In comedian John Robins’ ‘Hot Shame’ stand-up show, he performs a very funny 20-minute routine on how he spent hours researching dehumidifiers online which brought him to tears. It’s funny because we’ve all been there – perhaps not researching dehumidifiers but something else which has caused us to do a deep dive into the internet, only to come out less sure than when we went in.

Sat there watching the routine with my content marketing cap on, I couldn’t help but think about how Robins had summed up just how impossible it can be to form a clear opinion of a brand or a product among the sea of information on the internet.

It’s on brands to provide a bit of clarity for customers so that they can make their purchase with greater confidence – minus any tears, ideally. The answer lies in creating relevant and valuable content; leading customers down a path which just so happens to lead to one logical solution: your solution, of course.

Creating content that cuts through the noise and speaks to customers is a challenge for any business – but especially for startups who are usually working with fewer resources and a more modest platform.

Strategy is key. A well-defined content strategy – or roadmap – ensures that you’re maximising your budget by only creating content that is tied to goals.

65% of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy vs. 14% of the least successful (CMI)

What does an effective content strategy look like?

We make no bones about it when we speak to clients: a lot of work needs to go into the making of an effective content strategy. If it was something you could cut corners on, we wouldn’t be in business.

Here’s some of what goes into a content strategy:

  • The specific people you’re targeting with each piece of content
  • What questions your content will answer for your audience
  • The goals you hope to achieve with content marketing
  • What unique value your content brings for your audience
  • The format of each piece of content
  • The channels where you’ll promote content
  • How you’ll schedule and manage creation and publication
  • How you’ll measure the success of your content marketing

Those initial workshops, where you’ll add some meat to the bones above, will go a long way to ensuring that your content efforts won’t be in vain and you have some success in encouraging your target audience to move seamlessly through your marketing funnel.

From our experience, those who don’t spend enough time defining their buyer personas, content goals and audience pain points are usually left scratching their heads 12 months down the line – wondering why content marketing isn’t providing the results that it promised.

60% of businesses with a documented content strategy consider their organization to be effective at content marketing vs only 32% of businesses with a verbal strategy (CMI)

They’re relying on guesswork rather than putting the hard graft into what content they should be creating. For example, instead of digging into internal and external data to draw their buyer personas, they’re working off their assumptions.

If you try to cut corners, your results will be hit and miss at best. You have to truly understand your target audience and their pain points. Then you can identify content gaps to fill which will turn heads to the service or product you offer, ensuring that any customer journey you map out is aligned with your goals.

Only then can you start to think about planning and producing content.

Content for each stage of the funnel

After weeks of setting the groundwork, it’s time to agree on what type of content you need and where it should go in respect of the customer journey. The fact you’ve put so much time into formulating your content strategy ensures you won’t be creating content for content’s sake.

You’d be amazed by how many businesses come to us with a content idea that is destined to fall into the void and not be seen by their target audience. They want to create something that has been done a hundred times before, having failed to put the time into conducting a gap analysis and understanding customer pain points.

Not only does your content need a unique element, you also need to ensure that you’re creating content for each stage of the marketing funnel.

Also called a content marketing funnel, its three stages can be labelled as:

  • Discovery (top of the funnel) – when a lead first discovers your brand or the product you’re selling
  • Consideration (middle of the funnel) – when a qualified lead (or prospect) decides to find out whether your product or service is the right fit or not, often comparing it against others in the market
  • Purchase (bottom of the funnel) – when the prospect gathers the last bit of information they need before deciding to buy. The prospect is now a customer.

To help your audience to convert into customers, you should create and implement content for each stage of the marketing funnel, from discovery to purchase. The graphic below gives you a general idea of what content goes where in respect of the funnel:

With all your content ideas agreed and ready to be brought to life, it’s about deciding on a process to make this happen in the most effective and efficient way possible.

In our experience, the best formula is combining the expertise that sits within your startup with the know-how of a content partner.

You’re going to need to create a lot of content to get the results you want. Companies that publish 16 blog posts or more a month receive 3.5 times the traffic compared to companies that blog less than four times a month (HubSpot).

For most startups, they simply don’t have the capacity to create that much content. Therefore, outsourcing your content production to experts who have made it their speciality to craft engaging and well-written copy quickly is essential.

A content partner will not only be able to sell your expertise in an effective way, they know what platforms to utilise to amplify your voice.

Here at Q Content, we can help you deliver content that your users actually need, at the right time, using the right language and format.

If you’re looking for a long-term strategic partner or simply production support, and you don’t believe in producing content for content’s sake, we could be the agency for you.

Ben Hollom

December 17, 2020