Every Successful Content Strategy Begins with Research
A year ago I started working with a startup conference call service company (for anonymity purposes, we’ll call them “B2B-Conference-Service”). Their blog had over 100 posts which was generating about 500 organic visitors a month, however they were not generating any leads. Most of their posts consisted of bottom of the funnel self-promoting content focusing on selling their service.
I was hired to research, design, and execute a content marketing strategy which would increase their B2B leads by driving targeted traffic to their blog.
This post will walk you through how I designed and executed the content strategy, share the results with you, and summarize the main success factors.
Step One: Conduct Thorough Persona Research
The first step in creating any successful content marketing strategy is understanding who your customers are by conducting persona research.
B2B-Conference-Service believed that their ideal customers were IT managers. To reach this customer they invested a great deal of resources to develop an ebook which would be later promoted through paid advertising and social media.
Our team conducted thorough buyer persona research by interviewing their clients, and identified 3 personas through the process based on the purchasing behavior of the interviewees:
Office Manager Molly
Quick Summary– She works at a marketing/advertising agency and is responsible for researching new software and tools to create a more efficient work environment for teams. She is also responsible in ensuring the internal communication between remote employees is efficient and effective.
Small Business Executive Steve
Quick Summary- An executive for a growing startup. In addition to leading the company, he manages the team work efficiency.
IT Manager Mark
Quick Summary – Ensured that all IT infrastructure and software tools were working efficiently for the company.
The research showed that the Office Manager Molly was the most important persona to target because not only did she contribute the most number of sales for the company, but she was also responsible for most of the revenue of the company.
What’s important to note is that people who were identified as the Office Manager Molly persona, were not only people who had Office Manager in their title. Instead, we found that there was a strong correlation between people who had office manager related responsibilities and pain points (researching better software tools, improving internal communication, ensuring that work flow is efficient, etc.) and has similar purchasing behaviors (everything from trigger mechanisms to decision making factors).
Step Two: Write Content to Solve Persona Pain Points
The most common pit fall of business blogs is not focusing on the customer. Too often businesses are so focused on generating sales that the blog posts turn into self-promotion pieces which lead to high bounce rates, and very low engagement. As Will Reynolds said at the most recent C3 Conference, focus on building content that answers the question your audience is asking, “How can you make a better me?”
The blog strategy I built for B2B-Conference-Service focused on specific day-to-day pain points of Office Manager Molly which we gathered from the persona interviews. The most common pain points revolved around the following:
- Improving remote team communication efficiency
- Motivating remote team members
- Building a team environment with remote team members
- Creating a more efficient remote work environment with better software tools
These findings created a great opportunity to building content which not only focused on the specific pain points of the target audience, but they were also pain points which effected many clients who were using B2B-Conference-Service. What was also surprising was that most of the businesses using B2B-Conference-Service were it mostly for internal communication between their remote teams.
Step Three: Implement the Strategy and Measure The Results
By using the information found through the persona research, we developed a strategy to create a resource center around the day-to-day pain points of our target audience. The blog traffic more than doubled within two months of publishing content, and by the 4th month the blog was responsible for about 10% of the total online leads.
What Were the Main Factors of Success?
- The content resonated with the target audience because it provided a solution to their pain point, and was written in a tone which was directed towards them.
- The content was promoted directly to the target audience through social media, forums, and article sharing networks. This led to social signals and backlinks being generated quickly, which in turn drove the organic rankings.
These results were achieved by conducting persona research, which provided a blueprint of who to target, when and where to reach them, and what pain points to write about.