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Recently, while speaking at a conference in Dallas, a WordPress developer who was in the audience gave me one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received. After my 1-hour talk, the gentleman came up to me and made a very simple statement:
“That was the best presentation on SEO I’ve ever seen.”
I don’t mention this compliment from the gentleman to brag, but rather to make a point—during my entire time speaking to this group of people, I never mentioned the phrase “SEO” or “search engine optimization” one single time. Rather, I simply discussed the power of thinking like a consumer, being willing to address every single question they have on our website, and then using those questions to create a long tail keyword campaign that generates traffic, leads, and sales.
My question. And I got the answer I was expecting. Very. Very important. Content marketing is not creating an ad. It’s creating content that doesn’t sell overtly, but does provide relevant information to consumers. And according to Brent, that content takes time to concept and produce effectively. He told a story of a Pinterest infographic his agency created and shared online that led to speaking engagements and a new business opportunity. An infographic his team spent several hours of several days building.
Once upon a time, business owners and marketers thought the only way to attract customers was by broadcasting pushy, one-way, disruptive, hard-sell marketing messages.
Personas, whether buyer personas or not, represent how different segments will interact with you. As said, in each step and across each touchpoint they take decisions and by giving them a name, face and personal story as representatives of your typical buyer segments, etc. you take that narrative when looking at every decision. It’s clear that content is essential in taking decisions and persuading people to make them. From a content marketing personas perspective we add this additional mapping layer of auditing content needs.
Part of branding done right is a solid content strategy. Say you’re a firm that specializes in disaster preparedness and recovery (why not pick the most obscure industry ever, right?).
Write a whitepaper on 10 steps to prepare your company for the worst. This pdf could be offered if someone signs up for your list. Then write 10 posts, one for each step. And while you’re at it, do your best to make it less than boring – that’s where the love comes in. Just make it sing a little and you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.
I know what you’re thinking. What happened to BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing)? According to Ken Rogue of InsideSales.com, “BANT went out of style about three years ago when a research study done by DemandGen found that only 20 percent of companies have an annual budget that they make purchase decisions from.” So authority is crucial as a first step now, and money will work itself out of need and timing. But how do we get the answers to these questions from content alone?
Here’s a dirty secret of content marketing. Today it is possible to win the inbound lead battle simply by being first and overwhelming, a trend I characterized last year as the content arms race. You don’t have to be great. You don’t even have to be good. And to some extent it is even possible to fake your way to the top. But that can’t last. The market will adjust. Something has to emerge that will trump strategies based on sponsored posts, social proof, and commodity content.
But what is content anyway? It’s not a feature. And it’s more than the sum of its parts: words, design, production, UX/IxD, advertising. When we regard content as a feature or as simply being a set of components that can be “bolted-on” to a design, then our content is bound to fail.
That’s because content is the experience — it’s the whole thing. And you can often tell good content from bad by focusing on the experience it creates. It’s pretty easy to figure out when a brand is just targeting some niche set of keywords with their content… instead of, you know, targeting the needs of their users.
The SAVE framework fits like a glove to your publishing strategy. To attract your prospects/customers, to retain them, to make your content valuable and sharable, you should follow the SAVE framework. Many of you already do it, though not calling it as such.
Many others are still looking for the model that would work best for you, for the model that would help you draw a successful, effective and long-term content strategy. I believe that the SAVE framework can help you tremendously.
Over the past few years, marketers have realized that relevancy is one of the most important elements to their success. That is why we spend numerous hours and copious amounts of energy depicting buyer personas. So now that these personas are determined, why would we send them all to the same place to receive the same content? Ideally, you wouldn’t, and soon you won’t have to.
We already know leads who are nurtured with relevant information produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. Why not start the process off with a bang—or better yet, Personalized Content from the visitors’ very first interactions with your site? You know what this means: Personalized Content helps you get the right content to the right person at the right time from the beginning.
I hope you enjoy these fantastic articles on content marketing…please stay tuned for next week’s top ten articles!