In the early days of marketing with limited competition and consumer access to information, marketers would flood the airwaves, broadcasting and billboards with their messaging. If you were too small to afford this level of marketing, you were too small to be noticed. Today, however, customers are likely to block these attempts wherever possible, selecting which content they engage with.
Today’s consumers are in search of value - but how can a company offer value and market their product simultaneously? The answer is content marketing. This blog will outline what content marketing is, how it’s different, and 4 simple steps to start content marketing for your own business.
What is Content Marketing?
With content marketing, companies offer value and interactivity instead of noise and one-way dictation. This attracts and nurtures potential customers instead of driving them away if they’re not ready to buy in yet.
Rather than explicitly promoting a product or brand, content marketing focuses on creating and sharing material such as videos, blogs, and social media posts to stimulate interest and consumer interactivity. This keeps the target market interested and the brand top of mind.
A company that creates helpful articles, free advice, and entertaining pieces of media that feature or promote their product is a company that is engaging with content marketing.
How Content Marketing works
Content Marketing relies upon your prospects interacting with your content. This will nurture them and help move them along the buyer’s journey towards a sale. Each piece of content marketing performs a vital function in assisting the lead in each stage.
For example, an infographic is a great resource that can assist the lead with the education, consideration, and decision steps, and possibly (with the right infographic and social media) even the awareness step.
An example of Content Marketing and the Buyer’s Journey in action:
Awareness - A person is scrolling down Facebook when their friend shares a hilarious video featuring the different challenges and uses for a product.
Education - The person looks up the company that was involved in the video and comes across an entertaining but interesting blog post talking about the challenges portrayed in the video. They sign up for the blog for more information.
Consideration - Now convinced that their life would be better with the product, the person considers their options. Because they signed up for the blog, they receive an email promoting a free live webinar that they attend. The webinar inspires confidence in the person that this product is the best in the industry.
Decision - At the end of the webinar, the person receives an email offering a free trial of the service or product. They gladly accept to give it a try and see if it’s a good fit.
Implementation - A few weeks later, the person decides to invest in the product or service offered after the free trial. From here, the company may decide to continue nurturing this person to invest more into their product through tutorial blogs, communities, and forums, or even more webinars on the more advanced features or products that complement the initial investment.
Now that you understand what Content Marketing is and how it works, it’s time to get started with a content marketing strategy of your own. In the next section, we’ll take you through 4 steps to get started with Content Marketing.
4 Steps to getting started with Content Marketing
STEP ONE - Identify your audience
You know who you’re selling to, but do you know what makes them tick?
Step one of our content marketing approach centres around not only identifying your target audience but understanding them.
In this step, we will develop customer personas, which are essentially idealised, fictional representations of an example customer. It’s a good idea to set up ‘facts’ such as how much the persona earns, how old they are, where they’re from, what language they feel comfortable with and so on. Most importantly, you need to establish what this persona wants, what challenges they face and where you can find them.
All of this information will help us know what kind of content to create, what to say and where to distribute it.
STEP TWO - Create a customer journey
Now that you understand your customers, you must decide on the best way to slowly introduce them to your product and how they can overcome their own challenges.
In this step, you will identify the steps your customers must undergo before making a purchase and what your content should address at each point.
The stages and content you should use are, broadly:
- The awareness stage uses content that highlights your lead’s challenges.
- The education stage uses content that informs what they can do about it.
- The consideration stage uses content that lets them know more about your product.
- The decision stage uses content that drives them to a sale.
- The implementation stage uses content that helps them use your solution.
The content you offer should descend in terms of complexity and investment from the awareness stage to the implementation stage. This encourages prospects to engage with your content without taking too much of their time. The more time you ask from your prospects, the less likely, you will be able to hook them.
We will discuss this more in the next step.
STEP THREE - Map potential content and channels to your journey
In step 3, it’s time to visualise and understand how you will accomplish the customer journey you have created.
This involves identifying what channels to use, what kinds of mediums to use and how often you need to contact leads in each stage. You will also have to decide what signs a lead must show before moving to the next step and what actions disqualify the lead.
Essentially, you choose what content to present to your leads at what stage of the customer journey. The best way to find out what content is suited to its type is to match the length, complexity and channel to where you’re likely to find your prospects in the buyer’s journey.
For example, top-of-funnel content is both attention-grabbing, easily consumable, and valuable to your buyers.
Top-of-funnel content, used in earlier stages of the journey, tends to be:
While content drawing closer towards a sale (bottom-of-funnel content) is educational, detailed, and offers more for the reader to consider.
Bottom-of-funnel content tends to be:
- Product or solution-focused
- More specific than generic
Which medium should you use?
The mediums or type of content you should use should match the above characteristics, depending on where you plan to distribute them during the buyer journey.
Here are content types listed from usually appearing near the top of the funnel towards the bottom of the funnel.
- Social Media Posts
- Checklists and quizzes
- Case studies
- Research papers
Which channel should you use?
Just as different mediums have different buy-in requirements, different channels have different levels of commitment. During the awareness to the consideration stage, you want to keep things light with few commitments, while the more the prospect progresses through the journey, you want to ask for more commitment like filling out forms or visiting your website.
Here are a few of the different channels you can use, from the top towards the bottom of the funnel.
- Social media
- Digital advertisements
- Email marketing
- Website / gated content
- Consultations and demos
Once you know which medium you will use, what you want to say in the medium, and through which channel you will distribute it, you can finally create the content.
STEP FOUR - Create the content
If you’ve followed the above steps, you should have an outline of the content you want to create and where to position it for your buyer’s journey. However, here are the two main questions that you should attempt to answer when creating each content piece and how you can address each.
Who are you and what is this?
- Always provide content that reflects your company’s values.
- Your content should provide as much upfront value as possible while requiring as little commitment as possible from potential customers.
- Try to avoid sales pressure.
Why should potential customers care about content?
- Provide content that is informative and educational.
- Always show potential customers that there is a solution to their problem.
- Present your product as one possible solution.
If you want to become a leader within your niche download our guide to content marketing white paper and read more in-depth about content marketing:
Let us guide you
As with all types of digital marketing, you have to take the time to learn the best approaches and methods to get the best results. As a modern business, this can be quite demanding. Not every company has the time, expertise ,or resources to dedicate to a fully functional content marketing strategy. Let us do the heavy lifting for you. Demodia’s services offer everything you need to master content marketing and make it work for your company. That’s why for the past 12 years, Demodia has refined marketing to generate more revenue for our clients, and we can do it for you too.
Contact us now for a consultation. We will provide you a step-by-step approach to improve your brand story, so you can watch your conversion-rates and profits increase as customers uncover your true value through content marketing.