Be an Inbound Marketing Hero
This blog post is the third in our series of posts designed to help you progress from inbound marketing wannabe to your brand’s inbound marketing hero. The first post “Inbound Marketing Step 1: Is Your Brand Ready to Start Inbound Marketing?” addressed ensuring you and your team have committed to a winning brand strategy and brand systems. The second post “Inbound Marketing Step 2: Be Clear on Your Audience” covered the importance of refining and further segmenting your brand audience to be clear on which audience or audience to target for inbound marketing. With Step 1 and Step 2 complete, you are now ready to begin creation of an inbound marketing content strategy.
Inbound marketing is a brand marketing strategy that focuses on having customers and potential customers find you. The heart of inbound marketing is using digital media to publish highly valued content that is magnetic to your target audience and that helps your audience decide whether to buy or recommend your solution. Creating your content strategy involves considering your solution through the fresh eyes of your target audience, thinking about the questions that they have and identifying the information that they want to know.
No Content Strategy, No Inbound Marketing Success
To have repeated, ongoing and scalable success at generating high value content, you need an inbound marketing content strategy. While you can expect to refine and pivot your content strategy over time, it is essential that you take the time to develop a content strategy with your target audience in mind. The content strategy should address:
- the categories of topics which will provide real value to your target audience; and
- an initial parking lot of topic ideas.
To create an effective content strategy, ensure that you think about the topics and types of content from the point of view of your target audience (and not yours). Forget what you want to say about your brand and your solutions, it is critical to think about content from the point of view of your audience. You should consider content which covers what your audience wants to know at the different stages of the buying and decision making journey – from problem or need identification, consideration of alternative solutions, selection and buying decision and after-sale support and use of your solution.
Developing your inbound marketing content strategy may be an area where working with content strategy specialists provide key insights. You and your team may simply be too knowledgeable and too close to your solution to see it through the fresh eyes of your target audience.
However you decide to develop your inbound marketing content strategy, the process requires thinking about your target audience (or audiences) for inbound marketing and answering the following questions.
- What is their need or problem?
- What are their concerns?
- How sophisticated are they in terms of technical terms, jargon and industry knowledge? Do they crave basic technical information?
- Does your target audience have different concerns at different points in their buying journey?
- What are the questions that you dread being asked about your solution?
- What information is your audience not getting from you and your competitors?
- What would make it easier for them to understand and assess solutions, both your solution and your competitors?
- What would make it easier for them to buy a solution, hopefully yours?
- What are the questions they are asking? What questions do customer support, sales or other front-liners frequently encounter?