Content Marketing Foundations

silhouetted audience and artist on the stage at the concert

Need some help finding your people? ACCELERATE GROWTH BY DEVELOPING PERSONAS!

  • Segmenting
  • Test how many customer touchpoints are needed for each segment.. Like, for an older crowd, they may need more touchpoints vs a younger group
  • Need to identify who are going to be the early adopters –
    • Best way to find this is via customer interviewing
    • Looking for 2 things: 1. their professed and their latent needs 2. Their psychographics; what type of tribe does this person belong to? What worries do they have about their career, personal life? What goals do they have? This helps to design the messaging strategy. 
    • Do at least 5 interviews to find patterns in each segment and to find the personas

Start practicing design thinking… what exactly is design thinking?

  • In biz school they teach you to think deductively. 
  • With design thinking you start with something inherently ill-defined, then think inductively; you go backwards!

BUYING CENTER: the group of people and factors that determine whether or not a purchase is made.

ACQUISITION CHANNEL: the pathway(s) through which potential customers discover and interact with your products, services, or brand

OPEN-ENDED QUESTION: a deliberately non-specific question designed to see how someone thinks and prefers to direct a conversation

MOST growth hacking is about tactics, experimentation, optimization.

Want to first understand the BUYING CENTER. It’s not just the doctor buying meds, it’s the doctor as well as the business manager. They’re evaluating both aspects of the product. 

Customer creation vs. Discovery. 

Are we creating new customers? Telling them that they have a problem?

Or, if we’re solving a customer pain point that already exists, it’s about discovery. 

Example: FOOD (restaurants are focused on discovery) vs organic food companies (had to educate customers and make them realize they had a problem)

ICE method: a method of ranking ideas based on their potential IMPACT, how CONFIDENT you are that it would be successful, and how EASY it is to launch. 

Need to clearly define goals from the start.

Content Marketing Strategy

  1. Set Strategic Goals
    1. An outcome that’s meaningful for your business, easy to understand at a glance, and straightforward to measure
    2. Common goals:
      1. Establishing thought leadership
      2. Improving customer loyalty
      3. Demand generation
      4. Increasing sales
      5. Audience development
      6. Brand awareness
    3. Two types of goals: Ongoing and Campaign Goals
      1. Ongoing: what you plan to achieve on an ongoing basis. Ex: measure engagement for articles on a monthly basis. No end date associated with publishing articles.
      2. Campaign goals: measuring the success of time-sensitive activities. Ex: launch campaign. Generate x number of leads. Defined start and stop date.
  2. Define your audience
    1. WHO IS THIS FOR??
    2. Align your content with your target audience’s desires.
    3. Important to create customer personas. This helps you to make more informed content decisions. Should be built from research and observations.
      1. Demographics
      2. Motivations
      3. Challenges
      4. Mindset
  3. Find relevant topic ideas
    1. Must be related to my organization’s expertise, product or service
    2. Keep records of questions or pain points
    3. Review what content kept visitors on our site the longest
  4. Organizing topics into categories
    1. Limit the topic to a select group of categories
    2. Category should be specific enough to have a clear focus, but broad enough so there are many topics to fit within the theme. For example, Scrapbooking, Home Decor, Kid Crafts, Seasonal activities (for an art store)
    3. Consistently publish useful content on the same themes helps to build memory 
    4. Select categories based on Personas, Customer Feedback, amnd published research.
    5. Look for patterns to see how you can break it down.
    6. Example: chase bank’s blog. Categories: Personal finance, life experiences, small business strategies, innovative business leaders, stories about supporting communities.
    7. Keep content on website in-line with topic categories

Buyer Persona 101

Buyer personas help you relate to your consumers and craft effective content. To get started, put pen to paper and define the more obvious characters of your audience. For example, if you’re operating a pet supplies company then your general customer might be a pet owner. (

Next, consider the demographics of your audience. What are your price points? Is your product gender-specific? Where does your customer live? Asking these questions will help to nail down basic information about your target market and build a starter persona. The next steps include defining psychographics, such as what are your consumers’ values? What type of lifestyle do they lead?

Of course, this exercise will not completely define your buyer. It is merely a means to break in to social selling. Ultimately, the best way to test your persona is to begin marketing and see who reacts positively to your content. This exercise may define the buyer persona to be a female homeowner aged 35 who loves politics, but your best customer could turn out to be a male homeowner aged 40 who loves gardening.

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