Content is king. Web copy, articles, videos, ad campaigns and the like are in many cases replacing face-to-face conversations with prospects and customers. Regularly posting educational, trend-based and insightful information on your website not only demonstrates to your audiences that you understand their business needs but that they can rely on you to be the expert on the subject matter. Every organization has inherent value…it’s why the organization exists. Content defines this value. When given away in bits and pieces free-of-charge, you can position yourself as an industry authority — and the obvious choice for customers and prospects making business determinations. Having compelling content can help drive potential customers to make purchase decisions and sway them from the competition. However, content creation does not come without a significant investment of time. At Gravity, we use a tool called a content map to overcome these obstacles. Using this map will help your organization bring focus and structure to your content marketing efforts.
To lay the groundwork, you will first want to define your objectives. An overall objective will focus both your development of a content map and the execution of a content marketing program. The objective of your content map should align with the business case for your content marketing program. Secondly, define your audiences. Websites attract three types of audiences, each with their own distinct needs. Cater to each audience directly through the content topic and where it is placed on your website.
- Early – These people may have never heard of your company before and are often overlooked during the website development process. Feature content on your home page, blog, and ePublication to help them form an opinion about your company and your industry expertise.
- Considering – These people are familiar with your industry or the solutions you provide but needs to be able to vet your reputation and conduct some cost/benefit comparisons with your competitors. Offer information on product or service pages that helps them do this.
- Existing – These people are looking to contact you, download resources or research additional products for purchase. It is important to keep this audience updated on tips, company changes, product launches, and customer successes.
Great content is only as good, memorable, or valuable as the information and advice it provides. For this reason, rely on your subject matter experts to provide content. Create a list of go-to subject matter experts at your company who can provide the opinion, facts, resources, or general background information. This will create efficiency in your content writing process and help you plan ahead when mapping out your content for a given time.
One of the most important aspects of the content map planning is setting yourself apart from the competition. List out your company differentiators – the reasons why a prospect should choose you – and why customers continue to work with you. This list will help drive content creation and copy within each content piece.
To begin planning the content for your map, place yourself in your client’s shoes. Content needs to provide information of value (and depth) as opposed to a self-promotional (and limited) sales pitch. When brainstorming potential article topics, consider the factors that help you as a reader determine that an article is educational, a resource is credible, or an expert is quotable. Create a list of 20-25 potential article topics. These topics can be similar in nature or across the board. View our white paper to determine considerations while brainstorming topics. Once you have your list, sort the topics into potential blog posts, website copy, newsletter articles, case studies, or white papers.
After concepts have been discussed and brainstormed, develop a schedule in which the content will be written and deployed. All outreach is most effective when it is delivered at the same time every day, week, or month, and when your audience is most likely available to consume it. When developing a schedule, consider all the steps that need to be accounted for in a content production process. This gives team members consistency and ensures due dates are clearly defined for accountability. Keep in mind the content map should be somewhat fluid, meaning if something comes up, content can be altered. While adding content to the website, keep SEO best practices top of mind as websites that are regularly updated with content tend to rank higher in searches.
Colorful language and clever analogies will only get you so far in the pursuit of a meaningful exchanges with your target audiences. For an effective content marketing program, you need to think more “Washington Post” and less “Mad Men.” Continue to execute, measure, and improve you content map as you move along the journey. For more in depth help into organizing and preparing a content map view our “Developing a Content Map” whitepaper here.
Key Takeaways for creating an effective and efficient content map:
- Set goals to ensure you are accomplishing your objective. Internal goals could relate to efficiency and quality, and external goals could measure qualified lead generation.
- Websites attract three types of audiences. Cater to each audience directly through the content topic and where it is placed on your website.
- Ideal subject matter experts are those who a reporter would want to interview, others learn the ropes from, and/or have many years of industry experience.
- List out your company differentiators, the reasons why a prospect should choose you, and why customers continue to work with you.
- A website that is regularly updated with fresh, relevant information will be favored by search engines.
In addition to our Content Map whitepaper, check out this webinar from content expert, Elizabeth Hockerman.