Every brand has its origin story, often proudly displayed under an “About Us” section on the homepage.
If you want to hear Kapost’s story, check it out. But what’s likely more appealing to you is not just the tale of one brand’s genesis, but the story of content marketing itself. As content marketers within a marketing software and services company, the story of content has determined every step of our organization. As such, we’ve spent quite a bit of time not only learning and understanding how content has changed over the years but sharing it with other marketers.
And, let me tell you, the landscape for content has never looked quite so good as now. The fairy tale ending is becoming clearer for our hero, content. (Yes, I do know I’m using a terrible metaphor. It’s only going to get cheesier from here. But also, it fits surprisingly well, so bear with me.)
How the Buyer’s Journey Has Changed
Remember the time when marketing was about your brand instead of your customers?
Hopefully, that’s a distant memory, because the buyer’s journey isn’t what it used to be.
Buyers don’t want to hear about your brand. They want to hear you talk about their pain points and then offer a solution. Whether that’s your product, services, or advice on how to work smarter, marketers can’t rely on name alone. They have to offer real and tangible answers to problems.
This is great news for the buyer, of course. With more options than ever, they get to hand select exactly what best fits their needs.
I’d argue it’s also a great thing for marketers. Well, as long as your offering is actually the solution you promise it is.
Because of the power the buyer now has, marketers are called to create a customer experience that engages a prospect with relevant, educational content, nurtures with increasingly tailored assets, and enables sales to close the deal.
Talk about keeping marketers honest, right?
Deliver a Cohesive, Impactful Customer Experience
In light of the focus on customers that the modern buyer’s journey dictates, customer experience is crucial. From the get-go, prospects should feel as if they’re being personally addressed.
Before you roll your eyes and plead too busy, hear me out.
Personalization isn’t just including the first name in your subject line or handwriting a million invitations to an event. It starts with smart segmentation. Here’s how to ensure your customer’s experience speaks to their individual needs:
1. Identify Strategic Contexts
You (hopefully) already know the buyer personas, buying stages, and any other key strategic contexts that define what your content speaks to. Some possible contexts include:
- Buying stage
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and you know your organization better than I do. Start with a huge list because you’ll end up narrowing contexts down by what’s the most important to your audience.
2. Target Content by Key Contexts
Once you know all the specific contexts you need to address, the first thing you should do is consider which are the most strategically significant. What adds the most bang for your buck?
For example, if the main deciders in your buying group are Persona B, and they often get hung up in the consideration buying stage, make an amazing asset that speaks to that context.
Tailoring content to these contexts enables marketers to provide a cohesive buyer journey without wasting time over-covering areas that don’t require as much attention.
3. Reuse and Repurpose Content
Once your content is laid out by strategic purpose, there’s one thing top marketers do: see where existing content can be repurposed for a different strategic context.
Think of it like this—the eBook for Persona C in the consideration buying stage currently addresses pain points that Persona D also feels. Sure, the messaging needs some tweaking to make it personalized, but the bulk of the work is probably already done.
When you’re evaluating your coverage, don’t just focus on the gaps. Look into what content did amazingly to capitalize on it.
Barriers to Marketing Success: Lack of Visibility, Silos, and Wasted Content
Our fairy tale is missing one key element: the villain. So, what’s standing in the way of content success?
- Lack of visibility into planned, in progress, and completed content makes repurposing and evaluating impossible.
- Silos create misaligned messaging and miscommunicated business priorities, leading to unmet business goals.
- Wasted content is a huge strain on resources and usually comes from silos and lack of visibility.
To survive and win in the face of these barriers, marketers need a new operating model to deliver impactful content, create a cohesive cross-channel experience, and enable operational agility. The answer is a content operation. Content might be the hero, but a content operation is the wizened magical being that directs our hero on the right path.
Now, the last cheesy part (I hope)—our hero needs a sidekick.
Content’s Right Hand Man: Technology
A content operation can’t function without a tool in place to fight against these three threats to content ROI. Technology is content’s sidekick and a crucial element for enabling marketers to gain visibility into the entire organization’s goals, activities, and metrics. It surfaces all this information to eliminate visibility problems.
Lack of visibility cause silos, which then causes wasted content. Technology effectively cuts off this downward spiral at the beginning before anything gets out of hand.
So, how do you make this your organization’s content fairy tale? The first step is to implement a content operation to address the actual barriers to marketing success. Once the foundation is in place, count on technology to keep your story on track.
The best part of this fairy tale? The end isn’t a screen fading to black. It’s you and your team, creating awesome content that drives engagement across key accounts that actually matter. Talk about a happy ending.