determine the purpose of your marketing content
- Determine what methods will be used (Web, mobile, email, landing pages, video, infographics, eBooks, etc.)
- Make sure to focus on your personas and the sales funnel location
- Determine and map your content for each channel that is being used in your marketing. Don’t forget, these channels should match-up with where your target audience is.
- Create an editorial calendar for your team to follow
- Customer path and conversion. Think about the customer path as a touch point. Then lead the customer down a path toward a conversion decision. This may take a few clicks and even jump from social to email to web
- Determine how to measure the cost of your content
TIP 2: Know Your Audience and Where They are in The Funnel
A marketing qualified lead occurs when marketing content has attracted and converted a prospective customer and guided them to complete an inquiry form or another mechanism for gathering their information. This happens most consistently when you know what part of the sales funnel your content is designed for and what type of person it resonates with best. The top of the funnel starts with awareness. This is almost always the first touch point. The middle of the funnel is consideration. Here the content is designed to keep the customer close by providing deeper, more engaging content that will hopefully guide them to “considering” your business over another. Content that leads to customers is not haphazard, but a process that requires planning and purposeful content for each area of the funnel.
As a marketer, you want to fully define 3-5 personas (or more if necessary) and describe them as if you are trying to explain everything about them and what makes them unique.
Your marketing content can, in fact, lead to new customers. But you must understand the customer and their needs and motivations before you can expect them to gobble up your content and take the next step to engage in your brand’s content. Whether you are focusing on web, mobile apps, social, video or some other form, understanding the customer is critical to reach higher levels of customer engagement.
TIP 3: Create Content For Multiple Channels
This is where your marketing ROI really skyrockets. If you’re into creating original content all the time, that’s good, however, the cost to produce that content is extremely high if it is not being used in more than one place. Repurpose that content in other areas that make sense.
Imagine, longer format content like eBooks, white papers, videos and even website content can be repurposed into smaller chunks of content and used in emails, social media, blogs, and Infographics. This allows your marketing team to not spend as much time digging for good content all the time. To the contrary, they will create better content more frequently and it won’t take as long. Sharing your content is also a huge part of getting more exposure and getting more value out of one piece of content. Business 101 says to keep costs down and return on investment up. This will accomplish exactly that.
The hardest part of all implementing all three tips, in reality, isn’t the work itself. It’s training your team to focus on the correct target audience for each piece of content, understanding what funnel location that content is designed for, where the customer path goes next and also and understanding ways to repurpose their content. If all of these are clearly outlined and understood, your content marketing and your team will be a huge success and your marketing ROI will skyrocket well above where it is now.
Scott MacFarland is a lifelong marketer with a passion for all forms of marketing… especially digital. His perspective is firmly rooted in digital content marketing and social strategies that nurture and convert prospective customers. YourBrandExposed.com is a digital content marketing and strategy consultancy that works with businesses big and small to solve their most difficult questions surrounding digital. Let us know how we can help you.
Scott MacFarland – Chief Content Marketer, Digital Strategist
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