THE BEST DARN MARKETING CONTENT GUIDE, PART 2 (OF 4): AUDIT YOUR CONTENT
Last week, we took a look at how the marketing landscape has changed in the face of inbound and the importance of understanding how to harness the power of this tactic within your own business. We discussed the fact that the first step to connecting with your target audience is (obviously) understanding who that audience consists of and what makes them tick. From here, we’re ready to figure out the types of content that are relevant and important to your readers, and to pair up the right content with consumers during critical moments of the buyer cycle. Understanding this aspect of inbound marketing is imperative to success, so rid yourself of all distractions and get ready to be schooled in part two of our series.
Chapter 2: Taking Stock of What You Have
After taking the time to carefully construct buyer personas, you may feel tempted to rush off and create brand new content for them. While you’ll certainly need to come up with fresh, customized content going forward, you should first take inventory of all of your previous content marketing efforts. The process of content auditing is the best method for determining just how much coverage you’ve been giving to the topics that are most important to your audience and whether you’ve been mixing things up enough. You’ll have the ability to pinpoint gaps that need to be filled by new content pieces while also identifying your most outstanding and popular pieces that can be fleshed out further and repurposed into other formats for more reach.
The question then becomes, “How do I conduct a content audit?” Fortunately, it’s relatively simple. You’ll need to gather and review all of the content you’ve generated in the past year or so. Be sure to include all forms of content, including blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc. Each piece should be logged into a spreadsheet and then labeled according to the content’s format, topic, covered buyer persona, and the number of leads created from it.
Ultimately, the goal of a content audit is to see where your existing strengths and weaknesses lay. Taking a look at the big picture will open your eyes to the types of content that you need to create more of, the subjects that have been the most appealing, and any buyer personas that may need more attention. It will enable you to set worthy goals that will push your business forward through amazing content.
Chapter 3: Fitting Content Into the Buyer Cycle
Upon completing your content audit, you are well aware of the holes that need to be filled as you move forward with development. In addition to ensuring that you are supplying the right type of content to the right buyer personas, you also need to ensure that you’re creating messages that apply to the various stages of the buyer cycle that individual readers may be going through. Typically, the buyer cycle consists of four stages. Awareness is the first stage, where the prospect comes to realize a need for your product or service. Next, they enter into the research phase in which they begin to look for potential solutions. Third, the consumer will pass through the comparison stage, at which time he or she will take a closer look at their options and narrow down their list of vendors. Finally, in the purchasing stage, the prospect will make a buying decision.
Your job as a marketer is to be aware of the types of content and mediums that are best suited for each stage. Perhaps you’ll find that those in the awareness stage are most interested in videos, whereas those in the research and comparison stages prefer ebooks and webinars. Whatever the case may be, you need to pay attention to what’s working best at each stage in order to keep your readers moving through the cycle.
By now, you’re ready to create content that caters directly to your customer’s needs in such a way that it helps to move them through the buyer cycle. The stars aren’t all aligned just yet, though, and timing is everything. Learn more about the importance of scheduling your content in the next exciting chapter of this series.