Thoughts + News
5 Content Marketing Strategy Tips to Kick Start Results [Video]
There’s a Catch-22 with successful content marketing. The problem is that it needs to be interesting enough to get you a lot of awareness. People need to find it really funny or entertaining or informative or whatever to be able to pay attention to it. Your content at the same time needs to be informative enough and it needs to tie in with whatever you do so that it ultimately leads people to your business objectives. So we’re not just creating content here for a ton of awareness, for a ton of traffic. But at the end of the day, we’re trying to move people from that content into our products, into our services.
Here’s an image for your reference:
Here is the in-depth blog post: Case Study: 5 Steps to Create a Killer Content Marketing Strategy
And here’s a free email course on content marketing strategy.
Video Transcription for “Content Marketing Strategy Tips”
We have a simple five-step framework that I’ll walk through real fast to help you make sense of all of this and to figure out how do you make something that’s broad enough to get a lot of attention and at the same time, targeted enough to really support your business goals.
The first step, before anything, like in most things we do in marketing, is to figure out specifically what the primary problems with your customer personas. What are the things they’re struggling with? Typically you’ll find, even if you ask them this, you’ll get a symptom, you’ll get a pain point, and you want to dig deeper and rattle that a little bit and focus in on what those things are. The other thing you should be aware of here is that assuming you have at least two or three personas for your company which you probably should have at least that as a minimum, they’re going to have different problems and obstacles and they’re going to want to solve those in different ways.
So for example at Codeless Interactive, we deal mostly with high-level marketing people with larger companies or directly with business owners but that they might be smaller companies. So those two people are going to have vast of different problems they’re trying to struggle with. The way that they eventually want to solve these things, the way you want to position our products and services, the way we want to talk about our products and services and our solutions in our content is going to be vastly different.
The second point here is to figure out, once you know people’s problems, once you know these people’s obstacles and pain points they’re dealing with, what are the results and outcomes of your products and services? You’ll notice here, they are not the same features. That’s because in most cases, you’re going to want to steer clear of heavily emphasizing features on your website, on landing pages, on emails or whatever. Unless you’re selling directly to technical people, engineering teams, developers, really early adopters in technology, in most cases, they’re not going to care so much about features.
So what I like to do is figure out. I setup a simple, you can use a whiteboard, you can use any kind of Google doc or anything else to collaborate with other people. But I’d like to say, “Okay, how can I turn this feature into a benefit? So this is a little more concrete, a little more tangible. How can we turn this into an outcome or end result, and then what is an example of that?
So for example, a lot of times on company websites, you’ll see, “We save our customer’s money,” or, “We make them more money.” At the end of the day, those are really two of the primary things we’re dealing with other businesses. But how do you do that? What’s the percentage of money you save for them? What’s the dollar amount you save for them? What is the real specific claim? What’s the example you can give them whether it’s on a case study or some kind of study or somewhere else? How specifically do you help people? So get really, really specific on these examples. And again, obviously, this is going to tie back into number one. So if we’re not talking to our customers, if we don’t know any of this information, so that’s where we need to start.
The second part is brainstorming or messaging categories and structure. Once we have problems and pain points, remember, we start to tie into those obstacles and your solutions. When you figure out, it’s “Okay, how are we going to logically lay out a few different categories and then some messaging preferences for each person?” For example, let’s say in this case that we are trying to save people money or make them more money. So how are we going to do that? In this case, the example I gave you earlier was, let’s say, a CMO and a business owner. So you might have two or three categories for each one that your products or services fit within that. This will help setup your categories.
So here, we have the primary persona, then we will have the messaging. Then over here, we will have the categories. You could do this in a simple spreadsheet, and again, brainstorm with other people and figure out what are the unique things we can come up with our messaging. Where does this come from and where did these categories, this part come from? Typically, it comes from the two or three or four really unique claims you can make about your products or services. So although we want to focus on examples and outcomes, to come up with messaging and categories, we should take a look back at our features and benefits and we should figure out based on our market positioning and other competitors’ alternatives how are we lining up on each one. Are any of these claims unique? If some of these claims are unique, let’s put that in our messaging document and we could start working that into all new content, all new website, plug articles, emails, everything.
The fourth step is to manage the creation process of symptoms. This is really important especially when you have more than two or three or four people involved in creating content for you especially if you’re working with the outside team or you’re highly bring on new people to help you with content creation. You have to have some systems to manage your entire process, and there’s a few different ways you could do this. I recommend some really basic tools, again, like Google Docs. You can use Trello, you can use Basecamp, any type of simple tool like that will help you out, and the important part is to figure out your workflow. So what are your ideas, for example? What are work in progress? What’s being edited and then published?
So figuring out your workflow where you can have a place to write down ideas, these ideas come from. Here, these ideas might come from keyword opportunities. These ideas might come from new markets you’re trying to move into. What documents are work in progress and whose responsibility are those? When do you want them to go to the editing phase? Editing could include not just editing text on the document but also the images, visuals. It could include SEO at this point, and then how and when is it going to be published?
One thing that you also might want to think about after publishing, because if you just publish content, no one is going to hear about it. So what is your strategy that you might want to add to your workflow here of how you’re going to promote it? Are you going to advertise it? Are you going to reach out to people and share it with them? Are you going to send it to your own email newsletter? You want to come up with a mix of tactics that we talked about in prior videos, that earned, owned and paid model. How can you come up with tactics on each one of those things to then promote your content after publishing it? Again, if you’re managing a team, it’s really important to have some kind of system to help you manage all these different steps and then to identify who’s going to be responsible for promotion versus getting through the work in progress.
Finally, we want to have a uniform content template to follow. This is really important because even if we have multiple people writing for us, these people might be all over the world, they might know nothing about our business, or we really want all the content on our website, all the messaging that we’re putting out there to be the same. We want the tone the same. We want the style to be the same. We really want one unique voice, more or less, even if you have different writers and there’s these little difference in styles. But more or less, you want the same voice for all of your stuff. So how are you going to do that?
We have a document that we use that’s called “How to Create an Article Template.” It goes into detail about how we like our articles to look, to feel, to sound, and then some real specifics on how should you use copyrighting, how you should use bullets, how should you write a title. So in any case, you mostly have your title, you have your hook at the beginning that gets people into it, you have your PAS, and then you have some type of conclusion.
So in your article templates that you would put together for uniform content template here, what we want to see is how do you like titles written. Do you want to focus on positive things? Do you want to focus on negative messaging? Do you want to focus on customer case studies? Do you want to pose titles in the form of question? Do you like really long titles? Once the overall goal or objective with that, the hook, how are you going to get people into the article. Once they read the title, once they come across that title in their Twitter stream or in their email subject line, how are you going to get them into this next step?
With our article template, for example, we have three or four identifies ways here that people can fall back on to use whether it’s an anecdote like an interesting story or whether it’s some interesting stuff. PAS is Problem-Agitate-Solution. So what we want to do is focus on the problems and the pain points that we’ve already discussed. But we want to agitate those things before going in to solve it. The main reason is because most people that are going to read your blog probably don’t have that awareness yet. They don’t think they have a problem here. So by agitating the problem in your content, you’ll be able to bring that to the forefront and you’re able to help people identify with it before going into the solution. Then the solution will be a bigger payoff and it will mean more to them.
Finally, the conclusion. How are we going to wrap up an article? Do you want to summarize the main points? Do you want to provide a takeaway? Do you want to put a call-to-action? Figuring out all those things ahead of time and having some kind of uniform document or content template to be able to go over with or hand to outside writers will help keep all this content uniform, it will keep all of it very streamlined. If you are able to follow the other four steps here, then you should be able to turn out content that does the impossible task of being both entertaining and getting attention while also at the same time serving your business.