While blogs are a major component of content marketing, they’re only a part of the bigger picture.
You have to be aware that your customer needs to be guided through your entire funnel.
With that in mind, Let’s take a look at:
The 6 characteristics of content marketing.
1 – Perfect Content Marketing is Full Funnel
For an ice-cold prospect to become a customer they will need to travel through three stages…
- Awareness – The prospect must first become awarethat there is a problem and that YOU or your organization have a solution for it. (This is where your blog EXCELS)
- Evaluation – Those that move through the Awareness Stage must now evaluatethe various choices available to them, including your competitor’s solutions and, of course, taking no action at all to solve the problem.
- Conversion – Those that move through the Evaluation Stage are now at the moment of truth — purchase.
A cold prospect cannot evaluate your solution until they are first aware of the problem AND your solution. And conversion is impossible until the prospect has first evaluated the possible courses of action.
To move a prospect through a marketing funnel, they will need content designed to satisfy their needs at each of the three stages.
In other words…
- They need content at the top of the funnel (TOFU) that facilitates awareness.
- They need content in the middle of the funnel (MOFU) that facilitates evaluation.
- They need content at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) that facilitates conversion.
- Make sense?
- Blogs are fantastic facilitators of awareness— but they do a poor job of facilitating evaluation and conversion. And, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, evaluation and conversion are super critical to your business.
- To move prospects through the middle (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU) you’ll need other content types.
- It looks like this…
We call it The Content Lifecycle.
Let’s look at each stage of the funnel and the content needed at those stages…
Top Of The Funnel (TOFU) Content Marketing
The prospects entering the top of your funnel are completely unaware of your solution and, often, completely unaware of their problem.
As a result, you need content with a low barrier to entry — because they have little to no motivation to put skin in the game (think giving you contact information or money.)
You need freely available content at the top of the funnel (TOFU) that…
- or Inspires
… and you need to make it readily available using content types like:
- Blog posts
- Social Media Updates
- Digital Magazines/Books
- Audio/Video Podcasts
- Print Magazines/Newsletters (You’ll need a bigger budget here)
- Primary Research
- Do you need all of these content types at the top of the funnel? Heck no.
- Most businesses will post content to a blog and to social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Once you’ve mastered these two content types, you’ll want to add more top of funnel content to the mix like a podcast or a print newsletter.
- Remember, the big goal at the top of the funnel is to make prospects ‘problem aware’ and ‘solution aware.’
- Unfortunately, the top of the funnel is where most organizations begin and end their content marketing efforts.
- Smart content marketers know that, with a bit more effort, they can move prospects from awareness to evaluation in the middle of the funnel.
- Here’s how it gets done…
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) Content Marketing
The big goal in the middle of the funnel is to convert ‘problem aware’ and ‘solution aware’ prospects into LEADS.
We use free content to incentivize prospects to submit their contact information and opt-in to receive future marketing.
We call this type of content a Lead Magnet.
Lead Magnets can be…
- Educational Resources (Case Study, White Paper, etc)
- Useful Resources (Swipe File, Checklist, etc)
- Software Downloads
- Discount/Coupon Clubs
This is a Lead Magnet that IMWealthAffiliate uses to generate leads for our products surrounding Customer Avatars…
By clicking on the Download Now button you will be prompted to enter your email address to receive the piece of content.
This piece of content is an exchange for the lead.
But you can’t deposit leads in the bank.
A third content type is required at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) to convert leads into customers…
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) Content Marketing
Ok, it’s point of sale time.
What types of content will your new lead need to make an informed purchase decision?
Here are a few…
- Demos/Free Trials
- Customer Stories
- Comparison/Spec Sheets
Is creating top of funnel (TOFU) content on a blog important?
But failing to build a full-funnel content plan will leave you disappointed in your content marketing results.
2 – Perfect Content Marketing is Intent-Based
The key to perfect content marketing is understanding existing intent and anticipating future intent. Then, creating the content “assets” needed to address that intent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The truth is the most lucrative content assets you’ll create (if you have an existing business) are assets that meet intent at the bottom and middle of the funnel. Optimize for this existing bottom and middle of funnel intent before going to work on generating awareness at the top of the funnel with an expensive and time consuming blog roll out.
That’s not to diminish the power of a business blog. Over the last 24 months, we’ve been adding content assets (articles and podcasts) at the top of the funnel and we’ve increased website traffic (think awareness) by 1053%.
That said, the quick wins in the content marketing game are in the middle and bottom of the funnel.
3 – Perfect Content Marketing is Ascension Focused
Failure to provide an ascension path from every piece of content you create isn’t just bad marketing — it’s a bad user experience.
Smart content marketers anticipate the next logical intent and remove as much friction as possible to create a clear path to conversion.
From blog content, prospects can be given the opportunity to opt-in with their email address to get more information about a topic.
Check out this ascension offer embedded in a blog post. Clicking on this banner ad will take the prospect to a landing page to enter their email address and ascend to a lead:
They get more information about a topic they are interested in — you get a lead.
4 – Perfect Content Marketing is Segmented
You can run surveys and polls until you are blue in the face. But you won’t know what they are truly interested in until they give you their money or time.
When a prospect visits a piece of content (spends time) they have raised their hand and indicated interest. And, because of the magic of ad retargeting you can follow up with these prospects with a relevant ascension offer without even acquiring their contact information.
5 – Perfect Content Marketing is Cross-Channel
Perfect content marketers publish content that meets intent in any channel where groups of prospects are searching for and sharing content including:
Chances are a single content asset could be published across numerous channels to maximize exposure.
6 – Perfect Content Marketing is Avatar Based
Last, but certainly not least, perfect content marketing assets are produced to satisfy the intent of your customer avatars. A content asset can satisfy the intent of multiple avatars or it can be published to target a single avatar.
This content can be found in its original form at this link: http://www.digitalmarketer.com/content-marketing/