By now I expect that you understand creating content is critical to generating leads, supporting your sales process and creating predictability and sustainability in your growth efforts. If you’re like many of the executives I’ve met over the last few months speaking, you may be asking a question like, “I understand I need to create content, but how can I make sure that our content drives the traffic we want and produces the positive ROI we need?”
If you’re asking that question, this post is for you. Writing effective content does not have to be a complicated burden. Like any other discipline, it requires some focus, some practice, and consistency. The more you do it, the easier it gets (and, oh yeah, the more you do it, the more traffic you’ll drive).
While driving traffic is certainly a goal of content marketing, driving the right content and generating the right actions is the real end to focus on. Over the years, we’ve generated 5 steps that help ensure we get the best results for our effort.
Key on Personas
If you’ve read this blog before, this comes as no surprise. Everything you do in your company should be keyed to your buyer personas. If you’re not clear on your personas, nothing about your go-to-market strategy will be clear; least of all your content strategy.
The top two concerns I get from executives when I start talking about creating content is that there isn’t enough content to create to sustain the effort, or that their product is “boring” and no one would be interested. Both of these problems are caused by a lack of clarity on your personas.
When you’re clear on your personas, your problem becomes narrowing down the topics your can write about, and your content pops. You can get a jumpstart here by downloading our first Quick Tip: Creating Your Buyer Personas & Mapping Their Journey.
Create Content That Resonates
I’ve always found it interesting that this is the step that scares people. If you’ve ever made a sale you’ve created content that resonates. The glorious opportunity that content marketing provides is the ability to leverage your message consistently across everyone you come in contact with.
Content that resonates meets two important criteria:
- It matters to your buyer personas.
- It is positively impacted by your products/services.
What always surprises me is that when we work with clients, this is the barrier we most frequently deal with. We create an effective calendar. We write the content. We edit it. Then we review it and edit it again. Then the questions and second-guessing comes and the process gets stuck. There’s just something about publishing that scares people.
By no means am I suggesting that the goal should be imperfect content, but if the content you’ve created meets the two criteria above – PUBLISH IT!
Google’s research on the Zero Moment of Truth uncovered that the typical customer reviews 10.4 pieces of content before making any type of decision (and that research was done in 2011). HubSpot has reviewed hundreds of thousand of interactions, and they’ve uncovered:
- Companies that have 30 or more landing pages get 7x the leads that companies with 5 or fewer get.
- Companies with 40 or more landing pages enjoy 12x the leads that companies with 5 or fewer get.
The bottom line is: get your content out and keep improving. Content marketing is a marathon; it’s not a sprint.
Don’t just publish your content and wait for people to find it. Promote it. Tweet it, update your LinkedIn status, share it with your groups and so on. Make sure your sales team has it and that they share the links with the appropriate prospects and customers that they’re working with. Don’t be shy.
Test & Measure
If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that data and facts trumps opinions and feelings. It doesn’t matter if you like the content – it only matters that your personas do. So track and measure everything you do.
The content marketing battle is won by the organization that makes the most consistent incremental improvements. Watch how your personas engage with content and what motivates them. Develop KPI’s that you monitor regularly, and use the data to influence the content you create going forward.
By following these five steps, you’ll be creating consistent content that drives traffic, and you’ll be surprised by how simple the whole process is.
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