How to improve content to aid a buyer’s journey

Content is king but with so many different formats, audiences can suffer from ‘content fatigue’. The answer is to plan your campaign around a buyer’s journey.

Content is king but with so many different formats, audiences can suffer from ‘content fatigue’. The answer is to plan your campaign around a buyer’s journey.

We all know that Content is King. The problem is, we are constantly being bombarded by content in different formats, and from multiple channels. Think bylines, infographics, and videos automatically “pushed” to us through online and social, for starters.

This information overload (and consequent “content fatigue”) is giving audiences too much choice, forcing them to pick and choose. Having too much junk content may end up turning them off completely to anything that comes from your brand.

For businesses, marketers, and content producers, this means that the old “machine gun” style of putting out content, one post after another in quick succession, is becoming as irrelevant as a typewriter – with all due respect to all you old-school writers. Here is the hard truth: Even if your content is free, it will be a tough sell unless it provides tangible value, resonates, and can “connect” with the target audience. My colleague Darren Foong talks more about this in his post about how content should either inform or entertain.

Using the buyer’s journey

So then, how can we ensure that your content is more impactful and achieves its intended / desired goal? Here’s a content model that we use at Text100. We like to map content to the buyer journey.

First, we ask the question: Which stage of the buyer’s journey are your audiences currently at? Are they aware of your brand? Or are they not convinced by your value proposition? You’ll need to determine the answers to these questions through research and conversations with people who face customers day in, day out. Alternatively, if you are able to get your hands on customer insights’ research – go for it!

Once you have a clearer picture of where the majority of your customers are in the below funnel, the second step is to determine which phase to focus on. This is important because we have limited time and resources (who doesn’t?) to create content; taking a scattergun approach may limit the efficiency of your content assets working in tandem.

Understanding the Buyer's Journey

Mapping the right content

When you’re clear where your priorities lie when it comes to sales objectives, you can then start planning out what kind of content assets to create. While not entirely exhaustive, here are the more popular types of content that can deliver higher impact for different stages of the buyer’s journey. Note that there may be differences between the B2C and B2B markets.

Buyer’s journey Content Type Marketer’s Objective(s)
Awareness Stage
  • How-to/Guide
  • Tips and tricks/Best practices
  • White papers
  • Research reports
  • Demonstrate:
    • Market expertise
    • Thought leadership
  • Generate brand awareness
  • Increase share of voice
Consideration Stage
  • Top 5/Round ups
  • Third-party previews
  • Brochures/Flyers
  • Product/solution landing pages
  • Promoting the customer benefits and unique selling points, rather than hard data like specifications, of products and solutions

 

Decision Stage
  • Third-party reviews
  • Case studies
  • Customer testimony
  • Influencer endorsements
  • Lead generation

 

Different roles of content

How-to/Guide, Tips and tricks/Best practices, White papers, Research reports: You can picture these as strategic assets – theme, trend, and market-centric content, perfect for positioning organizations as the trusted brand of a particular field and industry.

Top 5/Round ups, Third-party previews, Brochures/Flyers, Product/solution landing pages: These are the tactical assets to promote your actual products and solutions – translating marketing jargon and sales speak into actual customer benefits and business outcomes.

Third-party reviews, Case studies, Customer references, Influencer endorsements: Consider assets like these your last-mile effort. Since anyone can boast that they have the world’s most innovative and best-in-class offerings, these offer proof to substantiate your claims.

Coherent content plan  

Remember that your content won’t work unless you have a plan. Assets are useful on a tactical level, but you also need a big picture plan on how different types of content work together. Have your content plan and editorial strategy to nurture the conversation, maneuvering the audience down the funnel to achieve a conversion. That’s the real end goal, and how our content should be measured, regardless of the impressions and buzz garnered along the way.

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