4 Stages to the best content process include Plan, Create, Distribute and Analyze.
In this blog, we’ll explore the first stage of creating awesome content by PLANNING. Your plan should be defined by three things: purpose, format and topic.
The first step in your content plan is to think about your goals and how you’ll use content to reach these goals. Is the purpose to get more people to your site or create more leads?
Content offers are gated by a landing page or behind a form. The purpose is to convert visitors into leads. Blog posts and website content is open to anyone on the Internet. The purpose of these pieces of content is to attract people to your website.
Content formats are plenty. Examples are case studies, videos, eBooks, templates and webinars. The difference between these formats is slight. You can tell your story using any of them. Select a format based on how much time you have to create it, how much information you have to present and who you’re creating content for.
Picking the best format for your content is all about your personas because the information contained in the content helps your prospects reach their goals, whereas the design makes it easy for them to get and digest. If your persona is a visual learner, shoot for a video. If you know they read blogs on a regular basis, concentrate on an insightful series of posts. Or if you have a particularly juicy piece of content, consider it living behind a form so you can gather prospect details in exchange for a download.
Now, figure out the right content topics. This is often the most difficult piece of the puzzle. What should you write about? To easily come up with the best topics for your content, once again refer back to your buyer personas (who you’re trying to attract, convert, close and entertain = your ideal customer). And take note of the Buyer’s Journey (what content is the most interesting and helpful based on the active research process people go through leading up to making a purchase - awareness, consideration and decision). These are the two keys to developing awesome content strategy.
Great content relies on relevant information our personas want to receive, share and come back for. Ways in which to identify content that matters includes keyword research (what you want to rank for), industry news, and persona challenges. When we gain a better understanding of who are readers are, you can create the right content that specifically suits their needs.
This automatically makes your content solution-based, not product-based. You should strive to educate your audience and solve their problems. This means, your content shouldn’t be focused on your business or product, but instead your potential customers including the challenges they face and answers to their questions.
For example, if your content solves a problem it belongs in the awareness stage. If you’re offering a solution, that’s part of the consideration stage. If you’re sharing more details on a product or service, you’ve entered the decision stage. View the below chart for more information on what type of content is best for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
Keep in mind a research report won’t always fit into the awareness stage. You determine where a piece of content fits into the Buyer’s Journey based on the topic, not the format. In the awareness stage customers might not even know they have a problem, the consideration stage they might not have known a solution exist, and in the decision stage you’ll now be presenting prospects with resources about your products so they can choose what’s right for them.
To help keep all of this organize, I suggest using a Concepting Worksheet. Here’s a sample.