According to Content Marketing Institute, 88% of B2B and 76% of B2C marketers use content marketing. At the same time, only about 40% of marketers feel their organization is effective at content marketing.

There is a clear disconnect between what marketers hope to achieve with content and the actual results. Much of the content being produced isn’t reaching its full potential.

However, there are certain tactics you can leverage to ensure your content is making the maximum impact.

Before we jump into 3 tips on creating valuable content, let’s level set and define content marketing.

In my book Content Engine: The Growth Hacker’s Guide to Content Marketing, co-authored by Dennis Williams, we show you how to build a content strategy that can grow your business.  In the guide, we describe content marketing as follows:

Content marketing is the art of communicating with your prospects without selling them your solution. Content marketing is the art of selling the problem you solve rather than the product. Content strategy garners prospects by delivering consistent, valuable information, and your loyal audience will trust you with their business in return.

Content marketing is about producing content that creates a cohesive narrative that drives awareness, engagement, and sales.

Now that we have defined content marketing, how do you go about creating valuable content that powers your content engine?

1. Establish buyer personas

Buyer personas are representations of your ideal customer. Personas enable you to segment your audience, so you can deliver content that resonates with your target audience. You’ll be better able to ensure that your topics connect directly to the issues your audience faces.

The best way to gather insights about your target audience is by connecting directly to your customers through interviews and surveys. Additionally, you can sit with your sales team to get an idea of what they are seeing in the field. You can supplement these conversations and interviews with data from your site analytics.

There are a number of resources to help you develop your buyer personas– Hubspot, Moz, and the Content Institute all offer information on creating your buyer personas.

Once you have your buyer personas clearly defined, you can tailor your messaging to each of those personas. Even better, you can map out content along the buyer’s journey for each persona. This ensures you are delivering the most relevant content at the most optimal time. This personalization makes your content that more valuable and that more likely to convert the user.

2. Set a clear path

Great, someone read your white paper, but now what?  You don’t want the reader to close the browser and forget about you. Your goal is to keep your reader engaged on your website or blog.

To do this, you want to set a clear path for the user of where to go next.

First, include clear calls to action (CTA) that push the user toward the action you want to perform.

For instance at Augment, our aim is to get engaged readers to try our platform through a free trial. We include a visual CTA at the end of our blog posts inviting them to start their trial. These graphics are eye-catching and inviting.

augment_blog_cta

You can tailor your call to action based on the persona of the article. Not only can you tailor the wording of the CTA, but also the graphic itself, ensuring it is highly relevant to the reader. Personalization makes the CTA that much more enticing.

Your CTAs aren’t limited to the bottom of your piece of content. I recommend experimenting with the placement of call to actions. For a long form piece, you can try placing a call to action within the text in case your user doesn’t make it to the end.  Don’t forget the sidebar of your blog or website, it is prime real estate for a CTA.

Along with a clear and concise call to action, include links to related content. This encourages your user to spend more time on your site or blog, while further demonstrates your expertise in the space. Additionally, consuming more content increases the reader’s readiness to sign up or buy your product or service. It helps push them down the sales funnel.

3. Diversify your content

The key to a strong content marketing strategy is to produce diverse types of content.  In Content Engine, we layout step-by-step what goes into a successful content marketing strategy. We suggest the types of content that a content marketing plan should include are:

  •      White papers
  •      Infographics
  •      Memes
  •      Video
  •      Webinars
  •      Podcasts
  •      User-generated content
  •      Newsletters

Diversity is important for a number of reasons.

First, it enables you to reach your audience across a number of different channels. For instance, a meme is eye-catching on social media while a newsletter places your content directly in your prospect’s inbox  Diverse content allows you to have a multitude of touchpoints across a wide variety of channels.

Second, you can repackage content you have already created. You can take a piece of content that has performed well and revamp it– That whitepaper can become an engaging slideshare.  This allows you to extend the life and value of well-performing content.

Finally, different types of content are better suited different parts of the buyer’s journey.  An infographic helps build brand awareness and attract users to your platform.  This is content best-suited for the top of the funnel.  While a case study demonstrates your value and expertise in the space, which is ideal for prospects later in the buyer journey.

Ultimately, all types of content should complement one another and work in tandem to propel you towards your broader business goals.

lindsay-boyajian

Lindsay Boyajian is the chief marketing officer of Augment. Augment, backed by Salesforce Ventures, is the leading augmented reality as a service platform. Lindsay is the author of Content Engine: The Growth Hacker’s Guide to Content Marketing and she was a 2016 finalist for Everstring’s Discovery Awards for Emerging Marketers in Tech. For more, follow @Lboyajian.