Everyday, we all create content whether we are aware of it or not. Whether it’s a photo or video, or simple Facebook and Twitter updates. Content both our own, and others’ is what inevitably shapes us as individuals. The same is true for businesses. Companies continue to try to shape brand perception and drive brand preference (whether they have the power anymore is another story), and one thing that that they rely more and more on is content. Over the past few years, we have seen content marketing rise to the top in terms of priority for many companies. I highly recommend “The Content Rules” by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman for great best practices on content marketing. It helped me start to answer many of the questions I had like:
- What should I create?
- How often?
- How and When should I share it?
- What do we expect to gain from it?
There are many more questions that go into an effective content strategy and plan. At the most basic level, content should aim to address the target audiences needs at every stage of the sales or buying process. I’ve talked about this in the past here and here.
Timing is everything…I was recently asked to put together a content plan for a social media campaign for one of my peers. I started with searching for infographics on content and social media. I am hooked on using Infographics to do research…just search Infographic: (subject matter) on Google Images, and you’ll see some really cool stuff. In this case, I searched “Infographic sales process social media” and came across “Feeding the Funnel with Facebook” by getsatisfaction.com. This infographic not only depicts the role of social media (Facebook) but the stages are very similar to the buying process I was accustomed, and what is needed at each stage.
Thanks to getsatisfaction.com’s infographic, I started doodling and charting out ideas for a content plan with a flow that met customers’ needs at each stage of the process. The next step is to try it out with one of the company’s go-to-market strategies in planning…so far so good. While going through this process, we found that many of us were guilty of stopping in the middle stages. We spent a ton of time getting attention (awareness) and building interest (evaluation), but fell short when it came to providing content that drove desire (decision), or action (purchase). And virtually nothing was being done content-wise for support and advocacy. Perhaps this is a content rut many of us have fallen into. Hopefully, this simplistic way of planning what content we will create will do the trick. Take a look at the image and let me know what you think. My next task is to start to look at the vehicles including social media and how we might measure effectiveness (metrics).
Here’s a blank slate for you to fill in… What does your version look like?