Thanks to its wide reach and low per-lead cost, content marketing is quickly gaining in popularity among B2B and B2C companies of all sizes. Marketing Sherpa said in a 2013 report that content creation is ranked as the single most effective SEO technique. And there’s no doubt consumers respond to good content—various studies have shown people have a more favorable impression of a company that provides good, relevant content.
Smart organizations realize the value in content creation. But if your content marketing strategy only includes plans for content topics and channels, you may be forgetting the all-important third ‘c’: context. Context encompasses a number of elements that should be considered as part of your strategy, such as what stage in the funnel does the content speak to, how people are likely to consume content in a particular channel and differing preferences for format type.
It’s all about reaching potential customers in the ways they want to be reached. And making content available in the channels they prefer. Certain people gravitate toward specific types of content. Some people prefer to find and bookmark content rather than clutter their inbox. Or they may be on-the-go all the time, and prefer to get all their information via emails and Tweets on their mobile devices. Or, for people who think visually, infographics may resonate far more clearly than an article would.
So how can you add more context to your content? Here are a few simple tips that will help you strengthen your relationships, reach a broader audience and create that all-important conversation that is required for success.
Many companies have a tendency to create content with a narrow focus. Say you decided to create a white paper about a particular topic. You promote it through the usual channels—email, Twitter, LinkedIn, maybe Facebook. And then…that’s it. You’ve done about all you can with it for the time being, and you’ve only reached those leads who prefer to read white papers.
But take a step back for a moment and consider your options. In your paper, you have several pages of quality information that many people will find valuable. You can transform this content into other formats that speak to different audience segments and are optimized for different devices. Think about infographics, SlideShare presentations, video series—each of these formats represents a fresh way to connect with an audience in a new context.
Once you see the possibilities for a multi-channel approach, you can create a comprehensive content rollout plan for each new topic, targeting the channels and formats that make sense to your audience and get the best results.
When creating funnel content, it’s essential to consider the unique stages of the buying cycle. Merely pushing out product content along the way is sure to cost you a few leads, courtesy of the lack of relevancy and understanding of what their informational needs are at the different stage of their buying cycle. The deeper a lead or prospect goes in your funnel, the deeper the content needs.
For example, a brand-new lead who knows little to nothing about your company won’t benefit from a heavy sales pitch with lots of detailed product information; instead, ease them in with short, bite-sized piece of content like a quick video, visually appealing infographic or straightforward testimonial. Once they’ve had the chance to learn about your company, you can increase the complexity of content with case studies, white papers and other in-depth information.
A lot of companies tend to focus their content on inbound marketing efforts, trying to attract and convert new leads and prospects. But don’t forget about your customers, they can be your biggest cheerleaders at virtually no cost to you. Consider these statistics from Nielsen:
Make sure to include customers as part of your content strategy. Create content that’s consumable, valuable and, above all easily shareable, and let them find some new customers for you.
Always remember that content is less about what you want to say and more about what your potential customers want to know, as well as how they want to learn about it. Contextualize your content by broadening your media types and addressing pain points along the way, and you’ll find more and more leads who want to know even more about what you have to offer.
John Meuhling is Marketing Services Manager for LeadMD. With more than 15 years of experience in marketing automation and targeting, Meuhling is an expert in lead generation and analytics-driven marketing strategy.