Any marketer with a skeptical eye toward content needs to read only one statistic to change their mind: Content marketing generates approximately three times as many leads as traditional marketing per dollar spent.
Whether through blogging, producing videos or crafting case studies, marketing calendars are quickly turning into editorial calendars, filled with rich information that will keep buyers coming back for more. But how you do ensure that your buyers are actually listening?
1. Develop Your Reader Personas
Before you begin, you have to actually know who readers, or content consumers, are. Do some digging. Talk to your sales and marketing staff and anyone else that manages customer relationships. They can help paint a picture of the different types of people that your company attracts. They can also help you realize where your gaps are — what buyers do you want to attract that you’re not?
Once you know all this, craft personas for those readers and content consumers. In B2B markets, they’ll probably pretty closely mirror the different types of people you’d meet at an industry trade show — a retired Army veteran-turned-contractor, a young startup entrepreneur, an engineer, a CIO or CMO. Think about what different types of content each of these people would want and then start planning.
2. Come Up With Topic Ideas to Address Each Potential Buyer
When you review your personas, imagine the different types of information they need. Perhaps the retired Army contractor needs case studies, white papers and product demos to source solutions from potential subcontractors. The entrepreneur may want to know the latest in venture capital funding or projections for his industry’s market. The engineer may want a facts-and-figures blog explaining the nuances between new software updates.
Whatever the scenario, it’s easy to see that no one type of content is going to have a real impact on disparate audiences. Map multiple content ideas for each persona to keep them interested and, if you can, create an aggressive marketing calendar. Companies that blog 11-plus times per month generate four times as many leads as those that post only four to five times per month.
3. Don’t Fall Into the Thought-Leadership Gap
This step is probably the hardest of all best practices when developing a content strategy: Be compelling. There’s a wide marketing thought-leadership gap you have to fill. While 90 percent of the C-suite considers thought leadership important, only 14 percent is deemed excellent in value. Not only that, poor thought leadership has lead to 35 percent of executives removing a business from their consideration.
Get as edgy and interesting as your company permits.
4. Keep in Touch
Simply creating content is not enough. You have to push it to your buyers through organic and paid channels to gain the most interaction. Email marketing still provides good ROI, but social media should reflect a blend of organic and paid, especially since most social platforms prioritize paid content.
5. Nurture Your Relationships
Once you’ve identified a buyer that keeps coming back to consume what you’ve created, follow it up by asking for their contact information. Lead generation after they’ve gained trust in your brand is key to getting them to actually fill out a form with their email address. No one wants to be burdened with sales calls at the beginning of a relationship.
Need help formulating your company’s content strategy? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s start a conversation.