By Ken Wincko, SVP Marketing, PR Newswire
Marketing executives and their teams are being held to higher expectations than ever before. More content is competing for attention, buyer behaviors have shifted, and economic dynamics have placed more pressure on demonstrating ROI.
Accurately tying business value back to content is a constant struggle. In fact, according to a study by Forrester, while almost all senior marketers say that content marketing is important, an overwhelming 85% admit that it is only somewhat effective — or less so — at moving the needle on generating revenue, retaining customers, or winning customers’ long-term loyalty*.
As I write in Meeting Demand: A Guide to Becoming a Data-Driven CMO, we have to dramatically adjust our way of thinking and adopt a multichannel, data-driven, buyer-focused approach to marketing.
With the right mindset and tools, it is possible to prove marketing’s power as a revenue driver, not a cost center. Maximize your content marketing’s impact by following these five steps.
- Get hyper-targeted with market research.
Before you publish a single piece of content, you need to know whom you’re creating it for and what their informational needs are along the buyer lifecycle.
On average, there are 7-10 key decision makers and influencers in a B2B buying decision. While you may have a general idea as to who these contacts are, your content won’t convert unless you compile comprehensive personas and journey maps detailing decision makers’ different roles, informational needs, and content preferences.
Conduct external market research to define purchase triggers based on key buyer segments, personas, and stages of the buying cycle. This research can be a combination of focus groups, surveys, ethnographic research, etc.
Including existing clients in this research will be useful; however, interviewing prospects and key influencers will help you uncover new opportunities where current content fails to connect.
- Map content to buyer journeys.
With market research in hand, identify specific topics that will guide your audience step-by-step through the buying cycle.
The content you and your team create can’t stand alone. Each piece needs to fulfill a purpose and fit within a cohesive story based on your brand vision. Unfortunately, most marketers still create content piecemeal. According to Forrester, 62% of marketers admit to producing content on a campaign by campaign basis. Content that is siloed and doesn’t fit into a continuous narrative runs the risk of disrupting and deterring prospects and customers.
Once you have determined the sequence of topics and aligned it with buyer journeys, pinpoint the most credible voices and relevant formats to deliver your message.
Consider using components of specific content offers in different formats based on the unique needs of your core buying groups. Different buyer segments have different preferences for how they consume content. For example, while interactive, how-to videos tend to work better for practitioners, executives may be more likely to read content focused on strategy in a whitepaper or ebook.
Determining the most effective authors is also critical. At PR Newswire, we leverage expertise across our business as well as the industry. From marketing and sales to product managers and executives, a wide variety of subject matter experts create content within our organization. We also leverage highly respected industry experts with broad appeal to expand our perspective. This ensures that our messages are authoritative and authentic.
In summary, to effectively convert buyers, you must deliver content in the right context.
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