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Content marketing should always be focused on the customer journey, with content developed for a particular person and an explicit reason. Here are six steps to help you navigate your audience throughout the customer journey, building brand advocates along the way.
1. Define Content Marketing Target Personas
Every content marketer needs to know who they are talking to or writing for before launching a content marketing program. Because content follows a longer format than advertising, content marketers need to thoroughly understand the mindset of their audience and what the audience needs to see or read to become engaged, invested and interested in learning more.
2. Develop a Custom Content Strategy for Each Persona at Each Stage of the Customer Journey
Content marketers should identify the message and information needed to encourage movement from each stage of the funnel to the next. Because there are multiple personas and multiple stages, this strategy can become very detailed.
3. Curate Existing Content
Before beginning to develop new content, catalog and curate content you already have. Some content will suffice as is, while most will need to be refined to maximize SEO and engagement value. But those refinements can happen much quicker than starting from scratch.
4. Identify & Create Missing Content
Once you know what content you have, it should be easy to outline a list of content gaps. Prioritize that content and get to work writing.
5. Create Content Versions
Different people like to digest content in varying formats. That’s why many effective content marketers publish in a long list of formats, including blog posts, videos, webinars, podcasts, polls, events, whitepapers, interviews, how-to guides, demonstrations, news articles, update briefings, testimonials, press releases and more. Of course, resource allocation plays a prominent role in what is achievable.
6. Strategically Optimize Content Distribution
One of the most critical aspects of a modern content marketing strategy is distribution, but optimization of that distribution can be even more important. Amplification from social media posts, backlinks and email can be effective ways of driving organic traffic to content. Paid advertising can also work well to promote content and drive conversions. Look at each piece of content from a search and consumer intent perspective, and work to build a system that allows audiences to discover content when researching topics across multiple channels. The more natural the content delivery feels to the recipient, the better it may be received.
Content marketing can be an incredibly powerful method of engaging audiences early in the customer journey and engaging them through to conversion and beyond. Efficient content marketing plans the impact of each piece developed. Effective content marketing provides value to the audience while delivering marketing results for the brand.