In order for a marketing campaign to be powerful, it needs a good offer -- you know, the thing that gets people excited enough to click! The creative coupon. The helpful ebook. The customized consultation. But your offer also needs one other element to make it a big-hit success ...
It needs to be lovable.
Are you creating offers your prospects will
? If not, (or if you're not sure), let's look at the characteristics of creating marketing content -- particularly
content -- that people love.
Create Content For Your Persona
It's easy enough to say you're going to create a helpful, educational offer ... but ... how? To handle the demands of content creation, marketers have been told again and again to “think like a publisher.” It’s great advice, but what exactly does that mean? Just how do you think like a publisher? Publishers have a detailed picture of who their reader is that drives every content creation decision they made; inbound marketers should be no different.
Generate a detailed picture of your target audience (what we call a
in the marketing biz) so you can create the type of content they'll love to read -- from the right topic, to the right tone, to the right format in which it's presented (more on that later).
So if you haven't already, ask yourself ... who are your ideal customers and prospects? What are their biggest concerns, needs, and interests? Where can you reach them -- on search engines, social media, or blogs -- and what kinds of content do they prefer? These questions will help you develop buyer personas. And if you need more help creating your buyer persona,
download this PowerPoint template that helps you lay the whole thing out
, step by step!
Focus on the Right Stage
Content plays a critical role in every stage of the inbound marketing process, from generating awareness about your company to helping convert leads into customers. But the types of content you should use to achieve each of these goals depends on where your lead is in the sales cycle. How would
appreciate someone sending you buyer guides when you've only just downloaded a checklist? Here's a sketch of the buying cycle that should help you align the right content with the right stage of the buying cycle so your leads keep on loving the offers you send their way:
The prospect gets acquainted with your brand or realizes they have a need for your product/service.
The prospect identifies the problem and researches potential solutions, including your product/service.
The prospect examines the options and begins narrowing down the list of vendors.
The prospect decides from whom to buy.
Use Data to Create Lovable Content -- in Topic
Content comes in all shapes and sizes -- whitepapers, videos, webinars, ebooks, templates, kits -- you name it. While you can host an internal brainstorm session and come up with creative ideas for different content formats that you can produce, it’s important that this new content matches the needs and preferences of your target persona.
But how do you know? Well, you can certainly ask them -- an ideal time is when you're
creating your buyer personas
and performing interviews of your target audience, anyway. But we also like to use analytics to make that decision! At HubSpot, for instance, we're using our
landing page analytics
to explore how successful different types of content are in converting visitors to leads. If the conversion rate is lower than average, the marketing offer isn’t appealing enough to our audience. If you have a sense of what that format is for your business, use it to build your marketing campaign around it.
But your job doesn't end in determining the right format in which to present your offer. You also need to figure out what on earth you're going to write about. And the answer isn't, "Whatever strikes my fancy." Not if you want your leads to
In order to find what content topics capture the attention of your target audience, you should look at past data that you have access to. For instance, what are the most popular blog articles you've published? What are some of the most viewed pages on your website? Your historical performance should dictate your future direction for all new marketing content -- particularly your lead generation content. If you don’t have access to
marketing analytics that give you this type of intelligence
, look in the public domain (places like Google News, Google Trends, and Twitter Trending Topics) for popular and newsworthy industry stories. You can then piggyback on these popular topics by adding a personal spin that reflects your expertise and resonates with your audience.
Recruit a Team of Content Creators
You don’t have to be the only one creating your company’s offer content. You can (and should!) use different voices from inside your organization. Technical folks, customer service people, C-level executives, product managers, and others in your organization have a unique take on important aspects of your business, as well as different areas of expertise you can tap into. Get your coworkers to contribute by:
Asking them to co-write a whitepaper or an ebook
Interviewing them and posting short videos that share their expertise
Inviting them to give presentations or answer questions in webinars
You can also look outside your own company for help creating content. New
online content marketplaces
are springing up to connect marketers with legions of freelance writers and editors who will take on blog posts, ebooks, and other writing jobs for you. You can specify the topic, your desired style and tone, and your intended audience. And depending on the marketplace you work with, you typically don't have to pay unless you accept the finished article.
Combine text from an old whitepaper with new videos to create a multimedia ebook
Turn videos or webinars into blog posts and ebooks -- or vice versa.
Use commonly asked questions and comments from webinars to create a new ebook. These topics will directly address your prospects’ pain points.
Share all company presentations in multiple formats. Post the slides on SlideShare, upload the video on YouTube, and create a series of blog posts that dive into specific points of the presentation.
Do you have any more tips for lovable content that can help build strong marketing offers? Share it in the comments below!
Originally published Aug 29, 2012 3:30:00 PM, updated July 28 2017