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This article on content marketing is a lot like its subject. Articles about content marketing are as ubiquitous as the content itself. It seems that content marketing is gaining traction by all types of businesses. Consequently, the amount of content being created is huge! This sheer volume of content is also making it much harder to get noticed.
In fact, content marketing is getting so much focus, a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute found that:
Top performing companies have taken an all-in position regarding content marketing.
But it does come with its own set of challenges, as well. As I mentioned, there is an enormous volume of content that is being created, literally every day. Trying to cut through all of this noise to be heard is an immense issue.
There is also a frenetic pace occurring across the web. Content is being created just for the purpose of checking a task off of a daily to-do list. This “get-it-done” way of thinking certainly dilutes the results for the companies doing it. Further, this mindset makes it more difficult for people to find quality information that will answer the questions that they have.
Given the vast amount of content that is being created and the hours of work that it takes to create it, you’re probably wondering if you should even attempt to, or continue to, engage in the channel.
The answer is Yes! Yes, you should engage in content marketing, but don’t do it the way that most businesses are.
The first step to take, that will distinguish your content from the mass, will be to develop a content strategy. There are some very basic topics that should be included in this strategy.
Audience Profile: Who, exactly, are you creating this content for? You may find that you have a few different audience profiles. Make sure that your content is going to speak to each of them.
Editorial Calendar: One of the biggest challenges to content marketing is trying to figure out what to write about. An editorial calendar helps by providing at least a 3-month window of topics that will follow the rhythm of your business.
As an example, if your business is affected by annual seasons, use that in your calendar planning. Or, if your industry has periodic seminars, make sure that your planning your communications around those seminars.
In addition to just plugging in topics, you can also use your calendar to gather the assets that you will need for the content marketing piece that you are creating, like pictures, videos, case studies, and/or charts, before you need them.
SEO Support: Content marketing is a massive supporter of any businesses search engine optimization endeavor. One of the strongest SEO signals is content. Make sure that you identify the most relevant key-phrases for every piece of content that you create.
Content Promotion: Not only does the creation of content need to be planned, so too does the distribution and promotion of that content. As an example, if you’re creating a blog post, find places that you can syndicate your content.
Once your strategy is completed, the next step is to create a content mapping template that will help you create content based on your audience’s position in the sales funnel.
As people enter and then move through the sales funnel, the questions that they are looking to get answers to, change. To be effective, your content needs to match these changing questions and provide them with the answers.
Here are some examples of how this can be done:
Top Of The Funnel: This stage of a sales funnel is often called the Discovery stage. It is the time when someone first discovers you or your product/service. As you can imagine the information that they are looking for at this stage is going to be very much an overview type of information.
Typical types of content that you would create for the top of the funnel are:
Middle Of The Funnel: This stage of the funnel is often called the consideration stage because this is when a prospective customer starts to really think about your products / services as solutions to their needs. Generally, the people that you’ll be talking to during this stage are either the decision maker or a very strong decision influencer.
The types of content that you want available for these people are:
Bottom Of The Funnel: Generally referred to as the Conversion stage because this is where the person makes the decision to buy. This is where, with your content, you’re going to try to “close the deal”. This is where you are going to reassure this potential customer that you company can be trusted and that every interaction that they have had with you, up to this point, is what they can expect from you if they choose to move forward with your company.
The types of content that will help seal the deal here are:
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