By now modern marketers should know the power of content. Content is everything. Producing unique and innovative content is a vital piece of the marketing pie. So if content is king, how do you become the King of Content? It does not happen overnight. It’s a process. A process that is based largely on “trial and error”. To create meaningful content, you must start by answering the following questions:
What are your customers saying about you? Time to put fear aside and allow customers to share their unedited opinions. By allowing them to speak out, you unlock the answers to questions, such as: What are they trying to achieve by buying the product? What did they like about it? What didn't they like? Good or bad, this is how you learn the strengths and benefits that you should emphasize when building your content. Plus, your existing customers become your best sales people with the lowest cost of sale. Combined with a great referral program this type of content is like a sales force that works for free 24/7.
What content is working? Your content will never be perfect, and that's fine. However, you must get feedback on it to know what to change and what to improve. This is why you must have a dedicated landing page for each piece of content. Make every page an A/B test. Always have an alternative to try out. What works best? What sticks? Measure your numbers often and adjust your content accordingly.
With an honest assessment of the above (the truth may hurt, but is far outweighed by the insight gained), it’s time to take your content to the next level.
NOW, WOW, HOW
When writing relevant content, stay focused on what I call the ‘Now, Wow, How” mindset.
NOW: The buyer’s journey has changed. People are using the web to educate themselves on their options long before making a purchase. Insert yourself into the customer’s buying lifecycle at a pivotal decision making moment. If a customer is seeking the type of product or service you provide, think of where and how they would seek information on that choice. What are people typing into their browser to get answers?
WOW: If you found the right NOW moment, this is the headline that grabs them. The hook that pulls them in. The appeal that gets them to click, enter a website, give an e-mail address, or sign up for a newsletter.
HOW: You must be ready with answers to the questions the customers are asking. The NOW is where you found them on the buyer’s journey in the first place, the WOW brought them to you, and the HOW delivers. This is the information that gives the buyer the confidence to choose you.
The best way to understand this concept is to experiment on yourself. Pay attention to how you search and surf. What words do you type into the engine? What do you look for that makes you click? What makes you frustrated and unlike
ly to click or scroll? Carefully observing your own behavior can be the best tool to improve your content.
Every Piece of Content is a Campaign
Keep in mind that each piece of content is a complete mini-marketing campaign. Therefore, make everything published as actionable as possible by always including the following Five Components (a/k/a common sense rules that sadly aren’t that common):
- Headline. You always need a headline, something that grabs people’s attention, whether it’s the title of the blog post or the name of the web page. Make sure the main idea can be grasped in seconds by the core audience.
- Benefits. If the headline hooks them in, the next thing they want to know is "Why should I stay?" Your content must outline the benefits. However, they won’t mean much coming from you. You’re just trying to sell something. Benefits must be validated and credible.
- Proof. This is your confirmation of benefits. Proof can be a simple quote, a customer case study, a video testimonial, or actual data. For obvious reasons, an outside voice gives your content the credibility it needs to survive.
- Offer. After you've figured out the credible way to communicate the benefits, you need to have an offer. An offer doesn’t necessarily mean a discount or a promotion. It could simply be the content itself. For example, an ‘offer’ could be an answer to their question, a new experience, or a different perspective.
- Call to Action. After your audience is convinced that your offer is legit, how do they go forward? You need a call to action. It could be a document to download, an event to sign up for, or a product/service. When they click on the call to action, they are led to the next experience (typically a landing page - the place where you fulfill on your promise).
Now that you know approximately what works, what doesn't, and are focused on the ‘Now, Wow, How’: Remember it's not about you, it's about your customers. Don’t forget to tailor the content to what your customers value. Content should never be about the product or company, it should be about customers and their needs. The greatest content is the content that provides new insight, a new idea, or a new interesting solution to a problem. Stick to that, and you’ll convert curious visitors to happy customers again and again.
Stijn Hendrikse has extensive experience with Technology, Cloud & Saas, Startups, Mid-Size & F500, Professional Services, Channel and Digital Marketing. You can call him at 425.442.6441 or email him at SHendrikse@ChiefOutsiders.com.