Content is everywhere – there is content about products, content about services offered, content about why companies are the best, content about customer success, and content about people and their goals.
There is content that is used for analysis of your audience such as employee reviews or surveys and there is content that is developed to influence and educate your audience such as content in the form of competitive comparisons, recorded product demos, explainer videos and customer success stories. Lastly, there is content that focuses on your audience to take action such as discounts, free trials and promotional offers.
But the big question is whether all this content is generating the results desired. The objective beyond any content creation exercise is to ensure that first, the content resonates with your audience and secondly, that the audience engages with the most relevant content depending on their decision stages.
Create Content that Resonates with your Audience
Your best audience research still does not guarantee that your content produced will work for your audience – there are too many variables that actually determine content marketing success.
The tone and voice of the article is important – whether it is conversational, authoritative, creative, personal experience based success story or lessons learnt can make a significant difference in how it gets picked up by your different audience segments. Then there is the question of what formats will accelerate adoption – through digital newsletter, as an infographic or as a whiteboard animation, as a youtube video or simply as a blog. Should you offer the content for direct consumption on your website or should you make people register to get the content? Good questions – depending on whether your objectives are thought-leadership on a topic or lead generation; the trade-off is that anything offered for free does not get any respect and in spite of higher impressions, chances of engagement (read, commented, shared etc) are lower while content offered in exchange of contact information deters a few but ones who download this are usually more qualified readers with motivation to get the content piece.
Planning an intelligent content mix is important – but so is matching it with your audience’s consumption patterns and channels
Use Content Categorization to Nurture your Pipeline
It is very difficult to segment your audience by their decision stages – a simple model that works is to tag your content pieces by how they fall in the pipeline stages. For your audience in early discovery stages – a beginner’s guide to any topic, or creating content labeled as suitable for dummies is a good way to grab their attention. For your relatively more educated audience who have already gone through the preliminary research and are now in the evaluation stages trying to determine and prioritize their requirements – sharing authoritative content that outlines top evaluative criteria for selection of solutions and products or best practices or customer success stories are usually most relevant. Finally in the engagement stages, the prospects are interested in watching demos, evaluating user experience, operational ease and integration and content pieces that deliver this in the form of detailed datasheets, whitepapers, recorded user demos, user guides, TCO analysis etc take precedence over all other forms of content.
Content can be offered through various 3rd party channels but it is best delivered through landing pages on your site, so that your marketing automation scoring algorithms can be utilized not just to reveal engagement histories but also use scoring algorithms for qualification and enable your ability to tailor highly relevant email marketing offers according to their pipeline stage.