Now, basic as this may sound, every story, however well narrated, cannot achieve everything in the same measure. Some create empathy and awareness for homeless children while others create an immediate, pressing need to buy, share, or talk about a great new air purifier.
More often than not, they just put you to sleep!
It is here that content marketing carries a weightier burden than its loftier cousin, the story teller. Funded solely with an expectation of a clear and quantifiable ROI, content needs to deliver results.
The more sophisticated marketers today map their entire content strategy and output to the consecutive stages of the buy cycle – Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Purchase, etc. with complex drip campaigns created solely with the intention of helping consumers down the aisle where the cashier awaits, diamond ring in hand, and with the mouth already PUCKERED in an anticipatory kiss.
Check out some examples of how REI overturned the traditional model to create a highly successful content marketing campaign.
While it is absolutely essential to map out your entire customer journey from “Who are you?” to “Let’s get married,”it is helpful to consider where you need a story the MOST and start there.
But of late, there is increasing evidence to show that not only is it no longer necessary to map content for all stages of the buy cycle. It can be more successful to touch base where your story is the strongest. You could move directly to purchase with a shopping guide with reviews or post purchase with a maintenance manual with helpful tips on using a gadget. You could even target a consumer in between purchases by sharing useful information. There is no standard rule book.
What do you believe and understand to be the customer pain point, real concern or area of interest (in the context of your product or service, of course)?
Is it choosing the product or installing it?
Is it convincing your mom or convincing the girl?
Once you solve this, the most optimal point of entry – one or multiple along with possible storylines, will reveal itself. However it is important to define the “expected consumer response” too.
There is no glory in hitting a bulls-eye if that is not what you were aiming for.
Understanding the role that your content plays in the buy cycle helps clarify the possible goal that you can measure your efforts against.
I’ve come across several charts and tables that suggested the best kind of content for a particular goal, but I think it is more about the type of promotion and gateways you use. Let’s contrast building AWARENESS and LEAD generation, two very different marketing goals and the recommended difference in content approaches.
Here you are best served showing content and with it your knowledge, expertise, and great hair upfront with no expectation except that it gets you noticed. No PESKY pop ups asking for an email or embedded links trying to take you to another party. Short haul content like an elegant infographic or a blog does well here and most of your efforts should center around getting seen, be it organic (a casual meeting in the hall) or paid (signing up for a class because she takes it).
Leads require active customer interest and participation in the sense that not only does the user have the expectation of a REWARD (a great e-book, informative email, or a call for a date) but also an interest and preference for your wares. You make a promise in exchange for that information and you then live up to that trust by making sure that you DELIVER. I believe you have to have absolutely great, standout content like a new tool available for free trial or a trend report with facts and figures or a solution for their stated problem before you ask for contact information. You don’t want to be that guy who asks for a number and then never calls back!
You have to treat all customer marketing interactions like you would do in real life.
Would you walk up to a complete stranger and ask for his number? Then why expect that in business? You can, however, take the time to introduce yourself, explore common areas of interest, and offer to share something of value at a later time and date. The time a person spends talking IS the best measure of your progress and NOT whether they paid for your dinner.
This article is an excerpt from the book “Content Marketing vs Marketing – A Traditional Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing in 2018“. Get Your Free Copy Today!