Let the fun begin and start building value for your audience.
This part is crucial, as it will be your first point of contact with your customers.
It doesn’t matter whether you are going to be outreaching via email, or you simply want to rank on Google and you want people to find your solution, or you are going to be promoting your content on social networks; the content you create will probably be your first digital contact with your audience.
As Rebecca Lieb puts it, “Content is the atomic particle of all digital marketing.”
When we look at where we are in terms of content marketing, over 76% of marketers will produce more content in 2016 than in 2015.
But at the same time, 80% of marketers are unable to measure the effectiveness of their content.
There is a huge disconnect here guys. We are producing, producing, and producing more and more content every year, but we don’t really know if this is effective or not, and we don’t even know which types of content have the most impact.
Now, this is the most heartbreaking statistic of all: 90% of content goes unused because it’s irrelevant. (Source: Forrester)
So when we are taking a look at content marketing, how do we really extract the power of great content?
Even though content marketing doesn’t really look like a great idea right now, content marketing actually has great potential. You will have the ability to build friendships, to grow an audience, to generate leads, and to get customers.
How do we do that? How do we get more bang for our buck?
The reality of it is that we need to get a bit more strategic when it comes to the business of content marketing. So this is what we are going to be talking about in this chapter; not just the creation of content, but how we will be doing it to make a larger impact on our businesses.
- Customer Development For Content – As content marketers, we need to start thinking like product managers, and we need to approach content in a very methodical way.
- Strategic Creation – How to create content that makes the largest impact.
- Distribution Tactics – What are the best ways to create and distribute the content you want to write.
- Experience Optimisation – We’ll talk about how to optimise your content, and how to optimise these content experiences towards your goals.
Customer Development For Content
Let’s talk about relevance, and why this is important. In our opinion, the most important thing about Content Marketing is relevance.
Here’s the thing: most of the content out there is not relevant, and in order to get traction with your content, you have to make sure that you create relevant content.
This means that your content ideas have to resonate with your audience.
We’ve heard it all before: it’s not quantity, it’s quality. But actually, it’s not just quality, it’s relevance too. It doesn’t matter if a particular thing is good; what is important is that the content you create matters to the audience that you are trying to reach.
So, how do we actually do this?
This is what most of us do when we want to create content marketing ideas:
We get into a room with a whiteboard, because it just has to have a whiteboard, we come up with a bunch of ideas, and then we sit back and look at them, thinking that we have some really cool ideas.
Don’t get me wrong, there is value in doing that, but these will not be your most relevant content ideas. You’ll need to dig deeper. So how do you do that?
This is where the angle of customer development for content comes in.
We do a lot of customer development for products, but we don’t do it for content. Which doesn’t make any sense, because we should really be trying to understand what these people want to learn about and what they want to talk about.
How do we know what type of content is relevant for the people we are targeting?
There are three things to delve into when carrying out research on customer development for content.
Let’s talk about it one by one.
Researching Your Audience (People) For Customer Development For Content
There are really four broad categories that you need to focus on when researching people in order to make your content more relevant.
If you are into the B2B space, you’ll most probably have a business development team, a customer service team, and a product team.
These are the internal teams that you have to talk with. These people are constantly having conversations with customers, so they could give you some really great ideas.
Obviously, you will need to talk with your customers, prospects, and followers or fans to really understand what they want to learn.
Let’s go even deeper: how can we go beyond that?
So, it really comes down to the type of content you are going to be creating for these people.
By now, we all understand that we have top of the funnel content (TOFU), middle of the funnel content (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel content (BOFU).
Here’s a framework that I use for content research. It is developed by UberFlip:
Here are some great questions you can use for the audience survey questions:
Questions for followers, fans, and customers:
- How long have you been in your role?
- How many people are in your team?
- How do you compare yourself to your coworkers?
- How does the team work together?
- What tools do you use/spend the most time with?
- How do you learn about marketing?
- What kind of content attracts you? Can you give an example of one unforgettable piece of content?
- Do you look at content during the work day or outside of business hours?
Questions to internal teams:
- What’s the one area of your job that you feel you need to learn more about?
- What is your mind on most of the day? What do you think about the most?
- What part of your day do you love most?
- What part of your day do you hate most?
- If I could get you an expert about any topic to spend an hour with, who would it be and what’s the topic?
- What is your dream job?
- Who is your market here?
- What are the top non-product related questions you hear?
It is very important to carry out these surveys, as before you write even a single word, you need to make sure what content resonates the most with your audience.
Tools To Use For Content Marketing
The next very important aspect of content marketing is to dig into what kinds of tools to use for creating more relevant content.
The next aspect for helping you to create relevant content involves digging into the tools available.
These tools are:
- Industry reports
Some of my favourite tools are industry reports. Reports give you a great insight into what’s happening across your industry’s landscape.
I’ve already quoted a couple of them from the Content Marketing Institute’s annual industry report. These are good things to keep an eye on, especially if they are related to your audience in your customer segments.
I also use Business Insider Intelligence a lot to keep myself up-to-date with what is going on in my industry.
BuzzSumo is probably one of my favourites.
With BuzzSumo, you can really understand what resonates with people based on their shares.
Answerthepublic.com is similar in the sense that you can actually get insights into what people are searching for on Google. Whilst BuzzSumo gives you data in terms of shares and engagement, Answerthepublic.com gives you great information about what people are actually searching for.
Here’s a tutorial I made on how to use BuzzSumo and Answerthepublic.com, and how to use them effectively for content marketing:
— Video Coming Soon —
How To Use Data For Content Marketing
Determining relevance by digging into your own data is so incredibly important.
Now, there are really just three things that I want you to keep in mind here so that you can understand what works:
- Website metrics
- Conversion metrics
- Engagement vs. Growth
This comes down to what your goals are.
Here’s what I mean by talking about engagement metrics versus growth metrics: A lot of marketers focus too much on their “engagement metrics” and not enough on their “growth metrics”.
This doesn’t mean than there is no time and place for engagement metrics. They are still important, but you really need to step back and think about what the goal of your content marketing is.
Is the aim of my content marketing to create lead generation (focusing on growth metrics) or to create brand awareness (focusing on engagement metrics)? Make sure you distinguish between the two.