Content Marketing 101 - Tutorial
While we're always committed to being your printing partner, we want to look beyond the printed piece and be your marketing partner as well. We are going to focus on a topic that will continue to be one of the biggest movements in marketing: content marketing.
78% OF CMOs THINK CUSTOM CONTENT
IS THE FUTURE OF MARKETING.
— HANLEY WOOD
The key word in this stat is custom. Custom doesn't mean difficult; it means explicitly understanding the customers and where they are in the journey, and then tailoring the content to meet their needs.
First, we will focus on how content aligns with sales and customer growth goals. Next, we will focus on specific and actionable custom content ideas at each stage of the sales cycle. Then, we'll talk about analyzing content and making adjustments as you go. We'll also share tips and tricks for curating content and becoming a better writer, and we'll introduce resources for ongoing education.
Anyone (we mean that) can become a content marketer. Instead of waiting for the future, we're planning in the present. Together, we'll craft a metrics-driven content strategy that builds trust and engagement throughout the customer journey.
Before we jump to strategy, why does custom content matter?
Understanding your customers' buying process allows you to identify the right message at the right time. Gone are the days where you could send mass blasts of general content and expect it to hit home. Customers are too savvy. They expect highly personalized, relevant, entertaining and informative content that offers them an explicit benefit. Custom content needs context. A good framework for identifying content is the sales funnel. Every business is different, and content takes patience, along with trial and error. Think about where your customers spend the majority of their time and work for greatness in those areas first.
These next ideas are meant to jumpstart content creation. Content should build on itself. By aligning content with your sales funnel, you see a natural progression that leads to creation.
This quote by Benjamin Franklin is spot on for our discussion today. "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." —Benjamin Franklin
Telling or talking at your customers won't cut it. Teaching at the top of the funnel is the first step. Then, involve your customer to move them through your funnel. Specific engagements with data-capture and tracking mechanisms are critical to the sales process, and your content is all connected.
So, let's start from the top. We're going to pick a paper company as an example for this discussion.
The variety of content at the top of the funnel is the most diverse. Think less like a salesperson and more like an educator. You can weave in your proposition, but the overall structure of the content should be about helping prospects solve a specific problem or need.
At this stage, the customer is looking at 10.4 sources before ever making a purchase.
Google's Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) study revealed that a consumer consults 10.4 sources before making a purchase. Additionally, 77% of buyers said they did not talk with a salesperson until after they had performed independent research, according to DemandGen.
Here are a few ideas for this stage:
Going back to Mr. Franklin's quote, this is where we start to engage with potential customers and gain valuable data about their customer journey and decision points. If you've done your job at the top of the funnel with education, you position yourself as a thought leader in your category, and that builds trust. Blanket techniques or throw-and-stick strategies are washed-up tactics. Personalization is key.
Customers aren't static. They access content from multiple devices, and as you build a relationship with them, the stakes are higher for content creation. Personalization leads to persuasion. Hubspot, one of the leading marketing automation platforms, reviewed more than 93,000 messages from their customers and found that those with personalized content performed 42% better than those with generic messages.
Here are a few ideas for this stage:
Data Sheets Testimonials Demos/Videos
Understanding how to create loyal customers is one of the most important business metrics. Interactions should be memorable-and even more so, remarkable. According to Bain and Co., a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company's profitability by 75%. Gartner Group statistics tell us that 80% of a company's future revenue will come from just 20% of existing customers.
Offer customers something remarkable, and they'll champion your brand.
Here are a few ideas for this stage:
Thank You Gifts
For more information or to discuss how to put your new found knowledge to work, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or give us a call at 800-930-6040
. We love to talk to our customers, and we're always here to help.
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Every Content Creator Needs to Answer
These are the five questions every content creator needs to answer, as well as the metrics that matter most and the tools that can assist along the way.
Why should you create custom content?
Short answer: Because it matters.
Long answer: A report by the content marketing institute indicates that a whopping 93% of B2B marketers now use content marketing as part of their overall marketing plan. Content can generate leads, increase thought leadership, and drive behavior like conversion or attendance. First, identify the why, and then map content to your buying cycle. Focus on the area that will create the most immediate impact, and then build from there.
Who are you creating it for?
Always remember your audience. Keep your target audience in mind as you create your calendar, and know that not all customers at each stage will be the same. Understand the customer journey from start to finish. That means go on that journey yourself and make sure it's not a bumpy one.
What resources are at your fingertips?
Regardless of your content team's size, there are options to help get you going. Check out this post by HubSpot on 16 free tools that make content creation easier. If you struggle with grammar and writing, then check out Grammarly, which comes with a handy Microsoft plug-in. Also, look beyond your department. Co-workers might have writing chops from a personal blog or valuable subject matter expertise.
How can you stand out?
If you draw a blank on what to fill your content calendar with, jump start the process with these questions.
- What unmet industry needs can be addressed?
- What gaps currently exist in your competitors' content?
- What industry events can you tie into throughout the year?
- What current events or pop culture could make for entertaining content?
- Where can you play a lead role to capture your customer's attention?
Is it working?
A recent post from the Content Marketing Institute identified 8 key metrics for content marketers and we're here to break them down for you.
Content is a continual cycle, so review, refine, and repeat
You don't need to use all eight metrics at once. Start by measuring what's easiest first, and then grow from there.
The top of the funnel is often the easiest place to measure. Sharing and consumption metrics are readily available and don't require a marketing automation platform or CRM tool.
Content is a long game. Content measurement happens over time, not just as a one-off immediately after you hit publish. Practice patience and persistence over a period of time. By doing so, you will identify which older content is evergreen, and what content needs to be retired or reworked.
By measuring content, you will improve your process and skills, but you will also prove the value of content marketing to the rest of your organization.
For more information or to discuss how to put your newfound knowledge to
work, email us at email@example.com
or give us a call at 800-930-6040.