Today, marketing is all about making connections and building relationships - content marketing meets this criteria.

Content marketing is any type of marketing that involves the creation and distribution of relevant and valuable content to attract and engage a specified target audience with the goal of converting prospects to take a desired action. This content can be delivered in a variety of ways to include whitepapers, articles, reports, eBooks, audio books, infographics, newsletters, videos, press releases, podcasts and more.

Good content marketing works to keep you and your business at the top-of-mind. Content marketing is meant to help, not sell. Consumers today do not have time for boring, self-promoting content. Instead, great content is shared through email, social media and video with the intention of being interesting, engaging, and fun. Brands need to deliver their valuable content as digital edutainment; to educate and entertain.

Regardless of whom your ideal customer is, it is going to be challenging for you to create effective content if you do not understand your buyer’s situation. In other words, in addition to knowing who your buyer is, you must also comprehend what he cares about and the process they have to go through to make a purchase. You will need to be aware what stages throughout the buyer’s journey you need to influence in order to drive conversions and move the buyer through the sales funnel.

To develop content that converts, there are three things you need to know about your buyer:

  • What are their motivations, their pain points, and their particular role in the buying process
  • At what stage in their journey are they likely to get stuck
  • How you can get them unstuck and move them forward by solving their problem or answering their questions

The best way to understand your buyer’s journey (from being unaware to purchasing) is to create a buyer persona by analysing the buyer’s journey.

Buyer personas are detailed descriptions of the decision-makers involved in the purchase of your product or service. Developing a persona helps you to clearly see what motivates your buyers as this is vital information when it comes to creating content for them. When you develop content that speaks to their pain points, educate them and help them to overcome any unconscious objections they may have about your brand, you are able to incrementally move them through the buying process and through your sales funnel.

When it comes to establishing a buyer persona, you should gather some basic information from current customers, your sales teams, and associates or from the company database.  If you have more than one type of customer, create a persona for each one.

Develop the persona by asking the following questions:

The buyer’s title and their role in the buying process
Who exactly are you targeting within the company? What is this person’s job title and their responsibilities within the company? What is his or her budget?

Analyse the buyer’s behaviour
At this particular time, what motivates the buyer? What is the problem that he is facing that you can solve? What is keeping him or her up at night; what are the pain points? What factors will motivate this person to make a purchase? How urgently does this person need a solution?

Research the company
What is the industry? What’s the size of the company? Is it local, regional or international?

Demographic information about the buyer
What department does the buyer belong to? What are his or her primary responsibilities? Is he or she the final decision maker or a gatekeeper?

Compile as much information as you can, then combine the most relevant details and create a short description or paragraph of the buyer’s persona. Start with his name, company title, the company annual turnover and the problem that the company is looking to overcome. Then speak about the behaviours of this individual and the solution your buyer is looking for.

Once you have created your buyer personas you will have a much better understanding of what makes your buyer tick. Completing the above exercise gives you valuable insight which will then allow you to create content that resonates with the buyer throughout each phase of their buying process. It is now time for you to move your prospects from being unaware, to being aware and to a purchase.

Article by Pamela Wigglesworth, an international trainer, speaker and Managing Director of Experiential Hands-on Learning. The author of ‘Small Business Acceleration’, Pamela is engaged by SMEs and MNCs to enhance their marketing message and create an online and offline presence.