Friday, 23 January 2015

The Secret Recipe for Applying Content to Each Stage of the Buying Cycle


You know you need to create content.

Your client wants leads, right?
But how do you determine what type of content needs to be created. Should you focus on blog content, whitepapers, ebooks, or case studies? What is the frame of mind of the person who is interested in each piece of content?

To determine this, you need to map each piece of content to a stage in the customer's buying cycle. Here are four important things to consider when getting started:

Don’t Skip Strategy

You’re going to be tempted to jump right into blogging, landing page creation, and even content creation. Don’t do it. Don’t create a set of personas and think you’re ready for content either. Content that drives leads requires a much deeper strategic conversation with your client. You need to understand the messaging, points of differentiation, buyer journey of customers, and more. Tell your clients straight up that you can’t or better yet won’t start working on content until the strategy is established and approved.

Create an Inventory of Questions

If you want to understand the challenges of your client’s prospects through the buyer journey, the best way to do this is to collect a set of questions prospects ask your client on a regular basis. These questions typically reside with their sales teams, client services, and customer support.

Map the Questions to the Buyer Journey

Now map the question to the various phases in the buyer journey. Top of the funnel questions are going to need top of the funnel content offers. Middle of the funnel questions are going to need middle of the funnel content, and bottom of the funnel questions are going to need bottom of the funnel content. Keep in mind that you’re going to need to tailor your landing pages and forms to the buyer journey, too. Prospects at the top of the funnel are not going to give you all their vitals; they might only be willing to give you an email address. Prospects at the bottom of the funnel should be willing to share much more. This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people skip this step.

Create Content That Answers Each Question

Once the question mapping is complete, start answering the questions in the form of content.

Remember: you need a variety of content types and each format should align with your buyer journey. Whitepapers and ebooks are great for top of the funnel and in-person consultations, and live assessments are better for bottom of the funnel. Don’t forget that keywords are still relevant, and you need to infuse these into your content up and down the sales funnel. You also want to make sure that this content finds its place on your client’s website. You should have top of funnel, awareness pages that have top of funnel content. Apply this page tagging and content mapping to all the relevant pages on your client’s site.

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