In recent years, content marketing has become a hot topic as marketers use content to attract and engage website visitors. However, many companies often emphasise creating content without developing a parallel plan on how to use that content to support their marketing strategies.
Research company SiriusDecisions recently surveyed chief marketing officers about their biggest challenges. Respondents expressed a common concern regarding how to develop content that is relevant to customers throughout the entire decision-making process.
Barbie Mattie, Senior Research Director for SiriusDecisions, said that there is a persistent problem with aligning content with marketing strategy. “Companies still have the mindset that they want to do product launches and push their products. They want to sell how they want to sell, and they don’t want to change the focus, addressing how the buyers want to buy. So, I think that is the overarching problem. And because they can’t solve that massive shift to audience-centricity, lack of aligning the content to the buyers’ needs is an output of that.”
Mattie suggested a five-step approach to refocus content creation:
- Begin with the customers. Gain a better understanding of who the customers are, what their major concerns are and how they make a buying decision.
- Create a plan to connect. Find the contact points that are most influential to customers at each stage of their decision-making process. Document how they obtain the information that influences their buying decisions. For example, do they explore websites, read online articles, watch TV, read customer reviews or watch videos? Prioritise these points as the basis of the marketing strategy.
- Develop a plan for content. After naming the key contact points, plan the necessary content to help customers progress through each stage of the decision-making process.
- Create engaging, relevant content. After completing the first three steps, create the content. This produces a focused content marketing plan rather than a random one.
- Measure the content’s impact. The goal is to produce effective content, so develop feedback loops to measure how the content is engaging customers. If needed, change the content to improve the results of marketing efforts.