Make Content Work Harder for Your Business

Use the Consumer Decision Journey to Flex Your Content Muscle

Content marketing can feel like a major headache, both in creation and measurement. It’s enough to make you wonder: Is all this work actually making an impact on my business? If you’ve found yourself thinking this way, don’t worry! The next few paragraphs will help make sure your content marketing efforts are working as hard as they can for your business.

Act like a brand planner

Planners help inspire work that’s based on meaningful insights about your audience, broader context or culture, and your brand’s key point of distinction. If that framework works so well for campaigns, why not apply it to your content planning process? Use a combination of past content performance, audience research, search trends, cultural nuances and key upcoming brand initiatives to develop a quarterly editorial plan. It can serve as a unifying document for all content creators within your brand, even if they sit on different teams or even within different agencies.

Plan around the Consumer Decision Journey

Content marketing is often too narrowly defined as an engagement tactic, operating solely in the evaluation phase. If you’re defining content marketing in this way, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The truth is, content marketing operates across all phases of the Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ). It can:

  • Widen the funnel in the awareness phase
  • Build confidence and inspiration in the evaluation phase
  • Support seamless conversions in the experience phase
  • Promote loyalty in the advocacy phase

By creating content for each phase you can better support your paid media efforts, from driving additional new users into the consideration phase, to soliciting positive word of mouth in the advocacy phase.

Content creators deserve a brief, too

Creative briefs should be used to inspire more than just creative campaign assets. All too often, teams think about functional content deliverables, like website FAQs or blog topics, as something that can be created without an inspirational brief. In many cases, you can structure your quarterly editorial plan as a creative brief (Remember: we’re acting like brand planners now). Without a plan, it’s all too easy to create uninspiring or misguided content that only superficially addresses your audience’s needs.

Maximize existing content

A good strategist isn’t just going to tell you to create an incredible amount of new content. They’re going to look at existing content and make sure you’re taking full advantage of it. That means making sure that your existing blogs have an evergreen nature allowing them to be shared throughout the year, and ultimately building SEO. They’ll also look at less-than-ideal formats like PDFs or extremely long videos and see if they can be transferred to indexable audience pages or cut down to shorter formats. This allows new content creation to strategically fill in the gaps, instead of starting from scratch.

Be diligent about testing

Within your quarterly content plans, establish a series of learning objectives and test content executions. Align these tests with your media plans to ensure consistent spend and audience profile. As you move forward, keep a spreadsheet of monthly learnings to have a record of the evolution of your content.

Widen your gaze

To identify future needs and to prove the value of existing content marketing efforts, it’s best to widen your gaze to other disciplines. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Can it help give media teams more content to work with across the CDJ?
  • Does it enable greater testing and sequencing?
  • How can it help fuel personalization on our website and via marketing automation?
  • Is my content marketing giving other conversion vehicles an assist?
  • Can it help support our digital team’s ongoing SEO efforts?

Weave content reporting into integrated reports

While intended to be enlightening, analytics reports often fall short. The frequent culprit: developing many individual reports by department with a lack of collaboration across teams. As a result, they neither identify common insights across channels nor demonstrate how different channels may be supporting others. That means your content marketing might not get credit for doing things like driving lower-funnel conversions or supporting SEO. A singular, integrated report allows you to tell a cohesive story across channels and prove the effectiveness of your content marketing tactics at every stage of the CDJ.

Don’t obsess over reporting templates

Think about your quarterly reporting less as an “analytics report” and more like a “strategic review.” Don’t get obsessed over a rigid reporting template. Instead, let the insights you find guide how you structure your strategic review. Focus on the most compelling and surprising datapoints, complement those points with third-party research and trends and collaborate across teams to tell a cohesive story. It’s a great way to give all teams a chance to look between the lines.

By following these tips, you’ll create real connections with your customers and prospects through content. Ultimately, your content marketing efforts will become part of every channel’s story, positioning it as an integral part of all marketing efforts. If you want to learn more, particularly about new ways to get your organization to buy into content marketing, check out the SlideShare presentation below.

For more tips and insights on how to take your marketing from now to next, subscribe to our newsletter or contact Nicole Stone – Senior Vice President, Business Development at nstone@laughlin.com or 414.270.7235.

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