For a content marketing campaign to be effective, it must be consistently done and strategically designed. What happens when writer's block strikes, and you don’t know what to post about? When you commit to a content strategy for your business, there are lots of places to tap for topics. One of the most helpful is The Buying Funnel. Here’s how:
Aside from blogging inconsistently or not blogging at all, one of the biggest mistakes people make with their content strategy is choosing to write about stuff that doesn’t matter to a reader. A few blogs here and there about the latest company party or press release do not constitute content marketing. Content marketing, done correctly, is about using data to produce a consistent flow of helpful and relevant information designed to attract people to your website, build trust and convert leads. The process of doing that is called Content Mapping.
Content Mapping matches your content strategy to the different stages in the Buyer’s Journey so that your content is relevant and helpful for consumers. The Buying Funnel is a graphical representation that demonstrates the flow of decision-making that the average buyer experiences when making a buying decision. The Buying Funnel is a pathway for creating content that consumers are looking for as they move closer to making a purchase.
Studies indicate that 87% of all buying decisions start online. That means that prospects are turning to their search engine for help. At each phase of the Buying Funnel, consumers are researching information. To do that, they're typing words – keywords - into the search bar. Different stages of the Buying Funnel = Different Questions/Phrases in the search bar. Those questions and phrases become your blog topics. The better job you do in matching your topic to your prospect’s search queries, the more easily they can find you when they go to Google for help.
There are 3 steps to a good Content Mapping strategy:
Content Mapping starts with a big picture understanding of what the overarching questions are at each stage of the Buying Funnel:
In the unawareness phase, consumers don’t know you exist and don’t know about what you offer, or the problems you solve.
Through a combination of consumer search and marketing reach, prospective customers start to become aware of your business and what you offer but are just learning about specific solutions.
In the comprehension phase, consumers are learning more about your business. They begin to understand more about what they need and how your business can provide solutions.
At this phase of the Buyer’s Journey, a prospective customer is making up their mind, becoming confident that you are the place they want to shop and find solutions.
The action phase is when the cash register rings, a phone call is made to your store, a salesperson has a conversation and shows options, and a prospect becomes a customer
Using the insurance industry as an example, consider the need for information at each stage of the Buying Funnel to brainstorm questions your target consumers are asking. Remember, it's brainstorming...so invite your team to participate. The more ideas you get, the better the results will be.
Using life insurance as the product focus, here are some examples to get you started:
Once you have lots of ideas listed, then you can go back and cull the list, narrowing it down to the most relevant for your business. Then, finesse the topics into titles that you can write about. Here is a list of potential blog titles that we've gleaned from the above brainstorming session:
And voila! You can continue to work on this topic list until you have a good 2-3 months' worth of topics. Repeat this process with each product or service you offer. It's a great way to get started.
And remember, while the actual frequency of blogs posted depends on your goals and desired ROI, we think it’s more important to make sure your topics are relevant to your target readers at different stages of the buyer’s journey. The Buying Funnel is a great place to start brainstorming for topics that will keep your content strategy fueled and on point.