Every good marketer should know how to develop great content. People have to want to read what you are writing. In order to do this you need to know a few things about your audience. In the article, 5 Pillars of Successful Content Marketing, Steven MacDonald explains how to understand your audience, map the content to the sales cycle, create, promote, and measure and analyze the content. To understand your audience, ask yourself who your customers are then create your buyer persona. A buyer persona describes the type of customer your business has or wants. You can find the persona based on interviewing prospects and the sales team, surveying prospects, mining in-house database to identify characteristics of best/worst customers, evaluating web analytics reports, interviewing customer service, using keyword research to identify topics of interest, and monitoring activity on social media sites. What are the traits of your customers? What are their demographics? These are all good things to know about your audience and also good ways to find out who your target market is. To map the content to the sales cycle by making sure that you are creating content that meets the needs of your audience. The content should be tailored to fit each different prospect. This is broken down by:
Awareness; creating content that will increase your brand awareness. This includes content such as blog posts, white papers, educational webinars, and infographics.
Evaluation; creating content that will increase the number of marketing qualified leads. This way the customer knows that your brand is a leader. This includes content such as case studies, product webinars, video, and technology guides.
Purchase; creating content that will turn marketing qualified leads into a sales qualified lead. Customers will be getting closer to making a decision to choose your product over a competitor. This includes implementation guides, free trails, and love demonstrations.
Now it’s time to create the content. From the information above, go look The audience likes the content to be 2,000 words in length. It doesn’t seem like people would want to read something that long but research shows that they do. When promoting the content, you need to think about how to market this new content. You should be promoting through social media campaigns, Google AdWords campaigns, and email marketing campaigns.
Make sure that people are seeing your content. Make people want to read it!
After you publish your content make sure that you pay attention to how well it is doing. Did it perform well? How many page views? What keywords did they use? What type of content is read the most? If you pay attention to your audience and what they are doing it will make publishing more content easier.
Next I watched the videos from HubSpot Academy to further understand how blogging works. According to HubSpot, a business blog is “a collection of articles that provide helpful, valuable, educational, and remarkable content to your target audience. By providing this value, blogs can easily and effectively draw prospects to your website”. A business blog is so critical to what your business is doing. 79% of marketers with a company blog reported inbound ROI (Return on Investment) for 2013. This content that your company is creating is going to obtain long-term results because it leads to more visits, leads, and customers. More blogs you have, the more opportunities there are to be found online. When people see the company blog they want to know more about you after they’ve viewed your content. The content that your blog has must be something that people are going to find valuable. Like above, you should be focusing on your buyer persona in order to create content that they are looking for. Know who they are and what they are looking for. Publish content that is covering topics that your buyer personas want to read. Don’t forget about SEO!
The best practices for SEO are:
- Title: make sure that there are keywords in the title.it should be 55 characters.
- Actionable: Know what you are going to be getting from the title
- Keyword-Conscious: Take the keyword landing page and make sure it’s being viewed
- Brief: Sometimes simple is better
- Clear: Answers the question, what is this blog about?
- Definitive: Making sure that is it obvious
- Intriguing: Make is sound like something you want to read
- Meta descriptions, talk about what the blog post is about; with a max of 140 characters.
- Alt tags on your image files so that your pictures will also come up during a search.
- Links to other places on your site is good so that viewers are directed towards more than just one site of your blog.
- Mobile optimization should be a focus because you want people to be able to view your site not only on their computer but their mobile device as well.
Blog as often as you want to be noticed online. The more you publish blog posts, the more traffic you will have.
Think about how you read content. Make sure the formatting is simple and inviting to viewers. For example, things like bolded text, subheads, numbers, bulleted lists, and high quality images.
What you are trying to do with your blog is “become an educational hub and offer high-quality content”. Do you need ideas to get your blog started? Try recent industry or industry related news, common questions from your customers, respond to blog comments or other blogs, go negative or positive, talk about hot industry topics, and invite guest bloggers to have someone else to create a guest blog and changing it up a bit.
Want to republish? Here are some tips from the academy: Identify your top-performing outdated posts, keep the URL the same, change the title, but keep the keywords, include an editor’s note for transparency, update the content for accuracy.
So now that you have this great blog, how do you promote it?
1. Leverage your website: add blog link to your main website navigation, add a blog RSS feed to your homepage & ‘About’ pages, link internally to relevant articles, and use your blog sidebar to promote popular/recent posts.
2. Use your social media presence: promote blog articles through social posts, answer questions and link back to a related blog post, use blog content as fodder to engage in meaningful conversation with others in your industry.
3. Include in email marketing: use your personas to segment your leads and send relevant blog posts, include articles in a email newsletters, create a weekly or monthly blog digest email.
4. Connect with your network: This may be ideas that you have already done before. You could publish a press release, add a blog link to your other content, add a blog link to your business card, add blog articles to a “resource center” of helpful articles and content, add a blog link to your email signature block, encourage blog subscriptions.
Now how is your blog doing? What is working well? To analyze your blog: look at the number of article views, blog subscription growth by both RSS and email, most popular article, number of inbound links.
The next videos from HubSpot Academy are about why inbound marketing can’t exist without content. Content is the message we are trying to deliver to our leads, visits, customers and promoters.
Without content, the internet would be empty
The delivery of the message has changed. Space was a big factor in how much marketers could say in the space available. Now because of the internet, space is no longer the issue, the main limitation is attention. There is so much content out there, companies are battling for attention instead of space.
How to create ‘remarkable’ content. The most effective content is solution, and not product based. This means it’s not just about your product or company, it’s about your buyers needs. To do this we need to make sure we are solving our customers problems. Meaning, you have to know what problems you are solving.
1. Buyer personas – Who are we trying to reach with our content?
2. The Buyer’s Journey – What do they want to see?
The stages of the buyers journey, some formats perform better in each stage.
In the awareness stage, things that help educate the persona and show more concern for the persona problems and needs. In the consideration stage, things that speak to how your company can address the personas goals or challenges works best. In the decision stage, things that work are those that actually help the persona make the choice to purchase your product/service or not.
Here’s what you can actually do to create the content.
Create the Content Process:
1. Plan: Before creating content be sure you know what you’re going to create and why you’re creating it. This is determined by your personas, buyer’s journey, and business goals. Make sure you know your company’s goal so that the content you make lines up with what your business is trying to achieve.
2. Produce: Create your content. Follow your plan for what you’ll produce, who will produce it, and by when. Develop a production strategy that makes sense to you. Every time you go to create content, ask yourself, who does this help?
3. Distribute: This means not only which tool you use, but where it is and what you say about it that makes it relevant. It can be really great content, but if it’s not relevant to the person when they’re seeing it, it doesn’t matter how great it is. Be consistent with content creation. Publish content at a regular rate. Content is the lifeblood of a successful inbound strategy – so be sure you keep pumping it out at a steady rate.
4. Analyze: Before washing and repeating, make sure what you’re doing is working. Why did it work? Why didn’t it? Use that insight to create better content moving forward.
(Repeat): Take what you learned from each piece of content created to make each one down the road more effective – and remember to follow that 80/20 rule!
The Last thing I am going to talk about is Content Marketing Trends: Bullish & Bearish Report, a marketing blog written by Kane Jamison.
He describes “bullish” and “bearish” positions for digitial marketing. Bullish=positive and Bearish=negative.
Bullish: mixed format content, selective social media strategy, structured microdata, content marketing working more closely with branding & communication teams, looping content, LinkedIn organic posts, paid Facebook posts, custom Twitter images, serial content, print content marketing, video presentations & webinars, podcasts, personal subject line, hiring journalists.
Bearish: marketers failing to embrace change, “buffet-style” social media strategy; companies trying to have a little of everything and spreading resources too thin, structured microdata for the sake of it, content marketing remaining a siloed endeavor, color+text photo overlays, Facebook organic posts, paid LinkedIn posts, stock Twitter images, one-off campaigns, boring and deceptive native advertising, static presentations & slideshare, serial copycats, icons in subject lines, hiring bloggers.
His take on the trends was funny and so relevant to how companies need to go about creating their content.
I hope this blog helps you to understand why content marketing is so important!
If you need further instruction on content marketing and why it is important check out these few links:
Business 2 Community
I thought this website was fun if you want to see who is involved with content marketing.
The Top 50 Content Marketers
Thanks for reading,