Now that you understand a bit more about the hero of your story (the buyer), you can focus your attention on planning a long-term content strategy plan. This long-term plan will be used to communicate how you plan to attract and attain the attention of your audience (potential buyers) with content marketing. It’s called a long-term plan since you need to forecast your content activities out longer than simply one campaign at a time.
When creating the outline for your content strategy plan you should keep the buyers journey in mind, of which there are three phases; awareness, consideration, and the decision phase. These phases correlate with the marketing/sales funnel. This funnel is the whole reason for marketing and if you were to visualize an actual funnel you would see that there are more interests starting at the top and then qualified down through to the audience being a customer, which by nature is a smaller number. Marketing’s role is to fill more interest (awareness) at the top of the funnel, help sales engage with those potential customers through the consideration phase and support their efforts to converting potential buyer in becoming customers in the decision phase.
The awareness phase includes visitors to your website or those who contact you directly by way of phone, e-mail, or face-to-face at an event. These inquiries are then filtered by marketing (MQL), if it aligns with the company’s offerings then it is processed as a lead. Next the sales (SQL) team will filter this into the opportunity phase if a formal quote is needed. The middle portion of the funnel is the consideration phase. Then with good selling techniques, the opportunity becomes a customer in the decision phase.
Every piece of content created should fall in one of these three phases.
Here are examples using the Dawgbone drumstick company.
Awareness – people are looking for answers, resources, opinions and insights – the Dawgbone company created ebooks about choosing the right stick along with a video, and a webinar.
Consideration – people are doing heavy research to understand if the product or service is right for them – Dawgbone created a series of data sheets on the different stick models and demo videos.
Decision – this is the purchase phase, at this phase people understand exactly what it would take to become a customer – Dawgbone provides free sticks, live demos and trials in music stores, along with a sales promotion (by one pair get a second free).
Nurturing a middle-of-the-funnel engagement should see a much higher response rate compared to generic outreach. People in the middle of the sales funnel are looking to you for content showing that you’re an expert in your industry. Effective types of content in this consideration phase include guides, webinars, live interactions, and whitepapers.
Before we move further let’s take a step back and make sure that our content strategy aligns with our marketing plan.
This twenty chapter e-book includes research and planning, and a breakdown of content, digital, and events marketing strategies.
Brian Lundgren is a marketing professional, musician, and family man living in the Southeast region of Massachusetts.