It is important to set goals so that you can focus your efforts. Content written with the goal of raising awareness is likely to look very different to content that is aimed at maximising conversions. By setting goals you can track progress and assess whether your strategy is working - or not! These should be SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely - so not opaque actions such as "increase website traffic", for example, but "increase website traffic from new visitors by 10 per cent by December 1".
Know your Audience
This will determine both what content you create and which channels you use to distribute it. Customers are a good place to start - who are your best customers? Who buys your products? Who buys a competitor's offering? Is there a category of audience you are deliberately trying to avoid, for example, a customer with insufficient budget for your products and services? You can gather information about your customers and potential customers through a number of sources. Speak to sales and marketing colleagues, use web and social media analytics tools and review both formal and informal customer feedback.
Develop Customer Personas
Once you have this information, you can use it to create personas - pen portraits of prospects and customers that will help you understand what motivates them, their pain points and challenges. Without personas, you can easily end up guessing what content your audience wants, which means you are more likely to create content about what you know rather than about the information your audience is looking for. Each persona should include details about job roles, demographics, background / education, goals, challenges, common objections and which media and social media they like to consume.
Analyse the Customer Journey for these Personas.
How do your customers come to buy your services? The customer journey can help identify current sticking points, reduce the length of the sales cycle, reduce costs, and even improve customer satisfaction scores. It will also help you identify what content might be missing because different types of content do different jobs.
Resist the temptation to reinvent the wheel by disregarding what you already have. Often, you will have more material than you think. Also, consider what content you can get through desktop research or a quantitative or qualitative survey. Try to make your content topical, say something new or contrary to received wisdom.
Look at your upcoming events / monthly priorities – these may inspire ideas or highlight the best timing to publish your content.
How well does your proposed content compare to that of your competitors? What types of content do they have? What channels do they use? How often do they publish? You should also seek to identify any gaps that neither you nor your competitors are targeting and assess whether these areas would be of interest to potential customers.
Identify the Right Content for Each Stage of your Personas' Customer Journeys
For example, at the Awareness stage, an e-book might be the most appropriate content offer, whereas at the Consideration stage, a questionnaire would work best. Finally, at the Decision stage, you could offer a free consultation. Think carefully about what your call to action will be and how best to incorporate it into your content.
Create a Kick-Ass Content Calendar
This will be a breeze after all your preparation. Identify which content you will publish and when.
Decide who does what, identify the tools and resources you need to succeed and agree on the process of creating content - who needs to research, write, edit and approve it.
Optimise the content for search engines in terms of: • Use and apply keywords in headings, body content, metadata and alt tags. • Adding internal links to other relevant content. • Adding external links as references or in support of the content. • Acquiring backlinks – get links to your content from other websites.
Armed with your knowledge of your buyer personas, now push your Kick-Ass Content out on the most appropriate platforms.
Evaluate and optimise
Using the goals you set at the start of the process, assess the results of your efforts so far and tweak the approach accordingly.
Ready to skyrocket your profile? Our expert advice can guide you to creating a Kick-Ass Content calendar. Contact us now and let’s make some noise together!
Or take advantage of our Free Content Teardown where we score your content against our own Kick-Ass Methodology!