If the journey follows the consumer’s path from identifying a need, to purchase and beyond (as they reflect on the purchase), then the content should actively support them at every stage as they search for information, compare options and make their decision. It should be addressing the needs of the audience without ever presenting a hard sell – for example by drawing together analysis of data surrounding a key issue that concerns them, or presenting clear, authoritative information.
This content can be presented in a vast range of forms: from memes and infographics, to blogs, video and email. The choices are as broad as the audience, but no matter what form it takes, there are some elements that are critical to all.
Here are our Big Five to help you get the ‘lion’s share’ of the market from your content:
- Quantity – In this fast-paced world it’s not just yesterday’s news that’s old, so you need to be sure material is published regularly, but not produce so much that audiences are swamped and switched off. One way around this is using the many formats available to keep output varied, but ultimately it’s about identifying the Goldilocks effect for your audience: how much is just right?
- Quality – You may be producing large volumes of content, but, regardless, the quality can not be compromised. It’s worth considering that white papers, expert webinars or insight videos can provide excellent ‘tent pole’ material which can then serve to support and generate other material. Either way, it all needs to be insightful and intelligent, and grammar and spelling most definitely do matter. (Note: definitely is the second most misspelled word in the English language, second only to separate). It also helps to keep things snappy and to the point. People do not read #online the same way as they do in print and are quick to skip paragraphs due to one waffly sentence.
- Purposeful – What are you trying to achieve with this content? If you don’t know what job it’s doing, it may not be doing one. Is it building loyalty, awareness or sales? These are key areas to focus on for an effective content journey.
- Engaging – Your content needs to draw in your target audience. One common route to achieving this is to arouse curiosity by posing a question or using an intriguing quote or statement, but if the content that follows does not then deliver it falls flat. Make it useful to the audience or, at the very least, entertaining.
- Multi-platform – If you’ve managed to produce high quality, purposeful, engaging material, it’s crazy not to get it out across #social media and access the widest possible audience, but be careful to optimise it for your chosen platform – for example video content going out on Twitter requires you to use the long link for auto play, whilst you need short links for Facebook and LinkedIn; or have you thought about how you phrase your intro text differently on the different platforms – what’s good for Facebook won’t necessarily work for LinkedIn.
And once you’ve got your content actively working and driving an audience towards the all-important sales destination don’t forget them. You need to respond and engage your audience as they take their journey and once they arrive. That way you can monitor, build relationships, amplify your messages and leave them feeling that their decision to buy through you was the very best they could have made. Perhaps they’ll even recommend you to somebody else.
Melissa Valente is an Account Manager at Formative Content and specialises in PR, corporate communications and journalism.
Formative Content is a UK based #content marketing agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.