Do you ever feel like everybody is selling some pro marketing tip or secret method that will make you successful? It’s tempting to try to use every inbound marketing technique out there.
Don’t do it, you’ll drive yourself nuts.
But with so many inbound marketing techniques to choose from, what type of content should you focus on creating?
The answer is that there is no one type of content that you should offer. What you create should be a result of who you are trying to reach, what their problems are, and whether or not they know about you yet.
Get To Know Your Potential Customer
This is where buyer personas (fake people who only exist on paper and represent the demographics and interests of your ideal customer) come in handy.
If you don’t have any yet, use your website analytics or a tool like Alexa.com to learn about the people who already visit your website. Start with basic information like gender, age and education level. Then, use that information as a guide.
For example, long-form blog posts or a detailed white paper would be appropriate for a highly-educated crowd, but younger readers would do better with short how-to posts or videos.
As you start creating content, always remember that anything that you create should be useful to your potential customer.
In her bestselling book Everybody Writes, author and marketing expert Ann Handley advises, “Empathy for the customer experience should be at the root of all of your content, because having a sense of the people you are writing for and a deep understanding of their problems is key to honing your craft.”
Keep Your Business Goals in Mind
You not only want to know who you are writing for, and what their problems are, but you also want to keep in mind the business or personal goals that are driving your content. Those might include:
- Raising awareness of your brand
- Establishing yourself as an authority
- Growing your email list
- Attracting prospective customers
- Educating existing customers
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Every time you create a new piece of content, focus on one or two of these goals. Review the finished product and ask yourself: Does it fulfill the goals you set at the start?
The Different Types of Content
Here is an overview of different types of content you could create, and why:
How-to Content and Informational Blog Posts: These are excellent tools to help you build brand awareness and establish yourself as an industry authority. HubSpot found that long-form posts are the most-shared, but depending on your audience’s education level and interests, short posts can also be effective. Mix it up.
Original Research: Some people just love numbers and hard data – it’s how they make decisions. Don’t neglect this portion of your audience. Even if you don’t do any of your own research, write a few “pillar” blog posts that are in-depth, full of data, and highly useful to your prospective customer.
White Papers: What is a white paper, anyway? Generally, it’s a guide or breakdown of a topic or problem that your potential customer has. Its goal isn’t to sell anything, just provide a ton of value. Use them to showcase your expertise and build customer trust, and offer them as “content upgrades” in exchange for an email address to help build your subscriber list.
Case Studies: Do you read testimonials and product reviews before you buy something? Of course you do, and you can bet your potential customers do, too. Case studies prove that your product or service works, and that there are other, real human beings who will vouch for it.
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube – they all have their pros and cons, but they are all ways to help people find your brand and get to know you. Social media is a great place to show some personality and interact directly with your audience, and to publicize blog other marketing collateral like blog posts and case studies.
Remember that there is no one right type of content, the same way that you don’t just have one type of customer. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
What kind of content do you create for your customers? Let me know in the comments. I read every one.
If you need help crafting your content, consider using a content marketing platform like Blabberjax™. We handle every aspect of your internet presence from strategy and content writing to marketing execution. Learn more here!