Speed is a competitive advantage. Usually, the organization that can execute the fastest gains a competitive edge. However, content marketing is a complex strategy to execute and it’s easy to overlook important elements.
Here are 7 areas where it pays to go slow now so that you can fast later:
Understanding Your Audience’s Needs
All of your content should help your prospective buyer solve a problem. Your content publishers should have a clear description of to whom they are speaking, what motivates their audience, and the best way to get a message in front of prospects. We capture this information through “Buyer Personas” and train our content team to ask –
“Will this content solve a valuable problem for our buyer?”
Many businesses race through this research opting for high-level demographic information versus in-depth buyer personae. In the end, they discover they’ve invested thousands of dollars in irrelevant content. Avoid this mistake by slowing down and creating a detailed buyer persona.
Unique, Urgent, and Valuable Content Topics
Your audience is drowning in “me-too” content. Publishing and repurposing the same basic information isn’t going to work. Your content needs to demand attention. That’s why deliberate content editorial planning is important.
Our team asks three questions before publishing:
- Is this content unique? We want to publish information that hasn’t been worn out by competitors.
- Is this content urgent? Your content needs to address a problem that needs an immediate solution. The goal is to get your prospect to bookmark your link, click your contact link and call you. You’ll uncover these urgent buyer problems through your buyer persona research.
- Is this content valuable? Value depends on your buyer’s situation. For B2C businesses, consumers value health, wealth, and beauty. B2B buyers value revenue creation, cost savings, and prestige. Great content works because it helps its readers achieve the goals that are valuable to them.
Try this, go to your best-performing blog post. Does it have a specific offer designed to get the reader’s email address for follow-up? We call this a lead magnet (or content upgrade). Think of them as bonus content. Lead magnets are talented email list builders but they take time to create. Slowing down to create them is worth the investment.
Along with Lead Magnets, marketing leaders rely on these tools:
- Facebook Custom Audiences: Facebook allows you to create an audience of people who visited your site. You can then target advertising to this audience of visitors, dramatically improving conversions and ROI.
- Update notifications via email or desktop notifications: You may have seen sites are asking if you want to subscribe via desktop notifications. We do it also. Instead of email, you can be notified with a quick desktop alert when we publish a new article. Desktop notifications have doubled our conversion rate. We’ve seen the same or better results for clients.
What if I told you that you had the opportunity to race a car in the Daytona 500, but you had to do it in a Ford Focus?
Right, there’s no way you can win. The same goes for writing articles and landing pages. Headlines STILL mean a lot. Ignoring them or using the first headline that comes to mind will torpedo your results. Please don’t roll your eyes and assume you “know this already.” You don’t unless you are brainstorming 10 headlines per article. You must try to use the best headline possible for every piece of content you publish.
Start improving your headlines here.
Content Marketing is a conversion-focused discipline. Every tactic needs to result in a meaningful conversion, such as a sign-up or sell. The process starts with advertising that directs visitors to a website. There they convert usually via a landing page.
First, make sure you have landing pages. Don’t ever send an advertising-generated visitor to a homepage, send them to a custom landing page.
Spend time getting headlines, benefit lists, and call-to-action variables right.
Face it, SEO for me is like flossing, you need to do it to prevent pain down the road. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring SEO. For most businesses, Google is the #1 source of new visitors. It’s smart marketing to do the basics.
There is still a healthy debate around the efficacy of SEO experts. Over time, Google has evolved into an excellent identifier of quality content. Sites with relevant content attract visitors and Google will find and reward these sites with first-page rankings. Which means, the SEO voodoo tactics of years past aren’t essential.
You can increase your chances of search engine success by reviewing your entire site to make sure each page clearly explains its purpose. Each page should do an excellent job of giving visitors exactly what they expect to see. Last, configure each page to be mobile friendly, secured via SSL, and fast. Yes, SEO is complex but you can get the basics done without derailing your marketing plan for 6 months.
At Pushing Social, we respect numbers. One of our principles is to plan based on what’s real. Opinion and instinct are helpful, but numbers, when used correctly, offer an accurate view of reality.
It’s easy to get fooled by the better speaker, the fancier PowerPoint, or the most senior executive in the room. For example, for years, I listened to high-powered marketers denounce pop-ups. Never mind the fact that in over 10 years, they’ve had a 99% success rate. The numbers didn’t lie. You can hate pop-ups, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work.
Take the time to pull the numbers that accurately reflect the success of your marketing program. For most clients, I boil this down to one metric – conversions (i.e. how many people are doing what I want them to do). I suspect that conversions work for you too. Once you’ve identified the number, track it daily until you can predict what it’s going to be before the day starts. Include the number in every status meeting. Tie compensation to the number. Name the company dog after the number. You get the point.
Slow down and confirm the following:
- Do you have access to your website, blog, and social media tracking data?
- Are you receiving a weekly report showing your number along with week/week, month/month, and year/year comparisons?
- Do you understand the factors that drive your number? For example, the layout landing pages have a direct impact on conversions percentages.
- Does everyone in your organization or team understand how to evaluate their performance based on the number?
It’s fair to think that we are a bit fanatical about accurate, transparent, and fair performance evaluation. We are because it’s the difference between success and failure.
Where To Start
We recommend starting with creating or refining your buyer persona. Your prospective customer’s needs will drive each element of your content strategy. Take your time. The results are worth it.