Does your content support the customer journey?

My writing experience started in the days of the manual typewriter and wax-paper stencils (hands up who remembers the Roneo and Gestetner machines?)

So I honed my skills on traditional business content – like brochures, reports, press releases, catalogues and product manuals. Traditional copywriting was the exclusive and prestigious terrain of wordsmiths and journalists; some even earned celebrity status for their flair with words.

Fortunately for us drudge writers, bashing out our content in the trenches, the impact of digital opened up a whole new world of writing which catapulted us into the stimulating and creative environment of Content Marketing.

This arose out of customer demand for an online experience which has completely changed the face of business communication. Now the primary focus of digital marketers is to craft content that will attract and engage customers online while driving the customer journey from brand awareness to purchase.

So What Does Content Marketing Look Like?

Today in business we look to digital for delivering qualified leads. This means people who have already had exposure to the brand online, who are already strongly interested, and who are close to making a purchasing decision.

Did you know? In some industries up to 60% of the buying decision is made online.

Content Marketing looks at the warm-up process that customers go through before they are ready to make a decision, and the engagement that will lead to customer conversion.

We need to understand:

  • How and where do they become aware of your brand?
  • What attracts them to pay attention?
  • What will they want to see, experience or find out from you?
  • How often will you need to engage?
  • What is needed to build trust and convince them to get in touch?
  • What information will get them to convert and make a purchase?

Based on these insights, content is then crafted to hook people in at every stage of their brand experience. And to keep them coming back for more.

What Should This Content Consist Of?

We love this Content Marketing Matrix developed by Smart Insights, a UK-based agency providing digital strategy support. It plots the kinds of engagement along two pathways, from Emotional to Rational appeal, and from Awareness to Purchase. Within those two journeys there are four quadrants of engagement – Entertain, Educate, Inspire and Convince.

Within the four quadrants, Smart Insights has identified 27 different kinds of online content – and the list is by no means exhaustive. Most businesses should be incorporating several of them into their content strategies – such as articles, case studies, reviews, branded videos, endorsements, infographics, press releases and product information.

Let’s look at how this model could be applied in specific businesses, for example:

By a healthcare provider

  • Entertain: Widgets, e.g. measure your BMI, calculate your stress levels
  • Inspire: Aspirational images of healthy people and healthy lifestyle
  • Educate: Informative articles and infographics on consumer health issues
  • Convince: Webinars with health care professionals, patient testimonials

By a law firm

  • Entertain: Branded videos – interviews with legal experts on legal challenges
  • Inspire: Community forums – legal experts answer consumer questions
  • Educate: Articles on common legal issues, FAQs
  • Convince: Seminal case studies

By a restaurant

  • Entertain: Enticing images of food, aspirational images of people eating out, video cooking demos, competitions
  • Inspire: Endorsements, restaurant reviews, events
  • Educate: Recipes, cooking tips, foodie information, interviews with the chefs
  • Convince: Ratings, price guides, menus, promotions

Make Your Content About Them, Not About You

Whatever content you plan to create, it needs to start with understanding what your customers want or need, and where and how they would like to experience it. The biggest mistake you need to avoid in marketing is to communicate what you want to say – Content Marketing is all about what your customers want to hear.

At The Digital Alliance we have an expert team of people who can create engaging content for a range of marketing purposes. Contact us for a free one-hour brainstorm on what kinds of content you should consider for your digital marketing strategy.