As you might know, we have prepared a weekly webinar calendar and chosen the topics based on your requests and feedback. Since some of them are in Turkish, we decided to translate them for our English speaking audience to enjoy, too!
Here’s our webinar about creating a Successful Content Marketing Strategy in Growth Marketing, where our Content Marketing Director Asena Atilla Saunders and Content Marketing Manager Burcin Genc answered our founder Eren Kocyigit’s questions.
At the beginning of the webinar, Eren talked about the structure of Growth-Driven Marketing and how Content Marketing covers every process.
Then, he explained the importance of defining the brand/solution or product before creating content marketing tactics through our online learning platform- the Growth Marketing Hub.
And here’s the rest of the webinar:
EREN: After selecting the brand/product, why do brands need to define personas, too? Why is creating content for different people important?
The hypothetical and generalized representation of your ideal customers- your personas – are essential for your future marketing activities. The reason we define personas is that every persona has different pain points and goals, and therefore their reason for buying your brand will differ, so all of your content marketing activities will have to be done accordingly.
I will give you examples from one of our B2B clients – an HR Tech company providing a digital coaching platform to enterprises.
Our first persona here is Talent Management Director: The main goal of this persona is to provide his/her managers with measurable, reportable, and tangible data that shows the effectiveness of the coaching program. Therefore, we communicate with this persona by polishing these features of the platform.
The next persona is C-level: CHRO. This persona looks at the issue from a wider, higher, and innovative perspective and he/she is interested in where the HR industry is going. He/she also needs to define the vision of the company. So for this persona, we generate content on the subjects that they are interested in such as “future of work” and “leadership 4.0”.
Another persona for this brand is the end-users of the platform. Their goals are to improve their own and/or their team’s careers and to ensure engagement with motivation. So the contents will be within that scope.
As you can clearly see, the contents that we generate for these 3 personas for the same product are different from each other.
I will give examples from one of our B2C clients who provides an app specifically designed to improve children’s mental development.
Content in marketing is where you meet potential consumers. The point where you express yourself. The point where all your strategies actually turn into a persona. Therefore, it’s necessary to shape a communication path according to your persona’s perceptions, expectations, and needs. For this reason, it’s of great importance to which person we talk to when creating this setup.
If you are a game application designed only for children to have fun, then you should be talking to children and create a content plan to engage children with entertaining content. But if you are developing an application that supports the mental development of children, your persona is the parents who are responsible for the development of their children.
At this point, the importance of defining the persona you will build on your content marketing activities becomes as clear as the difference between the expectations of a child who wants to have fun and the expectations of a parent who wants to support their child’s mental development.
So you don’t target the parents who say “let me give the tablet to the children, they can watch whatever they want.” You are communicating with a conscious parent who is looking for high-quality content, trying to make his/her child’s leisure time a productive activity.
On the other hand, of course, you don’t have to have a single target audience. The more your target audience can diversify in a meaningful and related way, the more your content actually gets richer. For example, you can target the teachers, another persona, responsible for the mental development of children. You can offer them useful tools. For instance, we have created a resource called “printable worksheets” that can be used by teachers to develop specific skills of children at school. And at the end of these resources, we encourage them to download the app by saying “all the activities necessary to support post-school development are in this application”.
Here, when you can use the activity channels that really make sense, you start to increase the quality of the content according to the persona groups you will talk to. For this reason, defining personas before creating a content plan becomes the top priority.
EREN: Does a content differ if it’s written for a B2B or a B2C persona? What do you take into consideration when creating your content in regards to B2B and B2C businesses?
Whether a business is B2B or B2C, blog posts are the most common content types that we use as it’s the best way to generate organic traffic with the right keywords. Videos and podcasts are also used both for B2B and B2C, so I will elaborate more on the contents that we use for B2B businesses:
Use Case: Also called “Success Story” or “Case Study”, use cases allow you to explain the benefits of your brand/product through a real experience you had with a customer. A use case tells the reader how they can utilize your product very clearly as it involves a customer problem/challenge, how the customer overcame that challenge with your service and the result- preferably through real numbers.
We love to use case studies in our remarketing activities, which we show to the people who visited our website before or filled out a landing page etc. Especially a limited text area saying “one of our customers increased employee engagement by 85%” tells a lot!
Also, most of our B2B clients benefit from use cases in closing sales or upselling.
E-book & Whitepaper: These content types are quite similar and cover a specific topic or your product/service in-depth. They generally include a detailed analysis of the industry you’re in. Compared to other contents, they are similar to academic articles regarding length and language and offer solutions for a particular problem. So they are for more technical personas or for those who want to have information in detail.
Whitepapers include more technical information than e-books (which provide a “how-to” guide with more easy-to-understand content).
Infographic: Infographics briefly cover data on a particular subject focusing more on graphics/numbers and visuals and less text. Therefore, they are really easy to understand for the reader.
The main advantages of infographics are:
I will be focusing on the content types that are used in B2C businesses as Asena covered the B2B part.
In a B2C communication, you need to win your customers’ hearts with a benefit about what will make their lives easier. So to give more examples from the mobile app for children, when you write a blog post about mental development or problems and solutions, you are easing a worried parent’s life. And this is quite a precious emotional bond.
Or when you show the visual world of this application with tutorial videos, your potential customer actually gets significant information about the world you have created. You become a safe platform for them.
Infographics are also used a lot for B2C businesses. With infographics, your readers don’t have to read a wall of text to understand the context better. And it actually becomes more memorable. At the same time, offering a visual world instead of plain text is an extra plus for me.
EREN: How do you decide a topic and where do you get in touch with the SEO teams during your content planning process?
Before we write content, there are certain points we look at such as monitoring the industry trends and news. We determine the trending topics, whether it comes from our clients or tools such as SEMrush and Google Trends, and shape our content accordingly. For example, last year, we wrote a blogpost within the framework of leadership 4.0 according to the request from our HR Tech company. We were one of the few companies that were positioned early in this keyword. And this blogpost is still one of the most traffic-generated content on our website.
And again, we detected that “the problems of women in the workplace” were discussed a lot close to Women’s Day. We have provided quite good traffic to the website by writing an article that covers this issue. We have also achieved very good engagement on social media with this content.
In this process, we look at the search volumes of the keywords with our SEO team. We also examine what the competitors wrote in these keywords, so we can also position in important keywords.
Our SEO team also monitors what’s being talked about on social media or internet forums such as Quora and Reddit.
Besides, if our clients have, we review the Frequently Asked Questions or customer surveys and produce content related to the solution of the problems encountered. For example, in our HR tech company, while explaining our solutions on the website, we worked on a text setup that was inspired by the questions that were asked to our client.
To sum up, the methods we follow periodically change.
I believe that mutual communication is very important here. Unfortunately, many content plans are made by only focusing on SEO . However, going through periodic trends during the selection of the content subject can also yield quite useful results.
For example, if we consider the quarantine period we are in, the transition to the home education system during this period created a rapidly rising perception of the fact that child development can be carried out at home via online tools. For an application that supports child development, producing content quickly in this regard becomes critical.
At this point, we worked mutually with the SEO team in order to take fast action, and we have achieved quite productive results in terms of gaining new customers. Of course, this situation also fed our social media, and we managed to generate multichannel communication.
Actually, the content works like an organism that should be fed with SEO but when you try to feed your content with only SEO, especially in periods when you need to act fast, that content loses its originality and purpose. It is necessary to be able to balance well here.
The SEO team and the content team must understand each other’s language and challenges. Sharing information is very important here. SEO knowledge is a tremendous resource in order to learn the expectations of our potential customers and to prevent our valuable content from turning into a ghost.
We need to ask these questions in order to achieve harmony with the SEO team:
Sometimes, while we are working on keywords, we capture a completely different area, where we can position the benefit of the product. When you focus on a keyword, you become that persona. You can discover other areas to which that persona is interested. This is a very valuable insight to have.
In short, the SEO team actually offers a roadmap to the content team. The content team can capture the main roads on that map and discover new lands without getting lost on the side roads. The fact that the two teams can work by respecting each other’s roles and functions provides the most valuable output.
EREN: How do the contents differ when they target different areas of a funnel? What content can be created on the brand awareness stage (top of the funnel) as well as conversion and retention stages?
At the brand awareness stage, the potential customer is not fully aware of what the solution to his/her problem is. He/she does a lot of research to identify and solve the problem, so it’s important that they meet your right content at this point. The main purpose of the content at this stage should be providing a benefit. So if we show our product’s details or features, this content will be irrelevant for the awareness stage.
Another important point is that we should also avoid using industry terminology since the target customer will not be aware of that. For example, an HR director will probably be doing his/her research with “How can I improve employee engagement at larger scales” keywords instead of using the “digital coaching” keyword.
At this point, we should focus on “how-to” content that will provide a benefit to the persona and create engagement such as “how-to” blog posts and videos, analyst reports, research reports, ebooks, expert content, whitepapers, educational contents, and e-guides.
At the conversion stage, the persona is aware of his/her problem and the contents we generate should focus on transforming a potential customer into an actual customer.
The content types could be:
We should communicate our persona at this stage with “long tail” keywords that have low search volumes but high conversion rates.
For example: Instead of positioning in the “mentorship” keyword, we can generate more engagement and higher conversion from “measurable mentorship program for enterprises” keywords with which we are facing the target audience looking for exactly this.
A content strategy should be designed not only to gain new customers but also to increase the satisfaction of existing customers and turn them into loyal customers.
At this stage, we can use guides, tutorials, demos, webinars, podcasts, and use cases on how our customers can utilize our product better. We can also produce content based on customer behaviour with email marketing.
Brand awareness contents are the communication model for the target persona you set for your brand to notice and discover you. It is very valuable to be able to catch the interest of your target audience in such content, or make them say “this brand is for me.”
Conversion contents are more target focused. They are data-driven content that are about product value and customer benefit since the purpose of the content is to encourage the customer to take certain actions. This content can be a landing page where your persona leaves contact information, an enlightening blog content, or a use case that triggers the persona to get more information. We can also call these conversion activities “customer gaining” activities.
Retention is the communication model aiming to retain your customers, the audience who used your service before (or maybe used something similar).
For example in SAAS products; the content that enables a subscriber to continue his/her membership, or the content that will allow the customer to use it again can be categorized as contents for retention.
To ensure sustainability, it is important that consumers use your product more effectively. Therefore, communicating with encouraging or instructive content for product features or onboarding processes feeds the retention stage as well as upselling.
EREN: Do you prepare your content planning calendar monthly or weekly? How do you iterate with other teams during this process? What are the 3 most important metrics you monitor regarding the content you have published?
For the B2B companies and the HR tech company I mentioned, we have a 6-month content plan that we set the general framework for such as 1 use case/month, 1 ebook in every 3 months, 4 blog posts a month according to predefined topics.
Then, we make our plans on a monthly basis in detail in which we determine their titles, target keywords, and persona. While making the monthly plans, we sometimes make iterations depending on the industry trends or keywords or based on a well-performed content.
We make our plans monthly on social media, except for special occasions.
In regards to the main metrics, we monitor:
1- We measure the SEO performance of the content, checking;
2- We measure conversion metrics such as the conversion rate we receive in line with the goals we have set such as purchase, subscription, newsletter subscription, and or filling out a form.
3- Blog based performance: We look at the blog post based metrics such as the duration a user stays on the website and the bounce rates. These metrics also help us to measure our content quality and whether we are providing relevant content.
BONUS: We also have another important metric we monitor for B2B businesses: Lead Quality. If your company has a good CRM system, you can also measure lead quality in which you can identify whether the leads coming to your content are relevant for your business.
We usually prepare monthly plans for the brands we work with. The sector where your brand is located in is a very important determining factor at this point. If you are a fast consumption brand that communicates on daily trends, then the planning intervals and the frequency of content publishing can change.
But in order to preserve harmony, I think it is important to create your monthly roadmap and then feed that plan when necessary with creative and up-to-date content according to daily trends. Of course, this is a team job. To quickly catch a daily trend of your brand or service, you also need a team that can quickly produce content, visualizes, and service that content quickly.
First, we create a monthly plan with its outline and framework. Then, the content outline is enriched with text and visuals and we determine the target customer according to the plan. Of course, if necessary, we do iterations during the process.
There are 4 most important metrics that we monitor:
1- SEO performance: the visibility of our content, our positioning in the important keywords, and the originality and uniqueness of the content.
2- Website traffic the content generates: We check how many people have viewed our content and whether our content targeting works to generate visitors.
3- Engagement Rate – This shows us whether the content is interesting enough for our target audience in order to engage with our brand. Maybe following social media accounts, liking/sharing our content or asking for information from a chatbot, etc. can be counted as user engagement.
4- Finally, we monitor the conversion rate which comes right after the engagement. So if the action of your target audience takes (subscription, purchase, filling out a form, etc) matches with your goal, your conversion rates will be higher. This is when the engagement created by the content starts to create the targeted value.
We hope you gained valuable insights on content marketing planning. In order to watch the webinar, you can click here (in Turkish).
Yes, there’s more to Content Marketing! Here are our tools and guides from the Growth Marketing Hub that will support you with your content marketing strategy.