Designing content is important for any type of marketing and as business has shifted online, the relevance of website copy has only increased.
Whether writing for a blog, website page or a social media post, content must be planned and crafted with care and attention to detail.
It’s not an overstatement to say writing great content is both a science and an art. Words have power, and content that is constructed in the right way can create amazing results.
For a more detailed breakdown of writing content, then check out how to write the best website content.
Here, we are looking at the overview of content marketing and where it usually fits into the business model.
It is vital to understand the importance of content and also to understand the importance of designing content for your marketing.
The purpose of designing content for your marketing campaign
So what is it for? Simply put, the purpose of content copy is to support a business strategy – usually (but not always) in sales and marketing; it is one part of a much bigger machine, albeit a very important one. But content can also be used to aid any other part of the business as well, such as customer service, branding, help documentation, etc.
Engaging with your customer is the lifeblood of any company, however, your customers and their needs are always changing – and we have seen this happen faster in 2020 than at any previous time.
Splento has produced a free report on brand engagement, explaining what you can do to re-engage with your customers in this post-pandemic world.
It’s completely free and is downloadable by clicking below:
As you should already be aware, customers go through different phases of the sales process (or funnel – more on this below) and therefore you will have different types of content for each different stage.
Regardless of the phase, however, the purpose of the content remains the same. Attract, inform, generate interest, develop desire, lead the customer onto the next stage by prompting them to take action. Sometimes the content purpose is just one or two of those, sometimes it is all of them.
Additionally, there are various types of copy – articles, web pages and social media have already been mentioned. But there is also advertising copy, emails, web pop-ups, reviews, opinion pieces, case studies, customer reviews, comparisons and many others.
Content is a wide net that is cast, initially to catch attention, but always fishing for more. And just like with real fishing, you need to know what you are trying to catch in order to do it well.
If you are at the top of the sales funnel, for example, then you are casting the widest net and are trying to catch the attention of anyone with even a passing interest in your product or service.
To do this well you need to be visible on search engine results, and to achieve that you need well-designed copy, the right keywords and have something to say, said using the right words.
Content and search classifications
Search engines will crawl your post and try to determine what it is about, and what kind of information it carries, before deciding when it should be listed on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Broadly, Google and other search engines will define a search as one of three search categories:
- Navigational – where the user is wanting to visit a specific website (i.e. they search for “Splento”)
- Transactional – where the user is looking to make a purchase or order a service (i.e. “book a photographer”).
- Informational – here, the user is searching for information, instructions or opinions (i.e. they search “how important is content marketing?”).
In a large majority of cases, content marketing is concerned with attracting informational searches; the aim of the text is to position itself as an authoritative source of information, building brand awareness for your business, but most importantly – answering the question that brought the user to your page in the first place.
There is not a right or wrong way to design the content – but ideally, it needs to be creative and most certainly needs to offer something that similar articles elsewhere do not. So be unique, leave a positive impression on the reader and then invite them onto the next stage of your marketing process with an attractive Call to Action (CTA).
For informational posts, you are not trying to make a sale here – you are marketing.
Designing content marketing for sales funnels
When content is written for the marketing team, its aim is that of the marketing department – to generate sufficient leads for the sales team.
Sales funnels have three different distinct stages, and each requires a different type of marketing content:
- Top of the Funnel – General reviews, information, ‘top tips’ lists, ‘how to’ posts, interviews and opinion pieces.
- Middle of the Funnel – Usable guides, case studies, instructional posts.
- Bottom of the Funnel – Client success stories, competitor comparisons, etc…
Of course, the specifics of a business sales funnel will vary from company to company, but this gives you a general overview.
Content marketing is aimed at obtaining registrations, curating a database of potential customers from among a wide audience. This list is then drilled down through respective levels through the ongoing campaign of communication, to raise interest and desire until a number of them proceed with affirmative action (i.e. make a purchase).
These funnels will not only differ between each company but also between B2C and B2B sales.
Thus the company that transacts both types of business will have different sales funnels for each. Although a carefully designed marketing system may well be able to use the same content at the top of both funnels, further down the flow, there is unlikely to be any overlap.
The content that is being produced must be designed for the stage of the funnel it is to be used for and must be created to engage the prospect in the manner suitable for that stage.
Additionally, if your business has more than one type of customer to attract, you must plan to create content for each character type (or avatar) for each stage of the funnel.
For example, you may want to appeal to both B2B and B2B customers. Or you may need to cater for company directors and key personnel from different levels of an organisation (technical dept, buyers etc).
In practical terms, this means the content writers must be able to produce content in different styles based on different needs, to appeal to a different audience.
The overall marketing strategy
So an important point of content design is to understand the design of the business marketing strategy and where each piece of your content will fit.
Your content and all other marketing strategies must align and serve the same goal at each stage of the funnel.
When designing materials for each stage of a funnel, the business must decide in advance which distribution channels will be used at which points and for which purpose.
To take just the top of the funnel as an example: This is used to attract organic traffic, but some of this content will be designed to attract prospects already in the market, whilst some other will be used to “cast the net into different waters” and attract a new audience that has never heard of the business or product before.
As we discussed above, the content of one area (i.e. blog posts) must be aligned with all the other strands of marketing content, such as promotional emails, case studies, customer reviews, from different stages of the sales funnel.
And as well as being aligned with the marketing goals, each of these marketing strategies must, in turn, align with the equivalent sales strategies to be of any use.
Is the business driving to promoting one particular product for the next month, or two or three? Is it trying to pick up new business from a sector it hasn’t approached before – or is it focussing on existing customers?
All these positions need to be planned and dovetail together, or the net result will be an unsuccessful mess.
Of course, this requires some serious developmental planning at a high organisational level; campaigns should never be undertaken in an ad hoc style.
All this will eventually filter down to the content creators and this brings us back to our first point – this is the reason it is so important to understand the purpose of the content and where it fits into the grand scheme; it should have a specific goal to achieve and it should be designed to achieve that one aim.
Content marketing is not just a casual blog-stuffing exercise; every post should know its purpose and be designed to meet it, whether it is to attract attention, drive traffic on to another stage or one of a myriad of other goals.
When designing content, keep the end goal in mind at all times, and constantly ask yourself whether you have satisfies the brief, because if you don’t, you may miss the mark and your content purpose will remain unfulfilled.
The importance of designing content for your marketing campaign is the same as the importance of your business sales and marketing strategies.
This post is one of a series of articles published in support of Splento’s Ready for Work (R4W) programme. This was initially a successful four-week programme run in July 2020.
As of September 2020, R4W v2.0 – a six-month full training and work experience programme – has been created and submitted to the UK DWP for approval to be a part of the UK Government Kickstart Scheme. Further announcements will follow once approval has been granted. For more details, read The ultimate guide to the UK Kickstart Scheme.
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