Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
You decide to do something about the content gap in your marketing. After all, you have heard over and over than content is king! You decide you’ll finally write a few articles and see if you can make some marketing progress.
Ideas begin to flow, and you pick out a few you think would be decent articles for your website and blog. You know the subject matter pretty well and before you know it you’ve got what you believe is a good article about a change in your industry you recently read about and know will have a major impact.
You finish the article and get it posted on your website and your social media profiles. Then you sit back and wait on the indications that your article has touched a nerve, stirred interest, and will light up the phones.
You check links, look for comments, and wander over to your social profiles. What you find is a big nothing-burger (as our friends in the media are fond of saying these days). Instead of giving up you write another article, and then another. And while you know this is what you are supposed to do, not getting any indications that it is making any difference begins to frustrate you.
If that sounds familiar – you are not alone. All of us go through the same content struggles.
We all want content that:
- Connects with our audience.
- Informs, educates, or entertains.
- Builds credibility.
- Helps the customer decide to do business with us.
If you are experiencing frustration with the impact of your content, there is something you can do. In fact, there are a number of things you must do if your content marketing is going to be successful.
Four steps you can take to improve your content marketing:
Know who you want to read your content.
You need to have a clear understanding of your audience and invest the time to understand them. This is ideal customer analysis and will help you develop a customer persona (a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers). Your persona should define your audiences’ major challenges, definitions of success, demographics, and other characteristics that will help you better understand what they want from your content. You should also be aware of the type (text, video, audio, image) of content your customer wants to consume and how they will consume it. If your ideal customer likes video consumed on their mobile device, then posting text-only blogs on your website is not going to have positive results. Hubspot provides a very nice customer persona tool that will get you started.
Define your customer’s journey and understand the customer experience.
If you map the steps in your customers’ journey, you can then determine what content they need at what moment in that journey. This step is about adding context to your content marketing. Context is the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed and is often missing from most business marketing. Without the right context for your content its just random thoughts thrown out with the hope that it strikes a nerve or connects in some way. Cliché alert – “Hope is not a strategy.” Check out this ebook to create a successful customer experience.
Produce content your audience wants to consume.
Successful content marketing requires that you deliver content that your audience wants. To figure out what content you should be developing you will need to examine a variety of sources. Your customer’s needs and business cycles (for example fiscal year end), seasonal and event influences (for example upcoming conferences), customer questions and inquiries (hint: review your sent emails where you answer customer questions), keyword analysis, and internal inputs like support and sales teams. Concentrate on delivering valuable content your customers actually want, and you’ll find success.
Use a calendar to post consistently.
Successful content marketing is built over time. No one believes you can post a single blog and call your work done. It requires that you consistently deliver quality content. A calendar will help you take the guesswork out of content development and distribution. Your calendar should contain these basic elements: dates, what content is being developed, who is responsible for developing the content, the process for editing and approving, and distribution plans.
Great content does not have to “go viral” to be successful. Your expectations should not be to have thousands, or maybe even hundreds, of views of your content. Instead, you should concentrate on adding value to your audience, educating and informing them so they can make better decisions, achieve returns on their investment of time and money, and determine if your business is the right fit for them. After all, we all know you do business with those that you know, like, and trust.
Want more information about building content?
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