1. Know your Audience
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your target customers. You build profiles for each by documenting their demographics, business positions, buyer influence, objectives and goals. Other details to include are their behaviours, preferences, challenges and concerns. We like to include a photo too, so we have a face to represent each buyer persona.
The process of documenting these buyer personas will help you to create content that resonates with them - addressing their specific needs, concerns and goals - at all stages of the buying cycle.
2. Conduct a Content Audit
You are probably already sitting on a whole whack of content that can be used to attract, convert, close and delight clients. Conducting a formal content audit will help you identify how well you are covering your target topics, the content mix available and reveal gaps in content that will drive your content creation in the short-, medium- and long-term.
Conducting a content audit is really quite simple:
- Create a spreadsheet that lists all the content that you have created in the last year. If you have been active online already this should include all blog posts, podcasts, eBooks, videos, webinars and everything in between. If not, consider your sales presentations or marketing collateral that could be repurposed for online use.
- Label your pieces according to the type of content, topic covered, buyer personas, date created and leads/customers generated.
- Identify the gaps by looking for a good balance of text-based and visual content, sufficient content for each buyer persona (and buying cycle stage), covered all of your important topics.
3. Map Your Content to Buying Cycle
Customers need different content for the various stages of the buying cycle. Its your job to ensure you have the right content for each stage.
For most companies, the buying cycle - and appropriate content pieces - will look something like this:
- Awareness Blog posts and social media updates are good for creating awareness of a need.
- Research / Education - eBooks, webinars and industry reports let prospects dive a little deeper into the subject matter.
- Comparison / Validation - Case studies, demos and customer testimonials let prospects compare or experience the product or service.
- Purchase Analyst reports and detailed product information can provide the prospect with the reassurance to make a buying decision and hopefully from you!
Map your content to the buying cycle so youre addressing your prospects needs throughout the purchase process.
4. Create an Editorial Calendar
If this isnt something you have done before, dont worry, its not all that difficult - it just takes a little time and spreadsheet magic!
Create an editorial calendar by using a spreadsheet (or grab our free all-in-one content template pack here) that:
- Outlines your editorial plans - including article topics, types of content and target persona.
- Balances the types of content such as social media posts, or eBooks, the topics you want to cover and the buyer personas you looking to reach.
- Addresses search engine optimisation with keywords you want to include and the calls-to-action you plan to incorporate.
- Highlights opportunities for content repurposing across media channels. Aim to maximize opportunities with content by repurposing and recycling for different personas or channels.
5. Go Forth and Create Content
Now that the groundwork is done and you know what material you need to create, for whom and when it's time to actually go ahead and do it!
In order to have a continuous finger on the pulse of your industry, we recommend subscribing to industry specific blogs, follow influencers on social media and set up Google Alerts for your target keywords so that information is delivered straight to your inbox. Youll find plenty of opportunities to answer questions and put your own spin on a popular topic.
6. The Secret Stash
A secret weapon of most great content marketers is a stash of ready-to-go content for if/when writers block happens (and yes it will happen). Essentially you want to have a content library of completed stories that you can use at a moments notice or bits and bobs that you can pull together with ease.
Feel there are any points I missed? Or any questions on any of the steps? Leave your comments below or tweet us at @struto_central.