Success in content marketing is always a balancing act between business goals and user needs.
But you probably already know that.
In fact, you’ve probably been balancing on that wire for years, knowing that, on one hand, it’s important to drive lead generation, engagement, and, ultimately, sales. And, on the other hand, sometimes companies get too carried away with their business goals and create content that is irrelevant or even annoying to users. (Because the truth is that overly promotional content is a turn-off for most of us.)
So we walk a fine line as content marketers, constantly balancing the business bottom line with content that really matters to our audiences.
And since walking that line is so vital to our success, today, I thought I’d share three things that have been essential to my own content marketing balance-keeping:
1. Always have a call to action.
Why are Calls to Action (or CTAs) number one on my list? Because they’re a clear way to direct users through your sales funnel and, ultimately, meet your business goals. And, when done right, they’re also a huge asset to your users.
If you are, for example, a large fashion company, your ultimate goal is probably to sell clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. So it only makes sense that when you publish an eBook about dresses that complement your body type, you’ll want to link to some of the sales pages for the dresses or invite women to browse all v-neck dresses or a-line cuts.
A good call to action should drive real business success and should be also be very relevant to the content piece and your users. If they’re reading about dress fits, chances are they’re looking for a dress. So you’re not just pushing the sale, you’re actually helping the customer take the next step in his or her journey.
2. Treat your content like a journey.
This is where mapping out your buyer’s journey can come in really handy:
Your content marketing should mirror the journey of your buyer. It should take them step-by-step through the buying process.
By mapping out your sales funnel, as well as the buyer’s state of mind and goals at each stage of that process, your online content can be built to take the buyer on a journey.
As an example, let’s think about a baby stroller company. Let’s say their target audience is moms and their business goal is to sell strollers. In the discovery and research phase of their project, they learn that these mothers primarily care about three things when it comes to strollers: style, reliability, and safety.
When the company creates content marketing pieces for this audience, they should center around those three themes—and each theme should feed into the others. A research report comparing stroller safety should lead seamlessly into a page of testimonials from moms about reliability and that should lead seamlessly into content about style options.
The content itself should take those moms on a journey that satisfies their primary concerns and offers them the opportunity to buy a stroller—meeting both user needs and business goals.
3. Ruthlessly filter.
Neither users nor the business are served by mediocre content, so it’s important to have high quality standards, to plan for content ahead of time, and to filter or reject content if it doesn’t meet both your user needs and your business goals.
The world doesn’t need any more overly promotional content and your business doesn’t need content that won’t support its goals.
How do you make content work for both business and buyer?
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
And just in case you haven’t seen it yet, we just published a new eBook called The Blueprint of a Modern Marketing Campaign. You should download a free copy.