‘Content is king’, the phrase thought to have been first coined by Microsoft’s Bill Gates in 1996, is increasingly being used in digital marketing circles. And with good reason.
Content is an integral part of any digital marketing campaign, and provides an abundance of value when it comes to raising brand awareness, improving reputation and building trust between an organisation and the people you are trying to reach.
Content is an important component of the mix of tactics designed to encourage a website visitor to become a customer. And in helping to turn that one-off customer into a long-term advocate for your brand.
But with an estimated four million hours of content uploaded to YouTube, two million blogs and 500 million tweets published per day, how can you make your content compete?
It’s all well and good saying “we need content”, but it takes strategic planning to decide what type of content you should produce, publish and promote in order to deliver the results that matter to your organisation.
Content for different stages of the customer journey
One useful approach that can help establish parameters for your content strategy is to look at your customer journey. Different organisations will have their own type of customer journey, but typically, the following three phases apply to most organisations when considering how their customers interact with them. Shaping your content strategy according to the stage of the customer journey you think your target audience is most likely to be at, is just one way of helping your online content to stand out – and hit home.
The awareness phase is when people first become aware of your business, or organisation. If your primary objective is to attract new potential customers by building brand awareness and increasing your profile, you should first target your content marketing strategy at the awareness phase.
You should concentrate on producing content that is going to get new customers’ attention and let them know what you do. Examples of the type of content you should produce at this stage include digital advertisements, paid social media adverts and guest posts on influential blog sites. You should always set key performance indicators (KPIs) for your content marketing, and in this case your content needs to be delivering increased entrances to a website, measured through click-through rates or advert impressions if you’re posting on social media.
After awareness comes information. The second stage of the common customer journey. At this stage, the customer may already be aware of your organisation or business, but it’s likely that their knowledge of what you do, create or sell is limited.
To engage this audience, you need to create informative pieces of content that are going to build trust and give them reasons to continue the conversation with you – whether that’s signing up to your newsletter or converting on your website. Product reviews, case studies, testimonial videos, webinars and frequently asked questions (FAQs) are all great examples of the type of content to create at this stage. Your aim is to start to convince your target audience that you are a tried, tested and trusted potential solution to their needs.
Perhaps you are in the enviable position of having a large customer base with awareness of who you are, and a good understanding of what you offer. How do you maintain their interest, and keep them coming back for more? Assuming you have ‘hooked’ your customer, the content priorities for the final phase of the customer journey should be promoting why you are the best, and helping to drive repeat business.
Newsletters and organic social media posts are examples of content that are going remind your customers of your existence, and help to keep you front of mind. Linking this type of content to topical or calendar hooks – think florist brands sending Mother’s Day reminder emails with top tips on spoiling Mum – is a key tactic for any content marketing strategy during the retention phase.
Finally, make sure you have measurement tools in place to enable you to evaluate the performance of the content you are creating. Each piece you create should be linked to a clear business objective, and be optimised to reflect your search engine optimisation (SEO) KPIs – whether that’s driving traffic to the website, or converting leads.
Freshwater is an experienced content marketing agency. We have experts who can help you to develop your content strategy and produce engaging content that’s going to deliver the results that matter to you. Learn more about our content marketing services here.