People’s needs are constantly changing. New communication channels pop up all the time. Most importantly, your business is ever-changing. So how do you stay relevant and provide a flawless experience that speaks directly to your potential buyers? Don’t treat everyone the same.
Content marketing is powerful because it has a unique opportunity to tailor messaging directly to and engage with, the perfect buyer. Not only can it be tailored to the right person, but knowing the ins-and-outs of your target buyer means you can also target their behaviours at a time that’s most convenient for them.
But how do you make effective, engaging content that gets people to take action when habits and needs are constantly changing?
Don’t just push content where you would consume it
Imagine that while a prospective watching their favorite television show, a commercial from your brand about how to optimize their business pops up. Is this the most relevant time to be engaging in this type of engagement?
Considering how your audience consumes content ensures you’re not just pushing content out to meet publishing deadlines, but you’re pushing it to influence a seamless transition through your buyer cycle. This is why personalized content is important to content marketing.
You’ll miss your opportunity to create a personalized, engaging content marketing program if you just do what you’re comfortable with. Begin by asking yourself some questions about buyer habits. For example, does your audience get most of their content from their followers, those they follow, searching Google, or religiously listening to podcasts?
Once you’ve determined which types of content resonate the most, define what’s the best days and times that will serve to strengthen engagement.The more you know about your audience, their consumption habits, and what they dislike, the better your chances of landing a potential sale or influencing choice.
Define what “personalization” means to you and your buyers
Not every business or industry is going to resonate with account-based personalization, while others might only be focused on account-based marketing. Do what’s in the best interest of your audience. Approach content personalization as one tool in your tool-kit of marketing options. You don’t want to go overboard and creating messages that seem creepy or overly personal, that it looks like you’re stalking your readers. But know their challenges, their goals, how they define success, and tailor messages to what motivates them forward.
Below is a spectrum of content types and differing levels of personalization that goes into creating content. Leverage this spectrum to map out what matters most to your own audience. Look to current customers, what hooked them in and resonated the most to start mapping milestone segments of how far you’ve personalized content in the past to create an opportunity.
Go one step further, map personalized content opportunities to your buyer cycle
For each persona you have, across each stage of your cycle, you should be indicating where your persona will likely come into contact with your content. Remember, a prospect can find you at any point in the buyer cycle. Ensure your content efforts reflect this and is personalized at the right moment. Spending too much time trying to perfect high-touch content at the interest stage might be costly if majority of buyers get hooked at the trial phase.
To ensure you’re personalizing content at the right stages, document the mindset your personas have for each major touchpoint. Are they simply looking to learn about your industry or are they looking to trial software and need more pricing information? For each stage identify what your persona will most likely be trying to achieve and the questions they may have.
What actions will it take to engage your persona at each stage? Document what actions you’re hoping they’ll take at each stage to move to the next.
Below is a sample buyer cycle, what main question the customer may be asking at each stage, and what actions your content marketing efforts can take to satisfy the customer’s question.
Think about personalized content as an asset
Content isn’t limited to published goal-oriented blog posts and solution webinars. Personalized content goes one step further to drive value from your brand, in every experience someone has with your organization, and moves your business forward.
Thinking of your content as an asset that can be repurposed across many goals helps you get more return-on-investment in your marking budget. Content marketing is similar to any other spend, like advertising.
Multiple content items, across multiple mediums for the same price as a short term ad
Spending money on personalized ads or campaigns are easier to measure short-term. There’s either immediate click-through and opportunity results, or there’s not. Budget gets reallocated, experimented with in a different way, and it’s a lot easier to justify spend. However, as soon as you stop paying for that resource, engagement stops too. While this is a classic marketing spend, it’s not a sustainable asset that you can continue to repurpose. Spending money on one-and-done projects don’t allow for continuous return-on-investment.
Instead, if you spent the same ad-money and hired a contract or part-time writer, you start to build a library of assets that you can pull from at any time to repurpose, distribute, or engage with in multiple mediums. While writing a blog post might not seem to drive instant-results, budgeting for content as assets become more sustainable and fruitful over time. You start to think of content as an investment to creating material that is owned. Over time, you’re able to drive more and more impact and reach from the same investment that was driving short-term wins.
Your content is the voice of your business. It builds brand, generates leads, and rewards those interested in you for spending their time engaging with you.