There’s a lot to like about being a brand journalist at Kuno Creative, but one of my favorite things is that, at the start of each new month, I know (for the most part) what my deliverables for that month will be. I’m a planner, you see, and knowing exactly what’s expected of me early on helps me better plan my month. But as all planners know, something inevitably throws the plan off course. You’re asked to attend meetings on short notice; someone on your team is taken ill for several days; your boss assigns you a new high-priority project.
You, no doubt, know the feeling. You try to roll with the punches while sticking to the plan, but, inevitably, something needs to be pushed back. You try not to let anything slip through the cracks, but what started as a delay of a couple days becomes weeks (or months!). Suddenly, the project you were ignoring is having negative effects on your overall marketing efforts.
In my experience, there are three content marketing projects marketers like yourself try ardently to complete but, for one reason or another, get pushed back:
Buyer personas are examples of the real buyers who influence or make decisions about the products or services you market. Buyer personas go beyond outlining audience demographics to explain how, when and why your buyers make decisions you want to influence. Therefore, developing your buyer personas is the essential first step for strategic content marketing. Put it this way: If content marketing is a pie, buyer personas are the flour. Sure flour isn’t the sexiest ingredient, but it’s the ingredient that kicks off every delicious recipe—the one that makes your pie appealing to the folks you’re baking for.
Marketers know they should develop buyer personas, but it’s a project that often gets delayed for two reasons. First, developing buyer personas takes time. At Kuno Creative, we allot 4-6 weeks for our buyer insight process. (Between rounding up interviewees and comparing and analyzing answers, we need it.) Second, many marketers are unfamiliar with how to develop buyer personas. Sure you can find cheat sheets and how-to articles, but those cannot compare to having experience in buyer persona development and having a proven process to follow.
Marketers are quick to identify their websites as something that needs updating. Often, however, they focus more so on redesigning the website than re-strategizing the content. It’s true the average visitor stays on your website less than a minute. It’s also true the look of the website is a big part of what makes a website “sticky.” But ultimately, relevant content that speaks to buyers’ pain points is what keeps people on your site initially and keeps them coming back again and again.
Web copy and content should speak to buyers. If you’re thinking about redesigning your website, do not put web copy and content second to design. Strategizing and writing web copy are the first two steps to creating a website that converts quality leads and drives sales.
According to MarketingProfs, 93 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing in some form; however, only 42 percent say they are effective at content marketing. Of those who say they are ineffective at content marketing, 84 percent do not have a documented content strategy. Successful content marketing begins with strategy. You cannot prioritize content output (hosting X webinars per quarter, publishing X blogs per month, posting to social media X times per day, etc.) over your ultimate marketing and sales goals. You need to connect all of your content efforts to nurture leads through the sales funnel.
Why is content strategy ignored? The key again is time. To quote myself, “strategy takes time, and if you don’t have the time to clearly lay it out (and ensure it’s being followed), it often becomes disjointed.”
When the content marketing projects you’re ignoring begin to have a negative impact on your marketing efforts, in many cases, you simply have to power through to get everything done. (And you thought your all-nighter days were over!) But remember that’s not your only (or even your best) option. Turning to an experienced content marketing agency for help developing buyer personas, updating web copy and content or connecting content strategy can help you refocus on your plan without hindering your long-term sales and marketing goals.
What content projects have you been ignoring? Share with us in the comment section below.