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Content marketing is on the rise. But according to Content Marketing Institute’s annual trend report (which surveyed more than 5,000 industry professionals), the majority of marketers say that their content marketing strategies haven’t been proven effective for their brand. Sure, the reasons why may differ, but the solution is simple.
The goal of content marketing is always the same: to produce relevant content that aligns with the buyer’s journey. The more effective brands always do these two things:
(1) Identify their audience and
(2) Produce relevant content for their audience.
Mining your search data for insight into your audience couldn’t be an easier or more vital step.
1. Learn your Audience’s Language and Demands
Who is your audience? Where are they? How do they search? If you can’t answer these questions, every piece of content you produce will be a gamble. Use search as a barometer for your audience: identify the terms that bring people to your site, determine which terms your competitors own, and see which terms are open to take advantage of.
We once worked with a major retailer who was optimizing their products under the term, “children’s apparel.” But, with this term, they were barely touching their potential audience. If you have kids, have you ever searched for “children’s apparel”? Of course not! You search for “kids clothes/boys clothes/girls clothes.” Or, better yet, even more specifically down to “back to school clothes for boys.”
Using the “children’s apparel” example, you discover that there’s more volume around “boys clothing” than any other specific type of children’s apparel; this is something you can’t learn by looking solely at your own sales data because that would only reflect your most popular product, as opposed to the product people are more interested in learning about. The next step is to drill a little deeper and see which term related to “boys clothing” will yield the biggest audience.
2. Meet your Audience Along the Customer Journey
Now that you know your audience, it’s time to tailor content for each step of the customer’s journey. Roughly speaking, we can tell by looking at search queries that the journey ranges from “information gathering” to “seeking options” to “making the purchase.” From a content production standpoint that means you’ll need to write a lot of different material in order to cover all buyer’s steps.
For example, the children’s apparel retailer would have to create blog posts that explore different boys’ styles and outfit inspirations, especially if most readers are “information gathering.” For people further along in the buyer’s journey who know they want to purchase, you’ll want to showcase discounted items, upcoming sales, and even visual content like a video or commercial featuring your products.
Ultimately, success is about building and updating a library of content that meets the needs of every type of consumer through every phase of their journey. But as you build out that library, measure each piece of content against your business goals. If you do that, you can make sure that you’re properly allocating resources and getting the most bang for your content marketing buck.