Today’s buyers receive, use and make decisions based on trusted independent sources. In fact, according to IDC, marketing content is now the buyer’s preferred vendor information source.
Now is the time to dedicate a few hours to your personal brand content map for 2012. Spending the time now will allow you to organize and filter all of your customer knowledge into a formal plan that will act as your editorial calendar for 2012. This won’t rule out opportunities for happy coincidences (which can be plugged into the plan at any point throughout the year), but will definitely put your mind at ease for those months when you know you have to communicate with your customers, but have no idea what to say.
Here are three basic content mapping steps:
- Identify your buyer personas. A Buyer Persona is a detailed description of a specific person in your target market. Having a visual representation of your audience in mind is a major benefit when developing content–you know exactly who you’re writing to and what problems you’re trying to help them solve. A good rule of thumb is to have 3 buyer personas per vertical, including the buyer/user (interested in features and value), finance decision-maker (interested in ROI) and CEO (interested in how a solution impacts the overall business).
- Identify Buying Process/Lead Nurturing Stages. Typically, there are 4-5 stages in the buying process, including awareness, information gathering, evaluation, purchase and post-purchase/upsell.
- Build a Content Matrix. Your basic matrix will match each buyer persona to each stage of the buying process. In each section, you will add your objective and headline. For example: User/Buyer – Awareness Stage = Objective: Generate interest, challenge status quo. Headline: “A Little Secret About [topic] That’s Costing You Thousands.”
Your completed matrix will become your content “bible”, and allow you to efficiently build and schedule email and lead generation campaigns with consistent, targeted messaging. Combine this plan with a marketing automation program that allows you to test and measure results and your 2012 will start out with a bang.