Before planning a content strategy, it's crucial to fully understand where each piece of content fits in the prospect's buying journey. Even if that prospect is the leader of an evil army from Middle-earth...
So, first thing's first, the three main stages of the buying journey are.
- Awareness: The awareness stage is when the buyer discovers that they have a problem.
- Consideration: The consideration stage is where the buyer defines their problem and researches their options to solve it.
- Decision: The decision stage is when the buyer settles on a solution.
To understand what your buyers want and need, you must build a set of 'buyer personas'. For arguments sake, let's say you have five buyer personas, each of these requiring different content to help convert them from a lead to a customer.
So, five personas, each with three stages within the buyer journey. That makes at least 15 pieces of content required to fully build your inbound content strategy — better get to work!
Building a content strategy
Let's build a plan for an inbound content strategy together, right here within this blog post. First of all, we need a fictional company to base this on. So let's call them... ORC Recruitment — a recruitment agency specialising in providing evil armies with orcs. Hey, I did say 'fictional'!
A buyer persona for ORC Recruitment is 'Dark Lord Dave'. Dave doesn't have the time to search the land for new recruits anymore and is looking to employ a minion recruitment agency such as ORC Recruitment to help him find suitable servants. Dave has not used a recruitment agency before and needs educating on the possible services which could help him to build an army worthy of Mordor.
Planning the content for ORC Recruitment
It's important that ORC Recruitment create content and make it available through their website, as it's going to help Dave through his buyer journey. Below are some examples of content which ORC Recruitment could create in order to attract Dark Lord Dave to their website, and to capture his information as a lead.
1. Awareness stage content
- Ebook - Building an army worthy of Mordor
- Whitepaper - Orc hordes in 2017
- Blog article - Which Orc horde fits my Brand?
2. Consideration stage content
- Case study - Isengard in the Third Age
- FAQs from 5 Dark Lords
- Podcast - What's new in ORC Recruitment this month
3. Decision Stage content
- FREE recruitment needs consultation
- Book a visit from an ORC consultant
Best practice is to send a follow-up email to each lead once they've downloaded a piece of content. This email should offer content from the same stage of the buyer journey. A second follow-up email should be sent a few days later, but this time, offering a piece of content from the next stage along the buyer journey. This is commonly known as 'lead nurturing'.
So, ideally, Dark Lord Dave will download the ebook called 'Building an army worthy of Mordor' to gain some general knowledge on best-practices for recruiting Orcs. Then, after receiving a follow-up email, Dave will also read the blog article called 'Which Orc Horde fits my Brand?', because we all know there are more than one type of Orc, right?!
Dave will then receive a second follow up email offering a case study - 'Isengard in the Third Age', which gives him a feel for how ORC recruitment have helped an evil organisation similar to his. This helps to build trust between Dave and ORC Recruitment. A few days after downloading the case study, and after another follow-up email, Dave decides to book a visit from an ORC Recruitment consultant (sales rep) who can get the ball rolling face-to-face.
The chances are your business isn't a Recruitment agency for Orcs, and of course, inbound marketing doesn't just work for recruitment agencies! But hopefully you can now see how building a solid content foundation from an inbound marketing strategy can ensure that all bases are covered, and no content stone is left unturned. So take this example and test it out for yourself!
- 6 steps to creating a powerful buyer persona
- How to send out emails like an inbound marketing expert
- 13 ways to describe inbound marketing to anybody
- The 7 commandments of lead nurturing campaigns