What is Content Marketing?
Guess what? You’re just as powerful as the New York Times.
In today’s world, there’s become a rise in the ease of publishing. You, like anybody, can establish a blog, build an audience, and sell your services around the outside of this content, becoming both the publisher AND the advertiser.
But how to do this in a way that sets you apart from all the rest and leads you directly to increased sales and conversions? An effective content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is defined by the Content Marketing Institute as:
“a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Basically, it’s the collective effort of writing various pieces of content, including blogs, guides, emails, social media posts, and many more, to expand your audience and push them through the marketing funnel.
Time for the Cliché: “It’s about the journey, man…not the destination.” Behold…Stages of the Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel, simply put, consists of three stages for your audience to be in:
- Top of Funnel: This is a place where you’re not promoting your brand on various platforms, but instead offering valuable and worthwhile content or resources for your audience of potential future customers who are not yet familiar with your brand specifically. Ideal pieces of content for this stage include blogs, social media, infographics, videos, and more, with the goal of increasing brand exposure and awareness, growing website traffic, and increasing engagement. You’re just there to be the resource that answers the questions they’re asking.
- Middle of Funnel: When your customers are actually familiar with your brand, you can start to provide more in-depth resources for them. This stage is ideal for offering content that is gated, such as guides, ebooks, checklists, and more, that is worth your audience giving up contact information in exchange for the content. This stage serves as an effective way to grow your leads, email lists, and retargeting lists.
- Bottom of Funnel: In this stage, your audience is at the point of making a decision. They’re ready to purchase what you have to offer and are looking for that final sway to convince them that you’re the place to buy. The main goal in this stage is to increase conversions, and eventually, to acquire brand ambassadors out of who you’ve already converted. Content types in this stage include multiple-step courses, demonstrations, free trials, and more.
The Role of SEO
The world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be incredibly daunting from the outside looking in.
But it’s much better when you get your feet wet and start to understand how everything relates.
I’m going to let our resident SEO expert at Uncommon give you ALL of the details, but every content marketer should know the basics.
Your content needs to be the following, in order to literally rise above your competitors when your potential customers are searching for topics related to your brand and what you offer:
- At least 400 words. This gives enough space for those web spiders to crawl through and find enough information in your content to effectively rate it. Anything less can’t be indexed and is essentially…worthless.
- Targeted with keywords. Make sure that your headings and body copy include high-performing keywords that your audience is searching for.
- Using links. Make sure to include a few external (to resources online owned by other thought leaders—not competitors) and internal (owned by you and on your website) links.
- Using headings. The reason that more heading tags of various levels increase your rating by search engines is that they have humans in mind—it’s an effective way to break up a significant amount of text in one page.
Writing Like You Know What You’re Doing
This is a big one: Writing in a way that is attractive, accurate, and authentic. Make sure that your content is actually what your target audience wants to read, and catch their attention with curiosity-inducing headlines; keep them engaged with personal, but knowledgeable copy throughout the resource; and provide examples to build your credibility.
You’ve probably heard of the term “storytelling” before and its relation to content marketing. It’s true—marketers need to use the platforms available to tell a story that their audience can relate to and find themselves in. Position the story’s solution as the new life that your reader would be living if they were to utilize your service.
Using Buyer Personas
Another key factor? Writing to your buyer personas. This is an entirely worthy topic of being its own blog, so we’ll cover the basics. Develop a specific “persona” for each of your main buyers, such as “Software Susan” or “Engineer Eddy.” Define their lifestyles, challenges, pain points, motivations, hobbies, and goals. A deep understanding of your audience in this way empowers you to write specifically to their interests and needs and engage their attention effectively.
In addition, just like it’s effective for SEO, make sure to include bullet points, various heading levels, numbered lists, and more to make it easy for the reader to digest your information in an organized manner.
Developing a Conversion-Oriented Content Marketing Strategy
And here we are. We know the stages we need to push our audience through, we know that playing by the rules of SEO gets our content seen, and we know how to write to keep our audience engaged. Now—here’s how to connect content marketing to revenue and costs.
No more soft metrics. We’re talking cash.
Tripwire Content Offers
Many times, a content marketing strategy involves a large jump for a prospect to become a customer in the world of B2B marketing. Many businesses actually have an opportunity to bridge the gap and make this conversion more easily available. The trick? A high-value, low-dollar offer, also known as a tripwire offer.
The way this works is that the very instant that you gain a new lead and capture their contact information via a form fill on your website, paid social, or more, you provide an immediate opportunity for them to pay a small cost for a more in-depth resource than what they just signed up for.
As you can see in the diagram below, this gives you an opportunity to make up for the cost that it takes to generate leads via paid avenues, and it enables your prospects to become a customer on a low, non-committal scale—called a high-value, low-dollar interaction. A win-win.
This example portrays getting 500 new leads through paid advertising that costs $500 to do so in price-per-click. If just 10% of these people (remember, only half of your original impressions), take the tripwire offer at $10, you’re netting zero costs. 500 new leads, 50 new buyers at this level, and only requiring 50 out of the 1,000 impressions to go the whole way through. This bridges the gap, and you can provide them offers in smaller increments until they’re fully converted to your service.
Staying Organized, Intentful, and Prepared: Editorial Calendars for Dummies
How do you keep all of your offers, content types, and goals organized? An editorial calendar. Organize the content you are developing each month, how it will be distributed, and the offer associated with each piece of content to make sure you’re staying on track and properly allocating your resources.
Another way to stay organized and effective is to organize your monthly content by a specific group of keywords. For example, if your topic of focus for one month is “Manufacturing software,” then your social media shares, blog, newsletter, etc. will have that as the main idea (with others still supporting). This ensures you’re talking about what’s popular among your audience month-over-month.
Putting it All Together
Overall, a content marketing strategy has many moving parts. But it’s important to remember that the words you write CAN be directly responsible for sales and conversions at your organization! If you need any assistance in planning your content development, look no further than the experts here at Uncommon. Contact us for a free 30-minute strategy call today!