How do you treat content? Content marketing sounds really nice in theory. You write a couple of articles, drive traffic to your site, and get sales.
Easy, right? Yeah, not so much. So it’s crazy when you see companies assuming that a certain number of blog posts is “right.”
What are they basing this assumption on? They’re thinking, “Three blog posts a week is good.” Why?
This brings us to the age-old dilemma of quantity vs. quality. We want to produce a lot of content in our respective niches, but we also want to take the time to craft relevant, valuable content.
Purpose of Content Marketing
See, content marketing isn’t the end goal. We can’t forget about the real reason that content marketing is even necessary.
It is there to make sales. Our businesses need to generate revenue, and content marketing acts as an opportunity to produce subscribers, leads, and ultimately sales.
When we think about the sales funnel, content marketing is really the same strategy (we’re just looking at a different context).
Here’s a visualization of the content marketing funnel via the Marketing Eye:
Now, look at how it compares to the sales funnel:
You’ll notice that your content marketing complements the sales funnel, and that’s exactly why content marketing exists. It is a means to an end: sales. If your content isn’t driving the results you need, why bother with it?
Get People to Your Website
Starting off, you need traffic. That’s all that truly matters, right? And traffic is just like the “reach” metric on social. That metric doesn’t matter unless it’s relevant and encourages your audience to engage.
When it comes to your website, “engagement” means that visitors are interested in your content. And by “interested in your content,” I mean that visitors like it so much that they are willing to give away their email addresses to get even more.
After all, we are in this business for the leads. Those are the numbers that matter, not the number of blog posts we get out in a week.
And if we are collecting leads, that’s when we’re in business.
Getting leads means that people trust you so much that they believe your information can help them save money, time, or resources.
The purpose of content marketing is to leverage the content, not simply to create it for its own sake.
Write for Stages, Not Just for People
You cater to a certain niche. Everyone does. That’s a good strategy. But do you cater to the stages of buying within that niche?
Think about it: you have to align with your sales funnel. Here’s an example. At one point in your life, you were interested in information. You wanted to know how to do something or how to fix a problem.
At that point, you weren’t looking to pay anyone to fix the problem because you simply didn’t know how to deal with it.
You were uneducated, a beginner in the particular field that you were researching. Then you came to the point where you understood it.
You knew the ins and outs of this area enough to be able to understand what it was that you needed. This knowledge gave you the ability to search out an offering that provided exactly what you were seeking.
Content Solves Users’ Problems
Let’s recap this from a content perspective. First, you looked for informational content. Perhaps this included definitions and explanations of the information that you needed.
Next, you began to look for options within that field. You wanted problem solvers who could help you fix your issue. Perhaps your resources came in the form of case studies and product comparisons.
Think about it. There is a big difference between people searching for “how to build a website,” “should I use WordPress or Squarespace,” and “how to choose a web developer.”
The intentions behind these search queries are completely different and are based on the buyers’ journeys. Because of these different motivations, Google pulls up different SERPs despite all these queries falling into the same category.
In reality, they aren’t similar queries. When we look at the situation from a granular perspective, the searchers are seeking completely different information.
As a result, you must supply separate pieces of content that cater to these unique “wants.” You need different “levels” of content within your content marketing plan. Remember the content funnel above?
Less About Numbers, More About Value
If you are helping customers along their journeys toward buying a product, you’re winning. Doing so isn’t easy of course.
Often, it’s difficult to see the viewpoint of customers:
- For what are they actively searching?
- What do they want?
- What do they search for before buying something?
- How do the answers to these questions fit into what you have to offer?
These are some difficult, but necessary, questions to ask. Regardless, it’s important to be cognizant of customer intent. After all, it is the customer intent that guides your content strategy.
Ultimately, if you can align your content with the buying process, you’re creating a frictionless content marketing strategy that helps both customers and yourself.
Best of luck!
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