For building awareness, creating leads and sparking new business growth, good storytelling is at the heart of things. And imaginative ways to tell great stories have been around since the Stone Age. But without a strategy linked to your brand, without an underlying ‘why’, your stories, however beautiful, can fall flat in a new business growth context. With ever more pressure to automate marketing, revamp the website, develop new metrics, focus on a particular channel, departments can feel they’ve ‘done something’ towards achieving their content marketing goals. But if there’s no new business in the pipeline, what's actually been achieved?
To shorten the odds on creating new business opportunities and ultimately growth, have in mind a content framework:
1. Express the passion in your brand and develop stories around it. Keep your marcomms from becoming an avalanche of text unrelated to your brand’s mission, beliefs and differences. Rather, connect your comms with your brand and business objectives to give your stories an anchor. Reflect your positioning in the market and invest time in developing interesting, eyecatching propositions….
2. Develop a razor sharp sector focus. Concentrate your efforts where you can move the needle furthest. Start on just one customer segment at a time – probably that of your best customer. They’re a model for your other segments. Don’t try to appeal to everyone.
3. Have an equally sharp understanding of your buyer’s context. Know who your buyers are and create buyer personas. Understand what they care about and what their path to making a purchase looks like. Get your head around which points along the buyer journey you can use stories & case studies to influence and drive conversions and move your buyers along the sales funnel.
4. Construct a conversion ladder with goals at each rung. This may have only 2 or 3 rungs on it – but if you’ve thought about it you’ve gone further than most of your competitors! The goals on your cladder help propel your prospects along the buyer journey; what’s more, you can track and measure the performance of your content at each rung using the right analytics, e.g. logging email opens, downloads or website visits using marketing automation.
5. Plan conversation triggers. Your marketing effort must be directed to initiating conversations. Both outbound and inbound marketing methods work – it’s working out the mix that matters. Outbound marketing can work well in the short term, inbound takes time to build but starts to reap benefits in the mid to longer term. Choose to initiate conversations through emails, phone calls, or even text messages.
6. Create a campaign matrix. Pull together knowledge of your buyer’s context and their journey with your conversion goals and methods of content delivery along each funnel stage. Use content to move your prospect from unaware through to the aware, interest, research and purchase stages.
You’ve now a framework for dropping in your stories and content before:
7. Build a scaling ability. Work out how to tackle producing enough content to satisfy buyers’ appetites – and over many months. Build a plan for repurposing, repackaging and recycling your content. Create worthwhile, quality content when you start out – not token content.
8. Optimise for search. Content marketing done well will create a special combination of mechanisms - content, social media and search. Look at applying specific keywords to increase your content’s ranking among the many media choices available (webinars, email, newsletters, blogs, etc). Don’t limit your search by not being knowledgeable about the basics of SEO, by using terms that people don’t use (e.g. jargon versus commonly used terms). Remember to post enough keyword rich textual content on your website or blog.
Stories relating to your brand and your passions in the context of your audience's key needs may not have the longevity of cave paintings - but they’ve more chance of being noticed by your prospects and sparking engagement.
How Fire NBM can assist you with content marketing:
· BRAND INSIGHT, POSITIONING AND PROPOSITION DEVELOPMENT Our experienced researchers conduct surveys, insight programmes and phone interviews for businesses to discover what challenges their prospects and existing clients face, what they are looking for in service and product providers and how they make their buying decisions
· CONTENT DEVELOPMENT Fire NBM works with companies to develop branded content marketing strategies, propositions, campaigns and creative execution. Our social media specialists ensure messaging and content works well across all digital media.
· CONTENT IMPLEMENTATION We provide a managed marketing service to act as ‘virtual’ marketing departments for businesses seeking integrated, multi-channel campaigns with a greater new lead, new business and growth orientation. Our content team includes qualified journalists.