You already know the truth behind that well-worn phrase, ‘Content is King’, but you also know that getting that content right gets more difficult with time. New platforms and channels, ever-changing trends and tastes, all present challenges to content marketers. With 82% of marketers using content marketing on a regular basis, it’s never been more important to get things right.
You’ll also know that even the best ideas don’t always equate to the desired results. If that great idea doesn’t feel relevant to your target audience, then there’s a good chance that the results will be disappointing. So, how can you plan your content to meet your targets’ tastes and needs? And not only general tastes and needs but how they evolve as your customers move through the buyer’s journey.
The answer is to utilize a content marketing matrix that allows you to match your content planning to the different stages of your marketing. Just what is a content marketing matrix, though? What difference can it make to your content marketing and why should you use one if you are not already?
What is a Content Marketing Matrix?
In this evolving age of UCaaS, companies – and marketers in particular – have access to a wide range of tools that can make their jobs easier. A content marketing matrix is one such tool that helps marketing teams lay out a ‘roadmap’ of the content they plan to use and any related content ideas so that it meets their demographic targets’ needs throughout the buying journey.
Marketers must be aware of the buyer’s journey as it can decide the primary content people want to see at each stage. The number of stages in this journey can vary according to the source you read but we will settle on the following five:
- Awareness: the customer becoming aware of your product and your brand. At this stage, you want to educate people and help them to associate you with a need (either current or future).
- Consideration: In this stage, the customer may have narrowed their choice down to a small number of brands/products and they are now examining each in more detail (price, features, case studies, etc.)
- Decision: the customer feels ready to make a purchasing decision and will look at some final details such as customer reviews, comparative articles, free trials, etc.
- Retention: At this stage, your sale is made, but you want more than that; you want the customer to become a regular customer who returns to you again and again, so your focus moves to customer service and support.
- Advocacy: Loyal customers make great brand advocates and can bring new customers to your brand. This can be helped by loyalty or referral schemes, special offers, and newsletters.
As you can see from the details of the journey, the type of content you need to produce will differ greatly at each stage. A content marketing matrix can help you plan and track what content is most relevant to each stage. You could think of yourself as a dating agency, though in this case you are matching your customers (and potential customers) with the content that most suits them.
For example, if you were creating content about the ideal mobile app for business, you might create initial content (the awareness stage) such as blog posts or ebooks or white papers that educate the potential buyer on what each app may do (and why it’s better than competitors).
A content marketing matrix allows your marketers and content creators to generate ideas and content that is best suited to your specific demographics and to the stage of the buyer’s journey they are at. Sounds simple enough, right? In theory, yes, but to work properly, it needs to be applied properly.
Your sales and marketing funnels always begin with lead generation. Those leads could come from a variety of sources. Those sources could be a social media ad, a guest blog on a website, or even a viral video on tik tok. What your lead generating content is going to depend on two major factors; your demographic target and your product type.
For example, if you are marketing a video game, then your target audience is going to be very different from what it would be if you were marketing technology for communication in enterprises. With the former, you may decide on content that includes in-game footage and you may choose to post on relevant social media groups and different platforms,
With the latter, however, you will likely be dealing with a more technical minded audience. They will want to know much more detail such as pricing plans, scalability, ability to integrate with other apps, and so on. Thus, you may decide that detailed blog posts (such as ‘Why XX is the best enterprise communications solution’) or white papers outlining the solution’s performance may be more appropriate.
Identifying what your main target audience is and where they are most likely to see your content is an essential step in generating leads. After all, advertising that video game on a platform such as LinkedIn is unlikely to generate the sort of leads and sales you are hoping for. Using a content marketing matrix can help you plan and track where best to generate leads.
Content may be King, but it would be a King without a country if you didn’t have an audience. By utilizing a content marketing matrix, you place that audience at the center of all your content planning and creation. What sort of content does your audience want and need? Those are the two most essential questions your marketers and content creators need to ask.
Knowing what they want and need means that you can create better content, better in terms of quality and better in terms of meeting their needs. You are recognizing that while the different steps of the buyer’s journey may be common to all, the details within each stage can vary according to the type of customer and the type of product.
A customer with an interest in android performance apps is going to want (and need) very different content to that wanted by a customer looking for a mountain bike. By recognizing and meeting those different needs, you are not only fulfilling customer desires, you are also fulfilling your own marketing goals.
Your content marketing matrix means you always keep your focus on those all-important customers. You may have what seems like the best content marketing idea in the history of marketing, but if it doesn’t meet the needs of your demographic targets, then it is not suitable for your overall goals.
There can be a big difference between creating great content and creating great AND appropriate content. Because you can have your content marketing matrix in visual format, it is easier to see that the content you are creating is appropriate to the stage of the buyer’s journey. This means you are more likely to be creating the sort of content that customers want and need.
For example, maybe you are getting great results at most of the stages of your content, up to and including converting to actual sales. But maybe in the last stage of the buyer’s journey, advocacy, you are getting disappointing results. Why is that? If that is the only area where results are disappointing, you can look at the content you are posting and identify where it falls short.
Given that some 88% of people trust word of mouth recommendations by family or friends, advocacy can be a huge driver for future lead generation and sales. This means that it can be an essential area where you have to get your content right. That content can, in many cases, be personalized, and can include advance notice of new products with special offers, loyalty schemes, referral schemes, and other content that encourages customers to share onwards.
Let’s be honest, you’re not going to get everything right the first time. Marketing and content creation can be about trial and error, although as you move forward, your success rate should increase exponentially. That means you want to be able to identify what content has worked well and resonated with your customers and what has fallen short of their, and your, expectations.
A content marketing matrix allows you to add to your identified buyer’s journey by focusing on quantitative evidence of what has worked for you and what hasn’t. This allows you to be flexible in your content creation, both in terms of what you originally post and how you adjust and tweak content as you move forward with your marketing plans.
Identifying mistakes in content creation is as important as identifying mistakes in redirects that can affect traffic and SEO. Mistakes happen, but catching them as early as possible and fixing them is important. Utilizing a content marketing matrix means you see the evidence of what is not working and can move to quickly fix it and change (or adjust) the relevant content.
When you make your initial marketing plan, there will be certain KPIs that you will be looking to see significant results in. You may have an initial primary focus on increasing conversions but also a secondary focus on customer retention. After all, it can cost your company five times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one.
By having a content marketing matrix at the center of your marketing planning, it can help you keep goals and efforts closely aligned. That alignment can help ensure that every piece of content you create and post matches what customers need at their particular stage of the buyer’s journey.
It can also allow you to change focus when needed. If your conversions and sales figures are high but retention figures are low, you can look at the content you are producing at the retention stage and examine how you can change it to improve that particular KPI. The beauty of the content marketing matrix is that it gives you an accurate view of the quality of content produced for each and every stage,
Outsiders often think marketing and content creation is easy when the truth is very different. There are many different levels of marketing to consider and they can include everything from growth hacker marketing to the type of content your customers prefer. It can be a complicated process that involves careful planning before, during, and after.
In some cases, an infographic can both educate and entertain, fulfilling more than one role of your content planning. In other cases, a video or white paper can serve to educate and inform, such as a simple ‘how to’ video that will demonstrate to customers how well a product may benefit them and how easy it is to set up and use.
Working in a digital era with all the benefits of cloud communications often means you can make decisions in real time. Yet at the same time, there is more to consider, more to analyze, and more to work on than ever before. From planning to creation to scheduling, the whole process of content marketing is now more complicated than it has ever been, even when you have more tools to assist you with tasks.
Combining a content marketing matrix with the speed of digital communications can mean that making changes can happen quicker than previously, enabling you to improve results in the same time it takes to sign a legally binding electronic signature. If you are having any problems with your content planning or results, maybe it’s time to start using a content marketing matrix.