An issue concerning all brands in digital marketing is how to create contextual content and promote such content successfully. Inbound marketing principles point out that value addition is the greatest wow factor in any sort of content. Content that educates or gives some sort of valuable information is what anyone is searching for in any field.
Creating content the right way
How would one create content that customers like? There is no shortcut to it as studying the personality of prospective buyers is the key to choosing what works for your customer and what doesn’t. This leads to persona study, an indispensable aspect of digital content marketing, where the buyer goes through several phases of education about the brand.
Spotting the underlying pain point of a customer is possible only if the marketer communicates with the prospective customer. The piece of content has to articulate the pain points of the prospect to generate basic interest in the brand. Generating this interest is the job of unique, valuable, and inspiring content.
Buyer’s journey stages:
A value-driven content helps the marketer guide a buyer through the following stages of his/her buyer’s journey:
- No need stage:
Here, the buyer doesn’t know his/her pain point. This can be the first interaction between a brand and a potential user/influencer, where a piece of content by the brand is found by the user. The user finds value in the content and relates to his/her situation.
To help the user find that relevance, the marketer starts with a discussion about problems. In this stage, the brand doesn’t target a user specifically and thus the information disseminated through the content is also general to have broader relevance. Here, originality and honesty in the content score the highest. Blogs and videos are the best for this stage.
- Awareness stage:
Here, the user acknowledges that there are some issues and wants to know more to correctly identify the pain. The brand marketer thus keeps educating the prospect about various pain areas. Here too, blogs and videos work out the best. Content in the awareness stage has an honest, practical, empathetic, and informative tone. The user should find enough value to move over to the consideration stage.
- Consideration/ Research stage:
An inspired user now wants to solve his pain point and seeks a solution. Here, the user recognizes the brand’s expertise due to the value he got from the brand’s content in the previous stage.
The user needs expert advice and insight about solving his pain and how the brand can help them in this process. Deep-dive knowledge is the need here. So, podcasts, webinars, and AMAs (Ask Me Anything) videos talk about the industry at length to give a better understanding.
The curious buyer gets detailed insights about the tools, appliances, software, and devices that do the job. Content tonality should be serious and information-heavy to motivate the buyer to move on to the last stage.
- Decision/ shortlist stage:
Here, the user is aware of the solutions in the market and wants to shortlist the best of them to decide which brand to approach for the best result. Product/service offerings, price, and feature comparisons are the dealmakers or dealbreakers here. Product reviews, client testimonials, case studies, and live demonstrations are the best types of content to suit this stage.
- Trial/evaluation stage:
After all the research, the user converts into a buyer and decides to approach a particular brand to buy and test its products for evaluation. Tutorials, service demos/trials, guides, and ‘How To’ videos are useful here.
Ideal content anatomy
Motivational speaker Simon Sinek summed up the ideal content anatomy in one of the simplest ways possible. He grouped a piece of content into three parts:
Based on the sequence in which these questions are answered, there is a sea of differences between the positioning of different brands. But not all brands can follow the same flow. Based on the stage of the brand (as grouped under) the communication flow is altered:
1. Developing brands:
They start by answering about what product/service they offer. Thereafter, they answer how they create the same. Finally, they inform on why they should believe the brand. In this stage, brands can talk about their brand ideology. In this way, the prospects recognize the brand and approach the same for solutions. However, these brands pitch their sales strategies and do not prioritize brand education.
2. Established brands:
These are established brands and have a good reputation for their products/services. That is why they try to impact the conscience of customers by answering why the brand created those products/services. Impressing prospects with the brand ideology, the brand then aligns its statement while informing how they create products, thus substantiating its claim with proof. Only at the final stage, where the customers are already impressed, do they state what they have created, thus winning loyalty.
Distributing content effectively
These are the most important inputs of any form of content. But being able to do that doesn’t solve the problem. One needs to distribute content effectively and the approach of the content funnel guides a marketer on how to promote content and to whom. This content funnel helps buyers undergo their buyers’ journey successfully. The content funnel consists of:
- ToFu (Top of The Funnel) content:
This serves buyers in the awareness stage. A brand should have 70% of its total content as ToFu-type content.
- MoFu (Middle of the Funnel) content:
This serves curious buyers in the consideration stage. A brand should have 20% of its total content as MoFu-type content.
- BoFu (Bottom of The Funnel) content:
This serves aware buyers in the decision stage. A brand should have 10% of its total content as BoFu-type content.
When it comes to content marketing, a brand undergoes the following stages of conversion to turn a prospective client into a real buyer.
- Visitor: This is where a curious buyer visits the brand through any touch point of digital assets, eg. website, landing page, social media pages, etc to find out about the product/service.
- Lead: After the visit, the visitor is satisfied with the brand value and voluntarily submits his/her personal details for further engagement with the brand in the form of inquiry or subscription. Then the visitor becomes a lead prospect.
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): This is where marketers nurture the lead prospect with knowledge about the industry. The information exchange aligns with what the potential lead wants to know. Here, the marketer doesn’t mention the brand as the main goal is to inform the prospect completely about the inquiry s/he made and the decision that s/he will take based on this process of education.
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): After success in marketing, an interesting lead is then connected to the sales executives who answer the lead’s queries about the services of the brand, pricing plans, and the solution their product/service provides.
- Opportunity: Once convinced by the sales executives, the buyer becomes a significant opportunity for the brand to be converted into a customer
- Customer: This is when the inspired buyer purchases the product.
The Waterfall Approach:
The best content distribution strategy is to diversify your content to solve as many issues and address as many concerns as possible. This is done by selecting a broad, meaningful topic that the audience can relate to instantly. Such type of content is called pillar content and is the main resource of any content strategy.
Readers want to know more about their favorite topics. The marketer has the challenge to provide meaning and uniqueness in each new piece of content. This can be achieved by the micro-content approach wherein the content creator finds out multiple angles to address the main issue in different interesting ways, by branching out from the pillar content.
Micro content can be made in different formats such as SlideShare PPT, webinars, videos, micro-blogs, vlogs, e-books, white papers, and many more. Also, such types of micro-content should be promoted on various social media platforms and over search engines to target the audience accurately.
Reverse waterfall approach
One can also create pillar content from micro-content. This is typically done when a brand is promoting meaningful content in bite-sized formats for a long time and explores the opportunity to compose one long piece of informative content by collating and restructuring the inputs of each micro-content.
For instance, The Digital Fellow is working on SlideShare PPTs and e-books out of their insightful CXO series on social media. In this way, the TDF can retarget their existing audience base who like the CXO series and provide them with a cohesive, comprehensive format of the knowledge summing up the entire series.
Content creation pipeline- a reality check
Wishing for instant ROI is wishful thinking. As the entire industry competes for neck-to-neck on digital marketing strategies, here is an estimation of the time content creation and distribution takes in reality.
- Content creation with a clear focus on buyer persona takes about 6 to 12 months
- Content distribution takes around 4 to 6 months (before we start noticing results)
- Content analysis is a continuous process started after 1month before the initiation of content distribution which helps in the optimization of future content.
There is no one way to crack a potential buyer. The more planned your approach is, the lesser the chances of failure. What is your take on content distribution strategy? Let us know in the comments section below.
So how have you been choosing your digital/content marketing agency?
The content is considered as best practice while doing content marketing. Surely, your content partner is not doing the best if your conversion from content is not significant.
Yet, a basic examination of top brands’ content diagnoses reveals that they have been investing in the wrong content agencies. We do not know what further problems will open up once we sit with these for a formal content brand audit.
We hope it’s a wake-up call for you, no matter what industry you are in.
Get in touch with us today:
- If you are not sure your agency is following this and want to know your specific content score
- If you are interested in working with us
- If you are into any business and want to avoid investing in the wrong digital content agencies.