It’s Monday morning and you are getting ready to present your content marketing strategy for the following month. Are you ready to energize your team with the leads you’ve generated from your inbound marketing? If your Monday morning marketing meeting is causing you stress on Sunday afternoon you are not alone.
According to HubSpot’s 2017 Inbound report, 63 percent of marketers list “generating leads and site traffic” as one of their top marketing challenges. Blog articles and digital content are the key drivers of web traffic.
Is your inbound and content strategy getting stale or not delivering the results that you expect? Here are a few things to consider and some ways you can breathe new life into your plan.
You’ve lost focus and stopped writing for your persona.
It happens. We lose sight of our audience and what they want to hear. Or, we get into an outbound marketing mindset and we push information on our audience in the hope that we convince them to purchase our products or services before they are ready or even interested. In any case, it’s time to revisit your personas. And who better to talk to than your current happy customers? Reach out to them. Talk to them about their roles and any new obstacles they face.
The decision-making process for your product or services may have changed, become more complex and a new persona is now involved in the process. Persona development isn’t a one-time action, so it is important to reevaluate them. When considering a content piece, ask the important question, “Would my persona find this content valuable?” If your answer isn’t yes, then reconsider the piece.
Who are your negative personas? Marketing professionals will dedicate time and research to develop their positive personas, but make the mistake of ignoring negative personas. One quick way of identifying a negative persona is to look at your sales history. Do you have an opportunity that resulted in a sale, but your company actually lost money on it? Make sure your content isn’t attracting an audience that isn’t a good fit for your organization.
Is your content strategy in line with the goals of the sales organization?
Sales and marketing often have a love-hate relationship. The lack of understanding regarding the importance of the two teams often results in misunderstandings that can affect the customer. That’s why it is important for sales and marketing to have a close alignment. In fact, companies that have strong sales and marketing alignment generate 40 percent more sales than companies that don’t. This team has direct contact with your personas so they will have a perspective on what content will appeal to them. Meet with this team on a regular basis and be clear on what constitutes a qualified lead. You will find your inbound more effective and the leads that are generated are more likely to receive follow-up from the sales team and convert.
Are you requesting too much information on your landing page forms?
We may want to collect as much information as we can on a form, but our audience will decide what information they want to give up based on the value they perceive in the content piece and the stage they are in the buyer’s journey. When creating your form and landing page, it’s important to think about what information you really need to have – even on the most valuable content pieces.
A research report or an extensive customer case study is a very valuable content piece. In this case, it is acceptable to ask for a telephone number, company name, and title. However, if the delivery of the report is digital, your audience may be annoyed if you ask them to provide their street address. So if you are not getting conversions, it may be your form. Here’s another tip. Don’t say “submit form” say “click here” instead. According to HubSpot, “click here” has a 30 percent higher conversion rate.
You’ve run out of fresh information and your audience can tell.
Here are a few tips to help you with topic ideas.
Do a job search on your personas
In addition to reaching out to your sales team and customers, do a job search on your persona on one of the job boards like Indeed or LinkedIn. Hiring managers take great care when writing job descriptions. They have challenges and need enthusiastic people to help them solve them. Does your product or service address the needs in this particular area? Are you a subject matter expert in that area? If you can offer information and insight and it is in line with your company offering – write about it. Offer a tip sheet.
Check out the industry tradeshows that relate to your company.
Who is speaking at them? What are the topics? Speaker panels and topics are chosen very carefully by conference organizers. They know that speaking sessions should focus on industry trends to encourage people to attend the show. The topics are there for you. If you can offer thought leadership – and it appeals to one of your personals – you’ve got your topic!
You have subject matter experts (SME) in your company but they are busy and may not have the inclination to write.
That’s OK, you can. Here’s an easy way to create articles. Identify three questions related to your topic where the SME has expertise. Interview your expert and use voice memos on your phone to record their answers. This makes it easy to listen and ask follow-up questions. If they are willing to answer the questions in an email, that works too. You will have the content for your article, and your expert will be pleased to offer their expertise.
One last item you should consider to improve your conversions is video. If you are not creating video content, then you should consider it as an important part of your content strategy. We will discuss video content marketing and “Building a Case for Increasing Your Video Marketing Budget” in an upcoming blog post.