Content marketing is a form of online marketing which involves creating, distributing, and promoting message content to attract customers for various purposes.
It plays a huge role in digital marketing strategy, and the best results are achieved when content is build with specific buyer personas and distributed through several channels.
When it comes to content marketing, there’s one thing I’ve learned for sure: It’s all about creating quality content that is targeted for your audience’s needs, interests and concerns.
If you can do that, you’re well on your way to generating leads and driving traffic to your website.
Of course, creating quality content is easier said than done.
It takes a lot of time and effort to produce something that people will actually want to read.
But it’s worth it in the end, because when you get it right, your content will help you achieve your business goals.
In this article, I’ll walk you through an overview of how to create a content marketing campaign from the ground up.
- Understand your audience
- Create quality content
- Distributing valuable content
- Measure the results
If you’re looking for a quick rundown of the various forms of online content marketing, here’s a list:
- Informative Content
- Interactive Content
- Audience Data Mining
- Blog Posts and Articles
- Videos or Presentations
- Ebooks, Guides, Whitepapers(My favorite)
- Case Studies
- Social Media Platforms (Twitter, Facebook and Google+)
- Podcasts and Webinars
- SlideShare presentations
- E-mail newsletters
- And more…
So stick around and I’ll show you exactly how to create a content marketing strategy that will help you achieve your business goals.
What is content marketing and why content marketing is important?
Content marketing is the process of creating, publishing and distributing content that is intended to help a brand or business attract and retain customers.
But what does it have to do with you?
The answer is simple: It can help you generate leads.
When done correctly, content marketing will attract potential customer to your website who are actively looking for a solution to their problems.
Marketing is very broad and encompasses many different types of activities.
Here are the 2 types of marketing:
- Inbound Marketing
- Outbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is when potential customer are looking for help with their problems, and they find your content.
Outbound marketing is when you try to get people’s attention by interrupting them or distracting them from what they were doing.
Content marketing falls somewhere in between.
Content marketing is a lot like fishing.
You have to put in the time and effort to cast your net in the right place, and then patiently wait for the fish to bite.
And when they do, you have to be ready to reel them in.
Do you fish?
It’s a lot like that.
A content marketing requires quality, useful and valuable content that is specifically targeted for your target audience and helpful to them in some way.
The next section will discuss on the anatomy of a content marketing…
Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is a long-term process which starts with research and ends with measuring the results.
Like I said, content marketing is all about creating quality content that’s targeted to your audience’s needs, interests and concerns.
But why do we need to do content marketing in the first place?
To understand why you need to create content marketing, let’s look at the sales funnel for a potential customer.
It is a process of clearly defined audience.
Read More: What is a sales funnel?
Potential customer usually go through the following stages before they decide to buy from you:
So, what are potential customer doing at each stage of the path?
They’re searching for answers online.
And it’s your job to be there when they’re looking for information.
Let’s take a look at your content marketing strategies from the perspective of someone who is in the early stages of the sales process, just getting started with research.
They’re looking for informative content that will help them understand what they need to know about the problem you’re trying to solve.
Now, let’s say this person has gone through the Awareness, Interest and Desire stages of research.
They’ve seen your ads or your brand in some way and decided they want to learn more about you because they feel a connection with what you’re selling.
Now it’s time for them to take action by contacting you.
So when someone is in this stage of research, what kind of content do you need to provide them?
This is where conversion rate optimization and lead generation come together.
You need to be ready with information that explains your unique selling proposition so they know exactly why they should buy from you instead of your competitors.
Just like how you need to funnel cake batter into a baking pan in order to make a delicious dessert, you need to funnel your marketing content into a sales funnel in order to make sales.
The top of the funnel is where you put your content, and the bottom of the funnel is where you put your call to action.
As people consume your content, they’ll move down the funnel until they reach the bottom and hopefully buy whatever it is you’re selling.
What type of content marketing strategy works best for businesses and why?
Different types of content serve different purposes and help you get your message across.
The list of content marketing is endless.
It includes blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, eBooks and whitepapers.
Again, I will break it down based on the sales funnel structure for your better understanding.
- Top of The Funnel(TOFU): Awareness
- Middle of The Funnel(MOFU): Interest, Desire
- Bottom of The Funnel(BOFU):Action
Read More: What is a Sales Process?
TOFU Content for Awareness
The top of the funnel is all about awareness, which means you want to put your content in front of as many people as possible.
You’re not trying to sell anything yet.
Your goal is to create valuable content that educates and informs potential customer so they know what solutions exist for their problems.
Think of it this way , when someone is in the TOFU stage of awareness, you’re basically introducing yourself to them.
That’s why it starts with providing valuable content that helps solved a problem they have to gain their trust and respect.
TOFU Content Examples:
Search Engines Marketing: Written content provides information about your company, what types of problems you solve and who you serve as customers.
A blog post should be the ultimate guide for what you do.
Did You Know: 74% of companies indicate that content marketing is increasing their marketing teams’ lead quality and quantity?(Curata)
Read More: What is search engines marketing?
Video Content Marketing: Create a high quality video content that provides real value to your audience.
It doesn’t have to be promotional and it definitely shouldn’t sell anything in the first 60 seconds.
Did You Know: There will be 3.5 Billion users consume video by 2023?(Statista)
Infographics: Visual content provides information that helps explain complex ideas and concepts easier to understand with the help of visual aids such as charts, numbers and graphics.
A great infographic is like a cheat sheet for how your company can help potential customer with their specific problems.
Podcasts: Audio-based content provides information in the form of conversations between experts, interviews with experts that are generally longer than videos or blog posts.
It’s like an audio blog post that educates people who are on the go and don’t have time to read.
Social Media Marketing: Social media posts is a great way to building brand awareness by staying in front of as many people as possible.
You can use social media to post updates about your company, share other businesses that you admire and provide valuable content that solves problems for potential customer.
Read More: What is social media marketing?
Microsite: Similar to a blog, microsites are standalone web pages that provide resources for your audience.
The purpose of the microsite is usually to act as one stop shop for information about your company and everything you do.
But instead of putting it on your blog, you’re creating an entire page just dedicated to this specific topic.
What’s the purpose of all these contents?
The purpose of all these contents is to make customers problem aware and solution aware.
They will be able to identify what problems they have, and then seek out the solutions that you offer.
The more aware your customers are about their problems, the higher your probability of making a sale because now they know exactly who you are and what you do.
MOFU Content for Interest & Desire
Now that your potential customer are aware of what your business does, it’s time to make them interested.
The middle of the funnel is where you ask for their attention by raising interest and desire.
You do this by showing how other successful people have applied your solutions to their problems and how they were able to succeed as a result.
In other words, you show your prospects how your products and services can help them achieve their goals.
MOFU Content Examples:
Educational Resources: Your goal here is to educate potential customer about the topic your business specializes in so they can better understand how to apply your solutions to their problems.
These educational resources can come in the form of informative blog posts, how-to videos and investing ebooks.
Quiz/Surveys: A quiz or survey is a great way to find out what customers problems and interests are so you can understand their pain points and create educational resources that solve them.
Asking for customer feedback also helps build trust with the audience because you’re asking for their opinions on what matters most to them.
Discounts/Offers/Loyalty Club: Once you know what your potential customer want, offer them a discount to incentivize them to make the purchase.
When people trust that your business can solve their problems, they are more likely to buy from you when the time comes.
No matter how small or large your discounted offer is, it will help build goodwill with your audience.
Downloads: A great way to turn your audience into raving fans is by giving away free resources that help them solve their problems.
These downloads can be anything from ebooks, checklists, workbooks or worksheets that educate people on how to better utilize your business’s solutions.
Examples: My 7 Core Funnel Ebook(Grab a copy here)
Webinar/Events: Now that they are aware of their problems and interested in your solutions, it’s time to provide them with more information.
Your goal here is to get people connecting with your business so they can ask questions and get their deeper inquiries answered.
Webinars and events allow customers to easily move from awareness into consideration by learning about new problems that may come up and how your business can solve those as well.
Examples: Here is a webinar for Funnel Builder Secrets. They will tell you how-to Funnel hack your competitors.(P.S: It is 90 minutes long)
BOFU Content for action
Now it’s time for you to ask your audience to take action.
At this point, they should be fully aware of their problems and interested in solving them.
Now it’s time for you to guide them into taking the next step by making a purchase or signing up for an email list.
Having BOFU content ready is essential because once someone gets to this stage, they are on the verge of making a purchase.
MOFU content is great for building awareness, but it won’t generate the type of revenue your business needs to thrive.
You can’t leave your potential customers hanging and expect them to just show up at your website and buy something.
Content marketing generates more than 60% of all leads.
BOFU Content Examples:
Sales Page or Landing Page: If you have an email list, then it’s time to introduce your audience to your products and services by providing them with more information on how they can solve their problems.
Demo: If you don’t have an email list and someone becomes interested in buying your products and services, then a demo is a great way to build trust and show customers how they can achieve their goals.
People love demos because it allows them to visualize the product or service you’re offering.
If people can see it working, feel what it’s like to use it, or hear how other people are using it to solve their problems, then they’ll be more inclined to buy.
Examples: Here is a free trial for Jasper AI copywriting tool. (Claim your 10,000 words!)
Comparison/Spec Sheet: If people are still on the fence about whether or not they want to buy your product or service, then it’s time to compare and contrast between what you offer and the competition.
This type of content shows your audience that you have a clear understanding of their needs and wants.
People appreciate when businesses take the time to fully understand their needs and then deliver the best solution.
Webinar/Live Events: Again, webinar is a great way to establish your authority and a great place to offer them you best deals.
Everyone loves a great deal and if you can create a sense of urgency in your audience, then they are more likely to take action.
Read More: Perfect Webinar Secrets Review
Content Marketing Examples By Content Marketing Institute
There are 4 reasons and benefits for enterprises to use content marketing:
- Increased sales
- Cost Savings
- Better customers who have more loyalty
- Content as a profit center
Source: Content Marketing Institute
Tips For Creating Content Marketing
Starting a content marketing strategy is a lot like starting a journey.
You need to have a strategic marketing approach focused around your target audience in order to reach their values, desires and dreams.
Just like when we plan for a trip.
You need to have a destination in mind, a plan of action, and the right tools to make the journey successful.
You don’t want to put a lot of time and effort into something that may not work out.
It can be extremely frustrating when you put in all the work only to have it fall flat with no results.
That is why it’s important to take your time with planning and strategizing so everything comes together at the right time.
To help you, here are some tips that helps me with my content marketing strategies.
It is called the “Escape and Arrival Framework.”
Remember, we mentioned earlier that content marketing needs to make a significant impact at each stage of the prospect’s journey.
The Escape and Arrival framework breaks down your content strategy by pinpointing what messages you should deliver throughout the stages of awareness, interest, evaluation, and purchase.
This framework can helps you craft unlimited content ideas with customer-centered messages that are highly relevant to your audience.
Let me explain how this framework works with the example of my friend Frank Kern looking to buy a new camera for his new course(This is a fiction story 😉).
Frank’s awareness stage:
He is new to the camera market, but he has always wanted a DSLR.
He doesn’t really know what type of camera to buy and is looking for some help with buying guide.
During this stage Frank is open to reading content that will teach him about photography and cameras.
He is also open to looking at comparisons between different camera brands.
This stage of the customer journey is all about awareness.
Frank’s interest stage:
During this next stage, Frank has now developed an interest in DSLRs and wants to start learning more about what type of camera he should consider buying.
At this point, Frank is open to watching videos and reading blog posts that will teach him all about the different types of DSLRs.
He wants to learn everything there is to know before he makes his decision.
This stage of the customer’s journey is where Frank starts doing more research on brands and opportunities for buying his new camera.
This is a great time to start sending him comparison content.
Frank’s desire stage:
Now, Frank has decided he wants to buy a Canon 80D with a 24-105mm lens and an 18-megapixel resolution.
He has been reading up on it and learned that this type of DSLR is best for beginner photographers.
Frank is now looking for the best place to buy a Canon 80D and has become open to content related to buying guides, best deals, and questions about his purchase.
This stage of the customer journey is when Frank starts making price comparisons, so this would be a good time to send him discounts or coupons.
Frank’s decision stage:
During this final stage, Frank has decided to buy the Canon 80D with his new lens and is looking for the best deal.
At this point your content should build around why yours is the best deal along with answering any questions about his purchase.
This stage of the customer journey is the point of no return for Frank.
He has become fully invested in your brand and now it’s time to take advantage.
For Frank, this would be a good opportunity to send him testimonials from other customers or any blog posts that share how great your product is.
In short, this is an excellent framework to use for planning your content marketing strategies.
It takes into consideration the entire customer journey and helps you develop impactful messages that speak to buyers at various stages of awareness.
You can now look at your campaign as a roadmap with each stage having its own unique objective.
Remember, there are four main stages in the customer’s journey:
Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Decision.
The Escape and Arrival Framework helps you develop relevant messages for each stage of the customer journey from awareness to decision.
In your content campaign you should have a plan in place that focuses on how you will build awareness about your brand or product, then keep that customer engaged until they are ready to take the final step and buy from you.
By developing a content strategy around each of these stages, you will be able to deliver the most relevant and powerful marketing messages at every touchpoint with prospects.
The main takeaway: Making sure your messaging is relevant and timely is what separates mediocre campaigns from great ones.
Content marketing should be a priority for any business looking to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and increase sales.
Wrapping it up
Your content marketing efforts should tie directly into your sales funnel and should help you achieve the goals of every stage in the customer journey.
It’s not about creating awareness; it’s about using content to educate customers while building trust with them through each stage until they reach the decision stage, where they are ready to buy.
Before sending traffic to your site, make sure you understand the buyer’s journey and that your content marketing strategies is designed to speak directly to each stage of awareness.
Taking time to plan your content strategy using the Escape and Arrival Framework will not only provide you with a more cohesive marketing program, but it will also help you increase awareness of your brand or product as people progress through each stage of the customer journey.
Start doing this by jotting down what messages you could send at all potential touchpoints.
This will help you create a plan for how to best engage with prospects and customers at every stage of the customer experience.
Your end goal: Deliver valuable, relevant content that helps buyers move through each step of the journey faster and more efficiently.
By the way…
This is how i craft this blog…
You’ve got this!