Perhaps the most strategically valuable aspect of content marketing is context. When executed effectively, it reframes the everyday experiences, challenges and opportunities of audiences in deeply personal terms. In this way, content marketing creates a stronger and clearer brand value proposition earlier in the buyer journey. Audiences have a clearer understanding about just how and where a new partnership or solution implementation can make a difference for their business.
All of this means little, however, without content built with your audiences’ experiences in mind. Content that is empathetic, that reflects a shared value system and prioritizes trust will almost always resonate best. If your audiences don’t actually believe that your expertise is relevant to them, content marketing is basically akin to shouting into the ether—although a much more expensive version of it.
In our last blog in this series, we explored PAN’s strategic approach to assessment and discovery to help your content have the biggest impact in your marketing ecosystem. Today we’ll take a look at how to actually build content that is actionable and taps into that emotionally-driven value for audiences. We’ll also show you how to map it to micro-moments in the funnel. If you’re looking to build standout content that rises above the noise, here’s a few ways to get started.
3 steps for creating customer-first content:
Infuse thought leadership to raise trust
When it comes to leveraging thought leaders for a content marketing program, there should be no separation of church and state. This might seem counterintuitive at first, given that the most effective thought leadership strategies are often the most vendor neutral. But that is exactly why subject matter experts are such a powerful tool in your content marketing arsenal. Created on the foundation of expertise, audiences are more likely to resonate with the voices of thought leaders when they appear in more marketing-friendly content like earned media articles or brand-owned social media. When they work together, they can have a significant impact at the awareness stage.
Rethink personas to ensure consistent value-add
Premium content has long been a strong tool when audiences reach consideration. Assets like infographics, eBooks, or microsites are resources that can further personalize the journey and put brand value into greater context. That said, buyer personas are not as static as they once were. Particularly within the B2B realm, the power dynamic has been shifting away from CIOs or CFOs toward the end user. Furthermore, external factors—remote work stress, economic tumult—mean that many different audiences can wear multiple hats, often at the same time. Therefore, your content is a tool to help nurture leads with your core personas through flexibility, delivering exactly what they need the moment their priorities shift.
Ensure consistency across assets
The best content marketing strategies are far from unilateral campaigns. They integrate brand-owned content and also bring in other tactics, such as a Voice of the Customer (VOC) programor other third-party validation from partners, analysts or influencers. Since these “external” factors are particularly effective at the point of final decision, it’s paramount that messages align perfectly to the tune audiences have been hearing from your brand up until this point. Consistency reinforces themes your content has worked so hard to build and makes sure components are actually working together symbiotically.
Content marketing, uniquely among its peers, requires the highest level of audience consideration. In a landscape of white noise and limitless volume, audiences will always show up for value. Consistent, persona-driven content is the difference between your audience spending 10 seconds consuming your content or 10 minutes. It’s perhaps the highest risk, highest reward strategy in marketing today. But these days, aren’t customers worth it?
This post is the second in a four-part series discussing all-things modern content marketing as part of a comprehensive, digitally agile framework PAN developed to serve as the cornerstone of your CM strategy. Data-driven and customer-centric, the firm’s five-pillar approach not only helps brands identify which content excites its audiences most but also answers why they are so hungry for it. Stay tuned for the next post in the series on optimizing your content distribution strategy.
This article originally appeared on the PAN Communications blog; reprinted with permission.