Every successful inbound marketer understands the value and importance of creating and wielding content to their advantage. Look deeply into any wildly successful campaign and you'll find skilfully crafted and meticulously thought-out content at its core.
It's undeniable. Great content is the foundation for successful inbound marketing. But even the most well-thought and expertly handled content can fall hopelessly flat. Maybe you've even experienced it firsthand. That piece you thought would skyrocket your campaign ended up plummeting into the depths of obscurity. Why? Well, content types fall within defined scopes of purpose, and using one outside of its designated scope could be the reason your piece didn't work.
Enter the content marketing matrix.
The content marketing matrix, originally designed by SmartInsights, is one of the more helpful graphical representations that offer marketers the smart insights to plan content formats that are most suitable for not only the planned objective, but for the stage of the buyer's journey too. Talk about superior marketing planning and having the best of both worlds!
How to Use the Content Marketing Matrix to Choose the Best Content Type
The content marketing matrix's axes run vertically from emotional to rational, and horizontally from awareness to purchase representing the buyer journey, with each quadrant depicting the purpose of the content, i.e. to entertain, educate, inspire or convince your reader. Let's have a look at each of these goals and the content formats that are best to use to attain the goal.
People starting a buyer journey aren't looking for a heavy sales pitch. They're just paddling in the shallows, getting a feel for your content and whether it's worth enough to hold their interest.
At this stage, you want to entertain your readers. Engage with their emotional side. Throw out a little razzle-dazzle with a light-hearted tone.
Great content formats to achieve this include:
- Branded Video (a big one going forward!)
- Social media posts
Here's your opportunity to share your knowledge. At this stage in the buyer journey, your target audience is looking towards personal growth, so again, not the place to sell your brand aggressively. The key is to share interesting, relevant pieces of content that'll help them feel empowered and educated, capable of making informed decisions around a subject. They're starting to move from an emotional connection with your content to more of a rational one.
Content formats that lend themselves to education include:
- Trend reports
Okay, so you've built a level of trust with your potential buyers. They're aware of your content, and they're liking what you're putting out there. Now's the time to inspire them with your content.
In the case of a brand, this may mean sharing positive reviews and opening up community forums, where you can interact more personally with your visitors. Events are also a great way to inspire people and encourage them to engage with your brand. Inspire with types of content.
At this point, your consumers are fairly far along the buyer's journey. It's now time for your content to "seal the deal" and qualify those leads as sales-ready. Content needs to be persuasive and convincing, reinforcing everything they've already learned about your brand and leading them towards a buying decision.
Content formats that are fantastic convincing pieces include:
- Case studies
- Pricing guides and datasheets
- Interactive demos
- Product features
If you've noticed that several content formats overlapped, you're right. Certain formats do lend themselves to multiple purposes. When dealing with these, refer to your buyer personas and their needs along the buyer's journey.
An article can be both entertaining and educational, as can an eBook, but the extent to which they perform either function will depend on whether you’re presenting them with an emotionally charged or fact-driven information within that content. What works for one buyer persona may not work for the next.
If you keep the content marketing purposes in mind during your creation process, you're well on your way to creating a wildly successful content marketing strategy. Give it a try!
*This blog has been repurposed from an earlier blog.