If you’ve spent a minute in marketing, you’ve heard impressive stats about the power of blogging, like how businesses with active blogs enjoy 126% higher lead growth than their non-blogging counterparts. As a result, many small businesses have clamored over the last decade to churn out blogs and get their own share of the ROI pie. But blogging alone isn’t enough; it has to be done right. Here’s a look at what you can do to maximize your efforts.
Move on From Content Calendars
Here’s the good news: flighting blog content according to a content calendar allows marketing teams to easily create organization, structure and momentum within their blog strategy. For example, content marketers may post an inspirational blog post every Monday, a tutorial blog post on Wednesday and an industry trends post on Friday. This strategy is alluring to content marketing managers because it gives their audience a nice mix of content topics to enjoy, and creates a consistency that supports SEO.
Still, this is one of those cases in which the perceived benefits don’t outweigh the drawbacks. For one, a structured content calendar assumes that the customer eagerly visits your blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, awaiting the next delivery of content you’ve promised to dole out. And, of course, we know that this isn’t how busy B2B buyers behave. Furthermore, this approach limits your content strategy to three formulaic categories (or a maximum of seven if you publish a new piece every day of the week). Some or all of your content may not be relevant to the people you’re trying to reach, making it a major miss all around.
Embrace an XY Axis
Instead of going the content calendar route, create an XY axis. I know, this might feel unusual at first since marketers have really embraced the almighty content calendar and change is hard – but it’s necessary. Put your buyers on one axis, and your buyer journey (i.e. Awareness, Consideration and Purchase) on the other. Instead of mapping content topics to days of the week (e.g. M/W/F), you’ll now be mapping topics to A/C/P.
Let’s say you have a new visitor who has never interacted with your company before. Think through which persona they fit, and connect that to the awareness stage. What does this person at this time need to see and understand in order to be interested in what your company has to offer? Is it an infographic breaking down costs of your product versus a competitor? Is it a quick educational piece that hits on the main benefits that their buying committee can experience? What will work for them will be very different from what keeps an existing customer engaged post-purchase. The XY axis technique strives to align every piece of content you create with a buyer and a stage of the journey. This will make your content valuable, and maintain its value for much longer than it would have been otherwise.
Revisit Your Measurement
Finally, think through how you’re measuring success. Marketers have typically focused on quantity-based stats, such as how many people clicked on a blog. Relying exclusively on KPIs like traffic, clicks and impressions–in other words, vanity metrics– doesn’t tell you much about the effectiveness of your content. Instead, go a layer deeper and look at metrics that are closer to true business outcomes, like the percentage of people in your database who are engaged in consideration or purchasing. You want your customers engaged with your blog content too, and not just your prospects (possibly even more).
Viewing blog content through this lens ties into the cornerstone of the account-based marketing (ABM) mentality; it’s all about quality, not quantity. It’s not about the volume of leads, but rather how many are likely to engage with you and move through your funnel. After all, that’s what will translate into purchases, customer retention and revenue for the long haul.
Create Successful Content
Great content centers on much more than a prescribed cadence of posting. Position your content around an XY axis of your buyers and the buyer journey, and you’ll be able to reach the right people, make connections and convert loyal customers. And that’s the right way to handle content.
Randy Frisch is the Chief Evangelist for Content Experience and Co-Founder of Uberflip, a marketing platform that empowers GTM teams to create content experiences at every stage of the buyer’s journey.