Category

Our Process

Content Audit Header

The Content Audit Process

By | Content Marketing, How-To, Our Process | No Comments

Content is quickly becoming one of the most influential and impactful tools for digital marketers. Good content educates, appeals to, and ultimately influences your customers. The Content Marketing Institute reported that in 2015 an astounding 86% of B2Bs (business-to-business) used content marketing, and of this percentage only 38% believed their content was effective.

How is it that only 38% feel their content was effective? One major issue that we see on a constant basis is businesses don’t have a clear content strategy. In order to make content marketing work you need to have some kind of strategy in place so that you can measure what is or isn’t working and then adjust accordingly.

We help clients build a strategy utilizing a content audit process, which takes a detailed and holistic look into your business from the ground up. We create content based on our audit results to make sure we are effectively creating content that will impact your market. This process includes:

  • Developing Personas
  • Understanding Buying Stages
  • Content Audit
  • Content Inventory
  • Content Calendar

Going through the process above has been useful to setting up an effective content marketing strategy. Here is what we do for each step in the process.

Step 1: Develop the Personas

Step 1- Develop the Personas
What is a buyer persona? It’s a breakdown of the different types of buyers who are looking at your product. Developing and then marketing to your buyer personas will lead to stronger messages, maximization of successful advertising, and overcoming buyer objections. Each buying persona includes demographic information, problems they’ll encounter, and values they hold.

A buyer persona will reflect the types of customers you currently have or the types of customers you are hoping to gain. A buyer persona defines the audience your content will be created for.

For help creating a buyer persona, feel free to check out some of these resources:

  • Buyer Persona Profile from Epic Content Marketing
    • This quick one-page worksheet from Epic Content Marketing allows you to create a snapshot of a buyer persona, their job description, priorities, and challenges.
  • 5 Rings of Buying Insights Template from the Book Epic Content Marketing
    • When used in conjunction with the worksheet above, the 5 Rings of Buying Insights template will help you glean additional insights around the journey of each buyer persona.
  • How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business from Hubspot
    • Hubspot provides a great step-by-step post and downloadable template to support your buyer persona creation initiatives.

While the buyer persona is a great start, the true gold is found in the buying stage/cycle for each persona. It is vital to understand the questions being asked in each stage for the buyer’s journey so that you can effectively answer those questions on your website, through blog posts and videos or other forms of content.

This should be your top-priority focus once you have established your buyer personas.

Step Two: Understand Buying Stages

Step Two: Understand Buying Stages

There are three basic stages for buyers based on each persona. The early, middle, and late stages, or as some in the content marketing world refer to them: the awareness, consideration, and decision stages.

Early (Awareness) Stage

In the early stage, customers are unaware of problems they currently have and need education on what solutions you can offer. They are gaining awareness of their problems and their need for a solution.

Middle (Consideration) Stage

In the middle stage, customers need a demonstration of expertise or differentiators between you and your competitors. The middle stage is also known as the consideration stage, where customers understand their problem and want to find a solution through consideration of your product. They are spending their time researching various solutions to find the option that fits their needs.

Late (Decision) Stage

In the late stage, customers are looking to validate the product or the company; they are in the decision-making stage. They have a good idea of what they want, now they just need to compare their top choices, maybe review each company’s costs and look into any references they can find, to ensure they make the right decision.

Content is created specifically for each persona in these different stages to target what questions or answers they need the most. It is important to understand the types of content that can be used at each stage of your buyer’s journey as well. Understanding the buying journey for each persona along with the types of content they consume along their journey is key to effective content marketing.

For B2C, an example of mapping content to the buying journey is provided below:

Content Mapping - Customer Journey for B2C Customers

Step Three: Current Audit Process

Step Three: Current Audit Process

After developing buyer personas and understanding the journey buyers take, it is necessary to take an audit of your site’s current content. To do this we recommend using Screaming Frog.

Crawl Your Entire Website for Content

Screaming Frog is able to ‘crawl’ an entire website (crawling is a fancy term for ‘pulling all data e.g. – meta data, URLs, word count of a page, CSS and other data from a website). Once you’ve crawled your whole site, simply filter the data by HTML pages. Example below:

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.41.19 PM

This will remove all JavaScript, Images, CSS and other files that you don’t need for your content audit.

Then export the data. The exported CSV file will give you a TON of data for each URL. We suggest only worrying about the URL and Title tag , which will be used for further analysis.

Separate and Filter Your Data

Next, you can separate/filter these URLs into different groups. Some suggested groups could include:

  • Key landing pages (home page, services, about us, etc.)
  • Blogs, articles
  • eBooks, white papers, resources

By separating the URLs into various groups you can start to analyze each group.

Analyze Your Current Content

Once these groups are separated out you can start to understand the social media impacts of each URL. To do this, you can use a tools such as Social Tally, SharedCount or SocialTally that allows you to identify social shares on all types of media platforms and analyze each URL’s social activity.

After you’ve analyzed each URL’s social activity, you should map it to one of your buyer personas. Finally, map out how your content influences potential customers at each stage of the journey – e.g. – Top of the Funnel, Middle of the Funnel and Bottom of the Funnel. This will be extremely useful when taking an inventory of all of your content.

Useful information to include in your Content Audit is:

  • Type – what kind of content is this – e.g. – Blog Post, Landing Page, eBook, Category or Product Page etc.
  • URL
  • Title Tag
  • Social Shares – Tweets, FB Shares, Pins, etc.
  • Buyer Stage
  • Persona
  • Call to Action
  • Keywords

Once you have all of this data you should have a massive content audit spreadsheet that looks something like this –

content audit process

You might want to also add any relevant notes about pages, styles, social trends, page view patterns, etc., that come up during the audit process.

Step Four: Content Inventory Process

Step Four: Content Inventory Process

Once you’ve organized all the current content, you should do an inventory based on the buying personas and stages in relation to the number of resources that correlate. Filter your large content audit spreadsheet by persona first and then by each buyer stage to get an idea of how much content you have for each individual.

As you work your way through each persona you should build out an additional spreadsheet to connect the number of content pieces you have to the stages of the buyers journey. This will give you a quick snapshot of where you are. Here is an example of what that might look like:

content inventory process

You can quickly tell which parts of the buyer’s journey are not being addressed. By creating content for these holes we can create a more fluid journey and eventually give customers all the information they need to choose your product or service.

Step Five: Competition Content Audit

Step Five: Competition Content Audit

The competition audit is a key step in understanding your company or product’s place in the market. An audit of the competition’s content is twofold. First, it helps you understand how many other people are competing within your market. Second, it gives you ideas for content that have performed well in the past.

The competition audit is similar to the original content audit—you use Screaming Frog to crawl the competition’s sites, and then use Social Tally or Social Count to see their activity on social media.

After using Social Tally you should be able to identify the top 5-7 posts that are performing on social media platforms.

Finally, you should identify why these pages are performing well on social media platforms then analyze if the content was written well, hit a target persona, answered questions, etc. Mostly, you need to identify what need it is filling within the buying cycle. This is perhaps the most important step in the competition audit because it helps you understand how and why the competition is successful.

Step Six: Content Editorial Calendar

Step Six: Content Editorial Calendar

The last step is creating an editorial calendar based on all of the data you have collected. The editorial calendar allows you to plan content initiatives moving forward. You need to identify what content is needed based on holes in your buyer personas and buying stages. After identifying these holes you should generate content ideas and modify what has worked for the competition.

An editorial calendar is a way to focus on your content marketing efforts, and measure, monitor, and modify the content within one document to ensure you meet your content marketing goals. It provides detailed content plans, anywhere from 1-3 months in advance, keeping everyone up-to-date on past, present, and future content.

Here’s a sample of how weekly content can be planned and recorded:

Stryde content calendar

The content audit process is vital to your success. By taking the time to really research owned and competitive content, you can develop a holistic content strategy. Content marketing is one of the most useful tactics to leverage for a successful online presence. Your customers are looking for information online, usually via blogs and other content resources, to help them make an educated decision on what products or services to buy.

By utilizing a content audit process you can develop content ideas that will add to your current visibility and truly make an impact on your potential customers.

STRYDE | Adaptive Content-  The Latest Adaptation of Content Marketing?

Adaptive Content- The Latest Adaptation of Content Marketing?

By | Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Food for thought, Our Process, Strategy, Uncategorized | No Comments

While the technology support can be a little slow to evolve, content marketing strategies and techniques are taking new shapes to identify the ideal target audience and to guide customers through a shortened sales cycle.

Adaptive content offers an edge to the creation and distribution parts of the process. This content strategy is designed to support meaningful, personalized interactions across all channels. Moreover, it’s not a strategy that is built only around the characteristics, goals, and challenges of buyer personas, but also around the mood of the buyer – Noz Urbina.

We know that personalization is key to reaching the ideal buyer. In fact, 94% of businesses say that it’s critical to their success. Here, we begin to merge a closer union between the buyer persona and sales cycle, in an attempt to reach a target so narrow, that we can understand how it feels.

The Matrix

If you already have a few content marketing campaigns under your belt, you’re probably all too familiar with creating and marketing to buyer personas. With adaptive content, there are a few more variables to consider in the Content Mix Matrix:

Content Mix Matrix
Personas Buying Stage Format Channel
Billy Awareness Text Social
Willey Attraction Video Mobile
Nilly Close Podcast Websites
Tilly Retain Infographic Email
Advocate Images Print
Presentation In-person
Kiosk

In this model, the content catered to the buyer persona is strategically created in the most sensible format, at the most relevant stage of the buying cycle, and distributed through the most appropriate channel.

In the content creation process, you might consider:

  • Is it better to start with a general piece of content and to later personalize it to each persona at every stage?
  • Should I start with a fleshed out piece of content and then notate which segments will be adapted to fit the next format?

This is the manual part of the equation that requires more in-depth research into, not only the buyer personas’ characteristics, but also, their personal journey and it’s up for you, the marketer, to decide what works best for your audience.

Going Green

Putting an adaptive content process into place can take a substantial amount of time but the beauty of it is that, when planned properly, adaptive content has the means to be evergreen. We have to remember to apply the R’s and when it comes to content, we do it in a most creative and practical way.

Reduce

The amount of time spent on content creation can be greatly reduced when you already have a hearty piece to edit and adjust. Slim down the content that you have and focus it on just one phase of the buying cycle. The load will feel a lot lighter.

Reuse

The content topics you already have are completely reusable when you promote them through a variety of channels. Social media, for instance, can serve as a great outlet for reshares; especially Twitter, where posts tend to be pushed out more regularly.

Repurpose

You can further stretch the reach of your content by repurposing it in various forms. Try going for something more visual by converting a whitepaper into an eye-catching infographic.

Recycle

Once you have a good grasp on where your buyer personas are in the buying stage and the best channels by which to to reach them, be sure to record and recycle the process. It will always be in motion, so be flexible and make the necessary adjustments as you go along.

Adaptive Content implicates techniques that are too smart and too personalized for any tool to master alone. It is a practice that will take time to put into place, but with a clearly defined strategy and a good grasp of its fundamentals, it has the potential to be one of the most personal and powerful marketing practices yet.

Online marketing practices are always evolving. What are you seeing for the future of content marketing and how will you adapt for what’s to come?
We’d love to hear your thoughts!

STRYDE | What The Stryde Ladies Can Tell You About Their Content Marketing Tools 1

What The Stryde Ladies Can Tell You About Their Content Marketing Tools

By | Our Process, Tools | One Comment

At Stryde, content creation, distribution, and promotion is just another way of life. It’s our everyday bread and butter, our mental workout routine, and the juice that gets us going each day.

We three Stryde ladies know that there’s a lot that goes into implementing these marketing tactics from start to finish and using the proper tools isn’t just a big help, it’s a necessity!

For each of our specialists in the areas of social media, content creation, and outreach, there are a variety of resources that we use and love. Here’s what goes into our toolboxes:

Emily Burkhart, Social Media Manager, knows how to promote! She amplifies client’s content to tailored audiences on the daily and optimizes it with creative images, always while keeping up with industry trends. She relies on a few tools to stay on top of it it all.

“I live in Hootsuite. It’s the tool I utilize every single day without fail. Whether I’m scheduling shares for the week or putting reports together, Hootsuite really gives you all that you could ask for in a social management platform. I’ve tried other platforms, but even the most beautifully designed pale in comparison to Hootsuite.
When it comes to content amplification, getting your hashtags right is paramount! For that, I love Hashtagify.me. It shows a hashtags popularity and related keywords, all with one simple search.
Now, when it comes to images, I cannot live without Canva! I don’t have a formal education in graphic design, but Canva makes it so easy to make the image in your head a reality. If you find yourself fumbling with Photoshop and InDesign, or just want to add some fun images to your current blogging efforts, you have to check out Canva.”

@realemilylouisa
unnamed (5)

Kirsten Metcalf, Content Strategist, writes on anything from witty dating advice, to cloud computing, to more sensitive topics each day; changing the subject matter and keeping her tone on point! She can draft up an intelligent, entertaining content piece in nothing flat, using a few tools to help spark her creativity.

“I like organization. If my house and workplace aren’t organized, I can’t get anything done. This is exactly why my No. 1 tool to keep me, my topic ideas, client content pieces, and my weekly to-do list organized is Evernote. Everything I need to see and be reminded of is right there in one place, and it easily syncs with all my devices so I can add and check stuff in the office or on the go. I’m cheap and just use the free version, which makes this tool even more fantastic that it keeps me focused and on task, and helps turn my content ideas into completed works of art at no cost.
As a writer, I’ve experienced writer’s block my fair share of times. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with an amazing content topic. This is where Quora comes in handy. I just recently got a Quora account, and so far I like this Q&A site. I selected topics that interest me and that are relevant to Stryde’s clients, and now when I log in I can follow and search for popular questions being asked and answered within those topics. I can also ask my own questions and answer other users’ questions. It’s a great way to see what questions users in Stryde’s industry and our clients’ industries are asking and topics they’re talking about, which helps me discover new ideas when trying to brainstorm relevant content topics.”

@k_metcalf4
unnamed

Emily Christopher, PR & Outreach Strategist, understands the organic way of promoting content. When it comes to building relationships, quality and authenticity are key. She uses a few tools to get content under the noses of the right influencers and out to the eyes of the right audiences.

“In running an outreach campaign, I can’t stress organization enough. I use Buzzstream to build lists that live under assigned tags and can track my email threads and add notes. The Buzzmarker is also a newer feature that lets me save contacts directly from the page that I’m on. That’s really helped to speed things up for me. Buzz also makes it super easy to set up email outreach templates, while still giving me the option to customize a message before sending and giving it a more personal touch.
When I’m looking to reach out to more niche audiences, a great tool I’ve been using more recently is Citation Lab’s Link Prospector. It allows me to build contact lists and easily label them by campaign. You can select the type of report you want to run for your campaign; I often use “guest posting” and “links pages”, and then plug in my search phrases. It automatically pulls a customized list of contacts that’s right in line with what I’m searching for. It’s pretty awesome.”

@emily_C27
unnamed (6)

Implementing these tools daily does not only make our jobs much easier, but it also expedites processes and helps to propel our client work to the next level. A big thanks to all of the tools we’ve listed and we’re excited to discover many more! What are some of your favorite content marketing tools?