There's so much content being produced on the web right now that I'm truly having a difficult time finding articles of value – albeit through search, social or promotion. I am shocked at how shallow many of the content marketing strategies are on corporate sites. Some just had recent news and press releases about the company, others have an array of lists, others have feature releases about their products, and others only had heavy thought leadership content.
While much of the content is well-produced, it's often uni-dimensional. In other words, the same messaging focused on the same type of visitor with the same medium… in every piece of content. In my opinion, there are multiple dimensions to a balanced content strategy.
- Persona Connection – this is one of those words that may be extremely overused in content marketing. At it's core, though, is simply whether or not you speaking to the diverse range of visitors who are coming to your site. And when I say speaking to, I mean whether or not the content that you're writing is resonating with them. We vary the content we write quite a bit on the marketing technology blog. We write for marketers from beginners to advanced… all the way to those who are advanced enough to write their own code.
- Visitor Intent – why is the visitor consuming your content? At what step in the buying cycle are they? Are they simply colleagues that are doing research and educating themselves with your advice? Or are they visitors who have budget and are ready to make a purchase? Are you varying the content to reach both? You need to provide content that is optimized for the visitor's intent.
- Mediums and Channels – Mediums are often ignored as businesses continue to post but the type of media utilized is a critical factor in delivering effective content. Are you feeding the 3 ways that visitors consume content? Visual, auditory and kinesthetic interactions are key. Whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, mindmaps, case studies, videos, emails, brochures, mobile apps, games… not all of your audience appreciates a blog post. Varying the content will help you reach a greater percentage of your audience. Varying the channel also helps… Youtube for video, Pinterest for imagery, LinkedIn for writing, etc.
To get started, make a grid on paper with those three columns – persona, intent and medium. Add the last month's worth of content as the rows and just fill in the details. Are you seeing a trend or are you seeing a multi-dimensional content strategy? Hopefully it's the latter! And you've hit the holy grail if you can align all of these with user activities that confirm your content is delivering the activity you've designed it for… especially the conversion.
Depth of Content
If there were a fourth dimension, it would be at what depth your content is. We've all seen the sites that put out a continuous stream of “5 Ways to” or “10 Surefire Methods to” and other lists. These are shallow bits of content made for quick consumption. These and other highly visual pieces of content can get shared and bring a lot of attention to your site. However, once the reader is interested, they rarely provide the in-depth content that's required to convert that reader from a visitor to a customer.
We share infographics and lists across our site because they attract a lot of readers. But to keep those readers engaged and drive them into a relationship, we have to provide deeper content – like this post! Another strategy we use with our clients is that we often start with a blog post, then work to an informational graphic, then offer a deeper dive through a whitepaper – and then lead the prospect into a demo or webinar. That's depth of content!