Why You Need a Strategy for Your Content Marketing
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about why content marketing is important. It seems many businesses have embraced this idea and are now producing content on a regular basis. But there is often no overall content marketing strategy. Instead there is a schedule and a few topics to cover and little else.
The idea behind content marketing is not about providing a quick read to relieve boredom. It’s all about engagement. It’s about getting the reader to do something with the information provided.
That action could be further research. It could be requesting a download that you have available. Phoning to find out more. Thinking about what they need to consider when buying. And then seeking out more information. The best result is an action that moves the reader along the journey to becoming your customer.
But it needs to be a natural progression and not forced. If you’re researching what headphones to get perhaps you’ll read an article about the latest Beats headphones. A follow on from that could be a download for a checklist of the key attributes to consider when purchasing. Or it could be an online quiz that guides the reader to the best headphones for what they need. It could take into account price, usage, size, availability.
Just putting out any content in the name of doing content marketing is not going to yield the kind of results that justifies the effort involved. And it won’t be a long term sustainable strategy that continues to deliver qualified leads to your website.
Your content strategy should be about moving your prospects from a cold to sold. From never having heard of you, to entering their details to learn more and then trusting you enough to buy.
The aim of each piece of content is to start them on the journey of getting to know you better. It’s about producing content that engages and starts a real or virtual conversation. This conversation further develops the fledgling relationship that was started when they read an article. It could be where they:
- pick up the phone
- make a booking to find out more
- send an email
- reach out on social media
- visit your website and read more articles
- click on a download
- enter an email address to receive an ebook or report
Google did a study a few years back called ZMOT or Zero Moment of Truth. This refers to the way that consumers have changed. The first moment of truth used to be the consumer standing in front of a row of products and trying to decide what to buy. The second moment of truth is after buying a product. Would they tell others (friends, family, colleagues) about the product?
The Zero Moment of Truth refers to the research that consumers now do before they are ready to make a buying decision. It’s the stage between the stimulus or need and the decision of what to buy. This applies to significant decisions but can sometimes apply to smaller decisions too. For example, what type of wine is best with the lamb roast they are serving at a dinner party next week. Do they have a trusted resource they go to and place an order? Or is a search to find information?
In Google’s study they emphasised the importance of many points of contact with a potential customer across different locations over several hours. They came up with a formula referred to as 7/11/4 – 7 hours of content, 11 touch points across 4 locations.
7 hours of content doesn’t mean you have to give your prospects an encyclopaedic sized tome to read. It’s cumulative. It could be a phone call, email sequence with links to articles and videos, workshop or meeting. Usually it’s a collection of a few different options where you nurture your prospects along and let them get to know you.
11 touchpoints is a measure of the number of times you’ve interacted with your prospect. This could be an email signup, web download, text confirmation, a couple of phone calls.
The locations refer to the delivery of those content and touch points. They could be email, phone, website, different social media platforms, a showroom or meeting.
The aim of content marketing then is to draw your prospective visitors into spending time to get to know you. To want to continue on the journey to spend 7 hours consuming your content across 4 locations and having 11 interactions. Content marketing is that crucial first step. It needs to be engaging enough for them to do something about it. How does your content marketing strategy measure up?
Jill Brennan is a marketing consultant, mentor and the founder of Harbren Marketing. She has been in the small business trenches for around 20 years and during that time has worked in, with and for small companies. She also works as a Mentor for the QLD Government, has written a book on marketing (Get Smarter Marketing) and regularly does interviews for podcasts and media.