Content marketing is the new “buzz” of today, and for good reason – it works. According to a recent study, about 70-80 percent of buyer decisions are made before the prospect ever talks to your sales team. Most prospects will look to your website for all the information they need to make an informed purchase decision. Eric Albertson, CEO of Albertson Performance Group, recently conducted a webinar titled Building Content for the Buying Process, where he outlined six stages to help you plan, manage and measure your content marketing program. The six stages are as follows:
1. Identify objectives – Most people go into content marketing without establishing a benchmark, which down the road makes it difficult to track their shortcomings. By reviewing your company’s marketing strategy you’ll be able to align with it. If there is no developed marketing strategy, set one up before attempting to create your content marketing program. Next, evaluate the competitive landscape and keep track of competitors’ marketing efforts, which should give you a general idea of what you need to improve on.
2. Understand buyers – After you have identified your objectives, it’s time to understand your buyers. This is the most important – and most often missed – step which allows you to identify your buyer’s specific content consumption preferences. Initially, you want to identify buyer personas and specifically target them in your writing. Next, you should define the buying process stages by documenting buyer’s questions and influencers, and then begin crafting key messages. These two steps will help you determine where in the process the content is needed.
3. Identify gaps – Use this stage to inventory your existing content and to determine what is missing. There’s no need to worry about producing content in this stage, just focus on determining what content is still needed. To identify gaps you’ll need detailed research and analysis, during which you should perform the following steps:
- List existing content marketing assets
- Identify content by stage
- Identify content by persona
- Identify gaps in content
4. Build content – After you have determined the gaps in your content marketing efforts, it’s time to fill them in. These are 11 steps you will need to take in order to build your content:
- Generate Ideas for content
- Identify key messages
- Outline standards
- Ensure consistency
- Use target keywords
- Build a roster of contributors
- Identify a workflow
- Repurpose content
- Build content… then build more content
- Test your content
- Evaluate your case like a judge
5. Organize distribution – At this point, you’ve done all the hard work and now it’s time to organize distribution of your content. In order to do this, you’ll need to conduct a few activities including; selecting the right channels, facilitating social sharing, building landing pages, mapping your content and creating an editorial calendar. The editorial calendar should be your plan for the entire year, or at least one month. Here’s a content marketing editorial calendar template you can download and use.
6. Measure your program – The final stage is measuring your program by managing the content lifecycle. To help measure, you can get feedback from sales to see what is working, what isn’t, and how can it be improved. Another source of measurement is tracking your budget which might include items such as video production, graphic design, webinar speakers, surveys, etc. You can also measure your program by listening and engaging with your customers through social media monitoring (SMM, or social listening).
By following this six-step content marketing methodology, you should be able to assist and accelerate in achieving your marketing department’s goals. You can get the “Building Content to Support the Buying Process” recording here.