Customer persona. Consumer buying cycle. Keyword research. Optimize. Socialize. Analytics. Metrics.
The world of content marketing is full of buzzwords. To digital marketing luddites, it often feels like a completely alien language!
How can we simplify the processes involved in content marketing?
Enter the Five Hs of Content Marketing.
Before anything else, you need to narrow down on your specific content marketing niches and targets. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are your targeted customers? Can we paint a profile of how they are like. This is where we develop Customer Personas for either consumers (B2C) or business clients (ie B2B).
- What are the likely keywords or cluster of keywords which they will use? Here, Keyword Research comes in handy, using a variety of tools like Google Trends, Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Keyword Tool and others.
- What are your targeted customers talking about on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs? Social media monitoring tools like Buzz Sumo, Social Bakers, and Social Mention come into play here.
- How will your content be served? In other words, what Online and Offline Platforms which you will be using? Generally, it is highly recommended that a website or blog be used as the home-base for your content marketing efforts. Having said that, a printed newsletter or magazine could also be an excellent platform for your content.
After you’ve narrowed down these parameters, we can proceed to actual content creation.
Offer real solutions, genuine answers, and useful tips. Tailor your content to be as specific as possible to the needs, wants or desires of your targeted customers, on the platforms that they are most likely to be using.
Go through the following checklist:
- Monitor recent online sentiments and searches through keyword research and social media monitoring. Zoom in to your specific industry or niche.
- Create a list of 15 to 20 of the most likely issues that your targeted customers will be concerned about. Build them into specific questions.
- Create content that specifically answers those questions. These should be detailed enough to be useful, searchable (with targeted keywords) yet easy to read and understand.
- Add a little dash of fun. A little humour doesn’t hurt anyone. Make it engaging and entertaining!
- Depending on your resources, repurpose your content for different platforms. In certain instances (eg a step by step guide to debugging your WordPress website), videos or infographics may work better than pure text alone.
In a crowded and cluttered media landscape, having helpful, entertaining content isn’t enough. You need to “market your marketing” (ala Jay Baer in Youtility). Here, there are several strategies to consider:
- Develop a social media marketing plan detailing how you intend to promote and market your content.
- Build communities on social media platforms. Engage, interact, and respond to your followers as often as you can.
- Grow your online communities organically through participating in forums, blogs, Facebook pages, Google+ groups and other communities. Be authentic in sharing your views. Don’t be a spam bot!
- Invest in targeted online advertising to grab eyeballs to your content. Popular ones include Facebook advertising (sponsored posts), Google Adwords, banner advertising, and sponsored content on targeted channels where your potential customers would hang out.
- Forge relationships with like-minded partners and offer to do some guest posts (and vice versa).
Having a tonne of people read your content or follow you on social media isn’t enough. You need to deepen the engagement so that your content marketing eventually leads to a sale. In other words, you need to monetize your content marketing.
A good way to visualize this is via the content marketing funnel (courtesy of Revenue Inbound):
To turn visitors into leads, leads into prospects, and prospects into customers, do the following:
- Offer different tiers of content to visitors, email subscribers, and paying customers. The value of the content you provide would increase depending on the commitment levels made by your visitors, subscribers or members.
- Ensure that some of your most valuable content is gated – ie visitors have to sign up with their emails to gain access to them.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale every once in a while (like perhaps 20% of the time). Before doing that, however, ensure that you’ve already provided value to your community.
- Help your most ardent customers to be your advocates. Provide them with tools and incentives to recommend their friends to sign up for your email newsletter, “like” your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter and Instagram. Make it a game!
Last, but not certainly not least, improve and sharpen your content marketing each and every day. As the saying goes, content marketing is a journey, not a destination.
Here are some steps to take:
- Measure, monitor and track the impact of each and every piece of content. What are the page views or visitors per post? How is your engagement levels like (likes and comments)? Are there many re-shares or retweets?
- Calibrate your activities at different tiers of the content marketing funnel. Are you generating a lot of traffic but losing leads? Can you finding it difficult to convert leads to paying customers? Understand what makes your followers click the button – and what doesn’t.
- Conduct A/B testing to evaluate which piece of content does better in generating a response.
- Do a regular stock take with your team, and assess how far your content marketing has brought you. Is it a wise use of time, money and energy? Would it be better invested elsewhere? How could you improve your content marketing game, if that is the right game to play in the first place?
Ready To Rock Your Content Marketing Game?
Content marketing is not just a trendy marketing tool, but a shift in how a marketer acts and behaves. It requires us to be obsessively customer-oriented, intensely disciplined in researching what works (and what doesn’t), and compulsively focused on producing valuable and helpful content.
Through the 5 Hs, I hope that you have an easy mnemonic device to remember the key steps needed to sharpen and improve your content marketing game.