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
Step 1: Develop the PersonasWhat 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.
Step Two: Understand Buying StagesThere 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) StageIn 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) StageIn 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) StageIn 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:
Step Three: Current Audit ProcessAfter 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.
Separate and Filter Your DataNext, 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
Analyze Your Current ContentOnce 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.
- Title Tag
- Social Shares – Tweets, FB Shares, Pins, etc.
- Buyer Stage
- Call to Action