6 Steps to cut-through the noise and drive results with your content
Creating content can be overwhelming. There are so many moving parts. There are so many questions. Social channels come and go. Features, trends and best practices seem to change on a daily basis. So when it comes to creating content, it can often feel a little overwhelming to know what to create and where to place it.
In my 15-years of working with brands big and small on their content strategies, those are the two questions I hear the most. What content should I be creating? Where do I place that content?
You know the feeling. You create a beautiful piece of content, put it out there for the world to see. And ... crickets. Maybe a few views here and there. The odd like. But not the viral revenue generating results that you had hoped for. It can be quite demoralising. Especially when you have to justify the budget and time spent on that content creation.
But here’s the thing. You’re not alone. Almost every marketing professional that I have worked with over the years has experienced that very feeling.
And here’s the good news. It doesn’t need to be that way. In this blog, we’re going to tackle what you can do to ensure that your content drives the results that you desire.
1 - Go back to basics.
Let’s get straight with the basics first. You may be well-aware of this, but it’s vital to understand this concept before driving any meaningful results from your content. And this concept is The Buyer’s Journey.
The Buyer’s Journey is broken down into three stages; The Awareness stage, The Consideration stage and The Decision stage. And it’s critical that we understand this as we look to build out our content.
Any of your prospects will go through these stages when they buy from you, or from anyone else to that matter. In the Awareness Stage they first become aware of an issue or an opportunity. Once they’re aware, they move into the Consideration stage where they start to look for ways in which they achieve that opportunity or fix their issue. Once they’re all set with the way in which they're going to do it, they then look for the best provider of that service or product in the Decision stage.
That’s a very quick overview of The Buyer’s Journey (you can find out more about it here). But now relate that to your content.
More-often-than-not when we start out on a content strategy with our clients, we see a wealth of Decision Stage content. Think brand videos, case studies, product videos. Now this is all great, but it’s only ever going to appeal to those that have already made their way to the Decision stage and are actively looking for a supplier, or product.
And that presents an opportunity. Why? Well, about 1% of your target audience will be in that stage at any given time. And this is where the vast majority of your competition will be playing. Wouldn’t it make more sense to attract the 99% of your audience that aren’t yet there and aren’t being focussed on by the competition? Not only does this ensure that your competing in a big blue ocean full of fish (whilst your competition are competing in a bloody red ocean full of people fishing), but it also ensures that when you hook your audience in with your content (we’ll talk about this in the next step) you take them on that journey yourself - supercharging your decision stage content when they reach that stage.
Your brand video, case studies, product videos are not going to drive the results you want without warm eyes on them. You first have to tap into your audience's fears, worries, goals or aspirations by answering their questions, position the service or product that you are selling as the right one for them and then (and only then) do you serve them your decision stage content to close the sale, or generate the lead.
2 - Know your audience.
You’ll likely be familiar with the concept of your audience personas. It’s important that you understand who your audience is before you start creating content for them. But I’m not just talking about the usual old Audience Personas when it comes to demographics such as age, gender, location, life-stage etc. That information is important, but we need to go deeper.
With the Buyer’s Journey in mind, we need to identify what are the goals, aspirations, challenges and questions that our audience have. Because if we know that, we’re able to hook them into the Awareness Stage with ease.
You can use our Audience Persona Template to work through this exercise and in-doing-so, you’ll have the answers to what content you need to be creating in the Awareness Stage to hook your prospects in.
If you’d like to go deeper into this subject, you can jump on to one of our weekly free training sessions where I go into much more detail on this subject.
Profiling and truly-understanding your audience ensures that you know how to hook your audience in, but it also ensures that you know where they spend their time, which allows you to serve your awareness stage content to them and drive the biggest engagement on that content - bringing a huge amount of your prospects into your own Buyer’s Journey.
3 - Develop your distribution strategy.
Now you know the topics that are going to hook your audience in, it’s time to focus on your distribution strategy. How are you going to take your prospects from never having heard of you and your brand through to becoming a lead, opportunity or a customer?
Well, there’s three parts to this process and it’s all dictated by the findings of our Audience research.
We realistically have three distribution channels. Your social channels, your website and your broadcasts (emails, sms and maybe even WhatsApp).
In the Awareness stage, we’re only utilising our Social Channels. We serve our Awareness stage content to our prospects. We then build custom audiences of those that engage with that content. The people that engage with our Awareness stage content move into the Consideration stage.
In the Consideration stage, we serve those people our Consideration Stage content. This happens across all three channels.
We host our Consideration Stage content on our website. That’s our hub. If they’ve visited our website, by default they are in the Consideration Stage and we can move them through to the Decision Stage and a sale, or enquiry, there.
Once we have those people on our database, we can send them our Consideration Stage content via our broadcasts, which is likely to be our email marketing, or our sms marketing.
And finally, we use remarketing tools to serve prospects in the Consideration stage our Consideration stage content back on their social channels. So if they have engaged with our Awareness Stage content by watching a video to 75%, clicking on a link, liking, sharing or commenting on a post, we can set our content up to be served to those people off the back of custom-audiences. Likewise, if they have visited our website, we use our pixels to build custom audiences and serve those people our consideration stage content on social.
And finally, we do exactly the same thing with our Decision Stage content. If they have engaged with our Consideration Stage content (as above) we serve them our Decision Stage content with a call to action of getting in touch, or even purchasing (depending on what you are selling).
4 - Let data lead your creative.
As I mentioned at the start of this article, we’ve got all the answers that we need from our Audience research. And this needs to shape our creative. In the Audience Research stage, we uncovered what type of content engages our audience, what messaging they respond to, what visuals they crave, what platforms they spend their time on. And this all drives our creative.
We know the topics of our content, so we need to align the creative to the findings of our audience research to ensure we drive the most-powerful engagement and progress the most amount of people possible through the various stages.
5 - Promote your content.
It’s unlikely that your content will drive the results that you want organically. Sometimes you will get lucky, but more-often-than-not, in order to get the ball rolling, you need to promote your content. And in the first instance, that needs to be your Awareness Stage content on social.
Remember, the main goal of your Awareness Stage content is to build custom audiences of people that you know are engaged with your messaging. This builds a significant audience of warm prospects. To do this, we typically use video views as a campaign goal, because, well, it’s the most cost-effective way to do it. If someone watches your video to 75%, they’re engaged, and are primed for your consideration stage content.
Once our custom audiences are big-enough, we serve them our Consideration Stage content - again, with a little promotion. The goal here is to send them back to our website and move them into the Decision Stage and, in-turn, a lead, opportunity or a sale.
6 - Track your results.
And finally, one of the most important parts of ensuring that your content cuts-through is by tracking your results. And I’m not just talking about the ROI that you’re generating, but rather the KPI’s and metrics that unearth what is really going on with your content.
If you have the right reporting mechanisms in place, you can quickly identify where there are slight issues with your content (it could be as simple as a headline, or a call to action), but also you’ll be able to see where things are really kicking-off and capitalise on the opportunity.
Your content creation is a process. It drives powerful results. But you have to be in a position where you can learn from the results and engagement on your content to get the results that your content deserves.
If you’d like to learn more about developing your content plan, watch the video below, where we talk you through the basics of a video content strategy in a little more detail, or book a free 1-2-1 30-minute session with one of our expert team.