If you follow marketing trends, you know that creating engaging content is all the rage. But as with most marketing tactics, the key to successful content marketing requires a bit of sweat and strategy. You don’t simply write a blog post and click “Publish.” You need to target each piece of content at the poor, parched prospect who not only needs information, but who also needs it served in a refreshing way.
Creating Engaging Content that Connects to Your Sales Funnel
Develop a plan for creating engaging content that is directed at all stages of your sales funnel.
TOFU: Your goal for Top-of-Funnel engaging content is to generate traffic to your website. Try blog posts that address industry-wide problems and solutions. You can also, of course, use webinars and videos to deliver the same subject matter content. Be patient. When creating content, you need to talk about the issues surrounding your product and to generate interest. Then you can link to your sales pages.
MOFU: Creating engaging content for the Middle-of-the-Funnel should be designed to nurture this fledgling relationship and generate marketing-qualified leads. You do this by answering questions and providing buying information, valuable resources, and actionable tips. Once again, the form is incidental. It can be a blog, video, webinar, ebook, infographic, podcast, or slide deck.
BOFU: Bottom-Of-the-FUnnel engaging content is aimed at converting marketing qualified leads into sales-qualified leads. To do this, you need to build trust, provide more specific buying information (e.g. price comparisons, special reports, etc.) and encourage action.
Creating Engaging Content that is Remarkable
Quality counts. Create the highest quality content possible. This is more difficult than you might realize. The constant regurgitation of the same content by multiple companies and vendors dilutes the quality significantly. After all, how many email checklists do you need to read that cover the same old steps?
More than words. Engaging content should be more than just words. Include images as appropriate to make your point.
Design matters. A well-designed, attractive ebook, slide deck, or info graphic will generate more shares and likes than something that’s thrown together.
Density matters. It’s okay to provide the full body of information, but also include quotes, subheads, sidebars, and an executive summary. This gives readers multiple access points to your information without overwhelming them.
Include a call to action. Some companies put their own information and a call to action at the beginning of piece of content. But I think it is more appropriate at the end.
Optimize for search. You’ve already identified keywords your customers are searching for, right? So make sure these keywords are featured in titles as well as in the content itself.
Make it refreshing. Although you optimize for search you don’t want to overdo it and write for search. Instead, write for the people who need the information. Let your personality show through. It doesn’t have to be dry to be professional. In fact, the best content entertains as well as educates and enriches people’s lives.
Generate New Engaging Content Ideas
Read. Attend. Participate. This is key to generating new content ideas. You need to be on the look out for content-worthy topics. Are you attending a big event? That’s news all by itself, but you can leverage in-person events more effectively by taking along a video camera and interviewing a key presenter.
Are you following thought leaders? Sometimes, in the rush to build Twitter followers, business people follow too broad a group. Then, when they look for trends, they are inundated with irrelevant information. Instead, follow people who think and share information concerning the topics you want to include in your content.
Are you listening to customer questions? Your technical support or customer support departments are answering questions daily. Sit down with these people and get an inside view into your customer’s pain points. Then provide some answers.
Promote Your Content
Publishing your content is only half the battle; you need to let people know it’s available.
Share content via email. After your content goes live, share it with your email list. Most email services can be set up to automatically send an email after a blog post publishes. Include new content in your regular email newsletters. Or set up your email with alerts that are automatically sent after each time you publish a blog post.
Share content via social. Take time to share new content through social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Similarly, make it easy for readers to share your content, using social sharing buttons. Icons embedded in your content will also help remind people to share.
If you follow this advice for creating engaging content, you have a chance to establish your own brand, engage prospects, and achieve the greatest return from your content marketing efforts.