Thanks to HubSpot, buyer personas have become synonymous with inbound and content marketing. Few companies, however, actually spend the time to research, develop, and document their personas.
What you may not be aware of, though, is that buyer personas already make up the backbone of your outreach strategy. Think about it. If you are an ophthalmologist marketing Lasik packages to an older demographic, would you choose to run ads for those services on Snapchat or TikTok? Probably not. Common sense dictates your audience won’t be found there.
But what about the rest of the consumer story? The details within the details that paint the picture of how your customers operate are what unearth insights that have huge impacts on your business.
If inbound marketing is an exercise in making connections, you have to know what audience you want to connect with first. When we begin an engagement with a new client, we dedicate ourselves to learning and understanding our client’s customers and business before finalizing a strategy. This persona research phase is critical to understanding our intended audience and creating a strategy that speaks to their pain points.
Unearthing key insights will make the difference between creating content that nurtures and converts, and missing the mark at pivotal moments along your prospects’ buyer’s journey. Data points you should collect include your prospects’ interests, habits, challenges, goals, and basic demographics. We recommend utilizing different research methods such as 1:1 interviews and online deep dives to get a well-rounded view of your audience.
Now that you’re on your way to producing high-quality content that converts, it’s time to set up a goal-setting framework to help measure the ROI of your efforts.
It’s easy to get caught up in vague metrics like “post three blogs a month” or “boost position in the search engine results page.” While these goals may speak to your hopes for a campaign, they don’t include vital details you can easily track and show a tangible connection to your inbound marketing success.
At Beacons Point, we employ the SMART goal-setting framework:
By utilizing this framework, you'll have healthy goals that measure the success of a campaign and direct further content efforts. SMART goals can take many shapes, whether that’s X amount of MQLs generated during a certain timeframe or X percentage increase in click-through rates during your peak season.
If research is the chassis of an inbound marketing campaign, a comprehensive content strategy is the engine that drives your ROI. At Beacons Point, we create long-term content strategies based on in-depth persona, keyword, competitor, and industry research.
Content without direction, though, can waste your team’s precious time and resources.
The best inbound campaigns should include a body of written, visual, and video content that serves the overarching campaign strategy. Having a web of content that supports and links to the central strategic core of your campaign will engage your intended audience at the right point in their buyer's journey.
At Beacons Point, we use the Topic Cluster model to structure content efforts for ourselves and our clients because it allows search engines to crawl and deduce the structure of our content easily.
Take a look at the topic cluster below for our “content planning” campaign. You can see our pillar page in the middle with green links to and from each supporting content piece created throughout the campaign’s life.
Engines will recognize a pillar page as the most authoritative piece of content for a high-value keyword because of comprehensive linking to and from the supporting content in the cluster.
The topic cluster model also provides our team with guideposts for content ideation. Every content idea proposed must tie back to a planned or developed “target topic,” ensuring our team and clients stay focused on the strategy.
Video marketing is a powerful tool in the modern content landscape. More consumers than ever before gravitate towards video marketing, and the data backs it up:
These exciting stats show that a significant subset of your target audience would be more engaged with your content if it were video-based. For these reasons, building a comprehensive and effective strategy should always include creating fresh and repurposed rich video content.
At Beacons Point, our content concepts often start as engaging videos that we then adapt to other mediums, such as blogs, white papers and guides. When we produce a piece of non-video content, we keep the topic in our back pocket to later repurpose it into a supplementary video. This approach to inbound marketing ensures your entire content ecosystem engages viewers no matter how they like to consume it.
So you’ve done your research, and built your buyer personas and content strategy. Now, it’s time to start producing your content.
If you’ve ever tried rallying your team to create and maintain a healthy stream of content for your company, you’re probably familiar with the headache it can cause. Oftentimes, the subject matter experts (SMEs) on your team may not have the bandwidth to sit and write that blog you tasked to them.
If you work in a highly complex industry, this can cause a serious bottleneck when your SMEs hold the technical knowledge to speak to your intended audience.
We often work with clients in highly technical niches with audiences that expect content that speaks to their level of expertise. Because we can’t be SMEs in every industry our clients serve, we take a journalistic approach to content creation. By interviewing our clients’ SMEs, we can capture their knowledge to build in-depth outlines and write well-informed content.
If you find yourself struggling to create content on your own or get help from your SMEs, we highly recommend utilizing content interviews. You will have less resistance from your team when you ask for an hour of their time to interview them versus asking them to dedicate three or more hours to write a blog from scratch.
Learn more: Want to start utilizing interviews in your content process but don’t know where to start? Check out our pre-recorded webinar to learn the 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Conducting Painless Interviews.
While creating engaging content that generates ROI can feel overwhelming, integrating these five principles into your own marketing process will help you see results. When you break down a strategy into deliberate and systematic steps, you can create long-lasting connections with customers and leads.
“The first step to overhauling your content marketing journey is understanding where you are in it and where you want to go. Schedule a free consultation with a Beacons Point Content Strategist today to receive a preliminary action plan ahead of developing your next campaign.”