By Gillian Arthur, Consultant and Strategic Writer, Mainstay
Marketing has changed dramatically with the advent of digital marketing. Yet many marketing teams haven’t kept up with adapting their content marketing strategies to maximize the ROI of their digital strategies.
To account for this, you need to align your company’s content to your buyer journey. And to ensure that your content leads to more conversions, it’s best to incorporate this strategy when creating your content marketing plan.
Successful content marketing requires strategic planning
Strategy should be at the heart of all content marketing efforts; and yet for most organizations, this isn’t always the case. Some marketers might think that no matter what they write, their content will lead to more conversions. This simply isn’t true.
If you want to see results, you need think strategically about the content you’re creating. This means thinking about where your customers are in their buyer journey, how you can create content catered to each stage, and equally important, what formats are appropriate at the top, middle, and bottom stages of the conversion funnel.
For example, ask yourself questions like: are your customers beginning to look for a solution? (awareness), Are they comparing your solution with a competitor? (consideration), or are they ready to purchase? (decision). When planning your content strategy, it’s imperative you ask these questions and understand how the answers to these questions influence your course of action.
The bottom line here is that content can’t just be compelling, it needs to be aligned with your buyer’s intent. To ensure proper alignment, you must first know two things: who you’re targeting, and what stage of the buyer journey they’re in.
Aligning your content types to buyer journey stages
To reiterate, not all content types are created equal in content marketing. Some formats are simply more effective at certain stages of the buyer journey than others. If you’ve ever heard “there’s a time for everything,” successful content marketing follows a similar principle. For example, not every piece of content should be used for lead generation; but when this type of content is used in the right place at the right time, it can be incredibly effective.
What’s truly paramount is creating content that hits the stage of the purchase journey you want to reach your buyers. To do so, you need to know which format is appropriate for each stage and how it plays into strategy.
At the awareness stage, or ‘top’ of the sales funnel, content like search-optimized blog posts, social media posts, and videos are effective at creating visibility and awareness for your solutions. As we move down the funnel, the ‘middle’ — known as the consideration stage — becomes slightly more specialized with formats like e-books, white papers, targeted advertising, and webinars. At the ‘bottom’ of the funnel, or decision stage, content here is the most specialized and targeted out of the three, including content like case studies, sales enablement articles and value selling tools.
New Mainstay Blog Series: Content Fit for Purpose
In this four-part blog series Content Fit for Purpose, we will focus on identifying the benefits of various content types and aligning content to your buyer journey. Each blog will be focused on a different stage of the funnel – top, middle, and bottom – covering content formats appropriate at each stage and featuring real-life examples of assets Mainstay has created for its own clients.
Stay tuned for our next blog where we look at “top of the funnel” content and how you can align your content at this stage. In the meantime, if you want to discuss how Mainstay can help with planning for and executing against your content strategy, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org