Content marketing isn't going to get old anytime soon.
We see content everywhere in the online world. We apply multiple growth hacks to get the right message to the right customers.
But content is still not generating ROI for 75% of B2B marketers.
Maybe, you're doing it wrong.
We believe regular posting using the same old off-page distribution mechanisms sums up a content marketing plan.
Let's face it- our content marketing fails at the distribution level.
A content marketing campaign requires a regular nurturing to drive the ROI at your table.
Our love for content lasts the moment we fail to achieve even one SQLs in a month. Have you seen a caterpillar turning into a butterfly? You see the efforts a small creature puts in the transformation. We need the same gradual change in content marketing right now.
We know our customers, but our efforts are not hyper-personal. Reason? We are in the rush of the quantity approach.
How can you improve your content plan in 2019? Understand the three steps of effective content marketing-
Start with a buyer persona
Create content that solves a problem
Don't just distribute, but market your content
If you pick any article on digital marketing strategies, and you find experts preaching about one core topic—"Understand your Audience." In 2015, I was introduced to the world of Buyer Persona with all due thanks to HubSpot's inbound training.
I understood the importance of customer research once content starts to fail. Funny? We create content that we believe people will come and read and share. A beautiful dream, isn't it?
However, to serve the content that your audience needs are an art. Go old ways? Take a notepad and jot down all the pointers that your ideal customer has.
Read the last content you created and map it to your outlines. Does it match? You have your answer. If it does, you are doing a good job.
To understand your target audience, start searching for your CRM. Get all your paying and potential customers. Draw a pattern. See the table below and use it in your next customer research process.
Column A - Paying Customer
Column B – Potential Customer
Column C— Your Dream Customer
Pick your brain-
My customers are ------(decision-makers, managers, entry-level executives, or students).
Their biggest challenges are ------------------------
Can our services solve their problems? --------
What're their biggest fears? -----
How they'll find about your company?
When you know how your customer looks like, it's easy for the content team to hustle.
Buzzfeed knows what his readers want, and he serves it as a McDonald's burger—creating a zillion post (read burger) without any sole motive. Does your next burger-eating routine entice your taste buds? Hard to say!
When it comes to B2B, go for gourmet food. Because of the hyper-personal approach. Your customers are not killing their time or stomach.
They read content for a purpose. Define your content editorial calendar based on these three stages.
Awareness- At this stage, the reader is aware of his challenges and looking for a possible solution. You serve them "Top of The Funnel" content. Content in this category is meant for traffic, not for conversions.
Consideration- They consider and evaluate options available to them, including your competitors, to find the right services.
Decision- In the final chapter, your reader becomes a customer. They bought the ticket to your Ferris Wheel.
At every stage, you serve them content—pushing them one from the psychological process to another.
The only difference between the two is understanding what you are selling. You distribute goods to the people irrespective of knowing anything about the audience or the platform.
But marketing your content is a whole new process. You understand your content; you find platforms that match your relevancy rank and targeted distribution.
What's your content marketing mix? Your marketing strategy should involve- Owned, Earned, and Paid media.
1. Owned: Ask yourself- do you have 100% control over your content piece? For example, - your website content – blog posts, videos, case studies, eBooks, and whitepapers. You can also include your official company social accounts as owned media.
With this channel, you have complete control over where, how, and when to publish your content. However, you have the power, but you may not get the engagement or reach you desire.
2. Earned: Earned media is your vehicle to get people on your owned destinations. What good is your content when nobody is reading or interacting with it? Earned media is seen in the form of 3rd party sites, SEO, shares, reposts, recommendations, reviews, or guest blogs. The trick is adding your links in the content and sharing posts on relevant platforms.
3. Paid: When you pay third-party channels to promote your content, paid media comes into the picture. Owned and Earned media supports organic reach while paid distribution is paying 3rd party platform for ad space.
From Google AdWords and social promoted posts to Outbrain and Quora, paid solutions to get your messages to the right audience. Choosing a platform for content distribution depends on your target audience. Social advertising is widely popular, where you can customize your reach based on location, decision-maker, and more.
Your content strategy should be a blend of your owned, earned, and paid distribution approach. You infuse your website blog post and share it with free content aggregators and run a $10 campaign on social platforms.
The final piece of advice- Before you write content, plan out your distribution strategy. It will help you shape your content according to the platform where you can achieve maximum reach.
Is your content editorial calendar ready for 2020? How are you planning your content strategy for 2020?