We won’t insult you by trying to convince you that content is important.
After all, this isn’t your first rodeo.
As a business owner or the head of a marketing team, you keep up with industry trends.
You understand that content is important, and you wouldn’t be surprised if we told you that…
Statistics like these only confirm what you already know: content is critical.
The only problem is, your business is missing out on its benefits because you simply don’t have the time, energy, or team to create content that converts.
Maybe you have high-level ideas that never seem to translate into content marketing results.
Your team doesn’t have enough hours in the day (or the expertise) to consistently generate converting content…so you end up creating directionless content on the fly. What’s more, you’re tired of watching your efforts go nowhere and hiring tardy copywriters that rarely take the initiative.
Or perhaps it’s time for a complete content makeover.
From website pages to email messages, your content is either nonexistent—or it doesn’t match who your brand is and what it offers. It’s a big embarrassment. But you’re not sure how to get where you want to be…especially since you lack the time or workforce to accomplish your goals in-house.
Whatever your situation, as a business leader, you’ve already pinpointed these issues.
It seems this is simply an execution problem.
All you need is better copywriters, better marketing tools, more hours in the day…
Can we be frank for a second?
More often than not, when we work with businesses experiencing difficulty with creating content that converts, we find they have a nonexistent (or a partially existent) content strategy.
Don’t get us wrong.
We’re not saying you or your business is unstrategic.
Leaders are, by nature, creative thinkers who transform high-level visions into reality.
However, too many businesses don’t have a clearly defined content strategy.
And—more often than not—one or more of the following pieces is missing from their content marketing plan:
If any of this sounds familiar, take a deep breath. Having a broken content strategy isn’t unique to your business.
There’s no need to frantically throw together solutions, hoping they’ll solve your challenge.
If you’re serious about conversions, there’s a step-by-step process you can follow to create a content strategy that turns uninterested digital audiences into revenue-generating customers and clients.
It’s called The Content Conversion Code.
It doesn’t matter whether you have some strategic pieces in place…or you need to start from scratch.
No matter where you are in your content strategy journey, The Content Conversion Code makes things simple.
Think of The Content Conversion Code as a content strategy that maps out your customer journey and shows the how, when, and where of converting your audience.
The Content Conversion Code is a step-by-step process that helps you establish your goals, position your brand, and convert audience members into satisfied customers.
And—when you implement The Content Conversion Code—you can wave goodbye to the days of haphazard lead generation, unstrategic blogs, and unaligned marketing collateral.
It all starts with understanding the 5 steps of The Content Conversion Code.
As you can see above, The Content Conversion Code involves 5 steps…taking you from planning your content to delighting your audience members.
Ready to implement a content strategy that creates results?
Let’s dive in…
As a business leader, you know that planning always comes before execution.
Before you can transform your content into converting copy, it’s important to start at a high level…to lay a solid content foundation.
Here’s how to do just that.
Your annual goals have a huge impact on your content.
For instance, if your goal is to increase leads, you’ll find there’s a big difference between content that’s designed to capture a lead’s contact information…and content that’s designed to introduce a new customer to your brand.
That’s why your content strategy starts with a simple question…
What do you want next year to look like?
Is it 4x more leads? A 25% increase in sales?
Get clear on your goals (and make sure they’re achievable) to kick off the content creation process.
Give an honest assessment of your current content marketing. And don’t forget…this includes both your digital marketing and print collateral.
Analyze your website.
Take a hard look at your emails.
Or stare at those blank, unpublished pages in SquareSpace.
We know this is your brainchild, but transforming your content strategy starts with honesty about your current efforts. And, while you’re at it, check out what your competitors are doing.
You wouldn’t be where you’re at if you didn’t know who your customers are and what they want.
But when it comes to your content strategy, here are three reasons you can’t accept the status quo:
A great way to improve how you understand (and communicate with) your target audience?
To put it simply, customer avatars create a generalized profile of your typical clients—detailing their motivations, fears, socioeconomic status, and other important marketing information.
Creating customer avatars not only forces you to learn about your customers and clear up any misinformation…
…But they also keep your target audience at the forefront of your mind when crafting content.
When you write out…
Our ideal customer is a CEO in his or her mid-50s who is concerned with operational efficiency and supply chain management resources
…you’re much less likely to create a content strategy that drones on and on about your organization’s time-tested track record and ignores what CEOs want to hear.
To create your avatars, start collecting…
While you’re in the planning phase, consider how you’re going to generate leads.
It’s the logical next step in creating customer avatars.
Yet it’s where many businesses fall short.
All too often, companies have a digital presence that never supports a larger lead generation strategy. Because no one maps out the customer journey, content misses key opportunities to create leads.
We’re not making this up.
Sometimes, even marketers don’t get it right.
Take a look at this marketing company’s blog post…
(Honestly, this is not about downing a fellow marketer and getting a competitive advantage. This is just a teaching opportunity that shows how easy it is to miss opportunities for lead generation.)
Notice links in the blog where customers can learn more information?
See a place where they can download a resource?
Notice a call to action within the text?
We didn’t think so.
All that to say, as you create your content strategy, take our advice…
Focus on your lead generation strategy first. Content creation comes second.
Creating a 12-month content calendar may sound too ambitious. Too intimidating. Too restrictive.
But take our word for it…
Planning your content is a gift that keeps on giving.
When you outline your content, months in advance, you’ll…
Not to mention, if your business has predictable busy periods, you’ll work ahead and anticipate key seasonal opportunities.
Wondering if your content planning needs help?
With planning in place, it’s time to position your brand and refine your brand voice and message.
Think of positioning as content that draws on your unique value when presenting your products or services.
Take, for instance, the Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey&Company. Both provide corporate consulting.
But both have two different ways of positioning their services…
The Boston Consulting Group
These examples show the power of positioning.
The good news is…if you’re a business owner or marketing specialist, you already have a knack for differentiating your company.
After all, no one knows better than you why your company shines.
Just make sure your in-depth knowledge doesn’t tempt you to skip over this phase. Make no mistake…
Positioning is a must to engage your audience and keep your message consistent.
Let’s say you’re a managed IT firm.
Without positioning, you’ll find yourself writing…
Get in touch so we can help you.
Don’t spend your time troubleshooting mundane IT problems. Get the support you need to focus on your business goals.
Without positioning, things can get vague pretty quickly.
Suddenly one team member is writing a blog using one tone—while another colleague is updating your About page using different verbiage.
When it comes to discovering your differentiators, pinpoint where your company’s unique value intersects with your audience’s pain points.
Once you’ve done that, you can….
A positioning guide is your official document that reveals your…
Putting your brand message (in writing) always brings clarity.
It’s about making your brand position official…and keeping your message on track.
With your positioning guide, you’ll have a defined way of communicating what makes your company special. And you’ll help other team members get on the same page.
Don’t think optimizing your website content is simply about catching up to speed on search engine optimization (SEO).
The reality is, you need a strong foundational message in place.
In fact, it’s critical that your entire site reflects your brand position.
After all, while SEO plays a big role in positioning your brand, you can’t expect visitors to convert if they never connect with your content.
Once you’ve ensured that your content speaks to your individual customer avatars, then you can strategically use keyword phrases to help your brand rise above your competitors.
When you do that, you’ll find…
Following SEO best practices has a big benefit for your buyers.
After all, search engines are programmed to give online users the information they need and the best possible online experience.
…you’re also benefiting potential customers.
Here’s a great example of a company that has optimized its page for search engines—while making it crystal clear the solutions it offers.
Just because you have increased clarity on your brand position doesn’t mean you have to ditch all of your previous content.
Sure, some content will need a complete makeover. But other content can stay the same.
Use your positioning guide as a yardstick.
Remember, the key is to align your content.
Measure your content against your positioning guide—and resist the urge to start from scratch unless your guide calls for it.
As you refresh your brand messaging, more than likely, you won’t simply notice unaligned existing collateral.
You’ll also notice marketing material…that simply doesn’t exist.
Let’s face it.
More than likely, you have new information to share with your buyers. Or maybe developing your content strategy has helped you refine your message…and you’re ready to share it with the world.
That’s why positioning your brand is also about developing new collateral to match who you are and what your offer—whether that’s…
Want a real-life example of new collateral that’s devoted to brand repositioning?
Perhaps you’ve seen the Wells Fargo campaign, advertising their renewed commitment to their customers.
Check out this new content they’ve developed to support their brand image…
We know you’re probably not launching a PR campaign.
But there’s a good chance your content strategy will reveal the need for content collateral that makes your company shine.
Is your positioning effective? Find out when you take the assessment.
The phrase marketing engagement is a fancy term for a simple concept.
Engagement is about turning an uninterested, uninformed buyer into someone who’s considering how your company might meet his or her needs.
In brick-and-mortar terms, your unengaged buyer is a window-shopper that casually passes your storefront and perhaps takes a glance at what’s displayed in the window.
Throw brand engagement into the mix…
And that disinterested shopper actually walks through your door and starts browsing your aisles.
So, what’s the key to engaging your digital website visitors?
If you guessed content creation, you’re on the right track.
Engaging new audiences through content creation is an important part of your content strategy.
But creating engagement isn’t simply about content creation in general…it’s about regularly and consistently providing your audience with the resources they need.
Your content strategy demands new content to engage audiences due to a number of factors…
All that to say…
Your content strategy demands content that consistently engages your buyers.
Now that we’ve laid that foundation, let’s dive into some practical steps of getting your audience members’ attention!
As previously mentioned, fresh content plays a vital role when it comes to buyer engagement.
But engaging future customers doesn’t simply depend on newly created content…it depends on creating content that meets specific needs.
What’s more, your customers are looking for answers to their specific needs using long keyword phrases. Research by Ahrefs⁵ reveals that over 60% of Google searches involve keyword phrases of four words or more.
For instance, you might have found this article with a question like…
How do I create a content strategy and customer journey?
What’s involved in a content marketing strategy?
Steps for creating a content strategy
The problem is, optimizing for multi-word phrases (long-tail keywords) is a bit difficult on your website Services pages.
That’s because these pages tend to be broader in nature. Let’s say you’re a fitness coach offering one-on-one training.
To meet your buyers’ specific needs, you may require content that explains “diets that support muscle strength.”
However, you’ll face problems if you try to make this keyword the focus of your About page or Services pages.
The good news is, there’s a simple solution for meeting these kinds of needs, creating ongoing conversations, and effectively engaging your buyers.
It’s your blog.
We can’t overemphasize the role that blogging plays in your content strategy. Humor us for a moment while we list the ways blogging helps you capture audience members’ attention.
Regular blog articles allow you to…
Blogging takes your content strategy to a new level.
So be sure to publish regularly.
When it comes to your content marketing strategy, social media snippets won’t compare to that 2,000-word blog post you just wrote.
But don’t underestimate the importance of Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media hubs.
Thanks to social media, you can…
And social media is a great way to promote your blog content.
Just take a look at how SEO-powerhouse Moz is using Facebook to promote its blog content…and support its social media presence (this piece of blog content garnered over a hundred social media reactions).
If your content strategy includes regular blog articles and social media posts, you’ve taken an important step toward audience engagement.
But before you pat yourself on the back, we’d like to ask a simple question…
Is your audience even seeing your valuable content?
After all, it doesn’t matter how stellar your thought leadership is. Buyers will have a difficult time engaging with your brand if they can’t find your content in the first place.
And that’s an especially important factor if you’re a new business, you have an unoptimized site, or your content strategy is just getting started.
The reality is, driving traffic through SEO isn’t about a 3-month flurry of heavy blogging.
If you want your audience members to find and engage with your content—most likely —that will take steady content creation for months or even years.
Enter paid media.
With paid ads, you can quickly get that powerful blog the recognition it deserves—without having to wait for your long-term SEO strategy to bear fruit.
Take a look at how SmartReview.com has bypassed organic search results, using a Google pay-per-click ad to catapult its content to the top of the search results.
Have a hunch your content engagement needs work? Find out for sure.
You have your blog up and running. You’re consistently engaging with your audience on Facebook. Your website has a steady stream of visitors.
It’s time to leverage your strategy to connect with and convert audience members into leads and leads into buyers.
And that’s going to take more than insightful articles.
It’s possible, but unlikely, that a new reader of your blog will want to purchase right away.
That’s why you must…
It’s Sales 101: the first step to acquiring a buyer is getting a lead.
But thanks to your content strategy, there’s no need to cold-call leads or use other invasive sales tactics.
Instead, once you’ve engaged your audience members, make it easy to become a lead.
Simply offer potential buyers a valuable resource in exchange for the privilege of starting a conversation with them.
We call this resource a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is a free resource that comes in many shapes and sizes. Here are a few examples you may recognize:
But here’s the key…
The lead magnet is designed to collect a buyer’s contact information: name and email—at the very least.
A lead magnet can also collect other data such as a phone number, industry, company position, and more.
There’s no one-size-fits-all guide. How much information you collect all depends on your lead generation plan.
While generating leads is important, it’s not your only goal. After all, having tons of leads doesn’t equal increased revenue, right?
That’s why your next step involves powerful email marketing.
Email marketing is critical to your content marketing strategy.
That’s because, once your target audience has agreed to provide their contact information, email allows you to begin the lead-nurturing process.
Email lead nurturing is simply providing your leads with content that meets their needs, builds the value of your brand, and helps them become customers.
Here’s a sample of what these email messages can cover:
As an example, take a look at this email marketing message Evernote sent one of our team members. (Yeah…one of us doesn’t use Evernote.)
Notice how Evernote explains a really important feature…and, at the same time, they show the value of Evernote Premium (think customer conversion).
Nurture emails are not the only way to leverage email marketing in your content strategy.
Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to send your customers one-time promotional emails.
Check out how our friends over at DigitalMarketer promoted their notes from the Traffic & Conversion Summit…
We can’t know how many people purchased those notes. But, from our experience…
Promotional emails, when done right, work.
Just last year, we created a few promos for a client, promoting an online certification program that had a $4,999 ticket price. Not only did we have 47 email subscribers immediately sign up, but our client is still enrolling students using the same emails sent months ago.
Not sure if you’re effectively engaging leads?
An effective content strategy generates customers through a carefully planned customer journey.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Your business can’t sustain itself on one-time purchases.
Like any industry, you need a healthy stream of returning customers to support your revenue. (After all, who wants to be constantly pouring money into new traffic?)
The good news is, your content strategy supports long-term relationships with your customers—creating an experience that delights and keeps your brand top of mind.
Here are a few ideas to increase your customer value and revenue…
It’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly creating blogs, emails, lead magnets, and other content for newbies to your organization.
However, your diehard fans need content, too.
Whether it’s a customer-only newsletter or web-based training just for your clients, explore the ways your content strategy can support your loyal fans.
Dive deep into your existing customers’ needs, and create resources that are tailored for them.
Who said your marketing has to be all digital?
In-person gatherings are a powerful way to keep your existing clients connected to your brand. Make the event exclusive to your customers, and the event becomes even more powerful as…
Consider holding a seminar, conference, or dinner around topics that would interest your clients. And, if an on-the-ground event isn’t possible, consider hosting an exclusive webinar.
Let us take a guess.
Your customers’ initial purchases rarely solve all their problems, right?
After all, when leads become customers, many times, they’re dipping their toes in the water.
Even if you offer something better suited for their needs, they’ll probably want a lower-ticket item to test-drive your company.
And that’s okay!
Their hesitancy is your opportunity to build a long-term relationship with content marketing.
Simply get out your email marketing toolbox again, and create an upsell sequence to…
Education is an important part of creating long-term customers.
That’s why the Delight phase of your content strategy should provide ongoing training for your clients.
Ideally, your training should focus on helping your customers better use your products or services.
Provide a webinar on how to navigate your software.
Shoot a video tutorial on how to use your most popular eCommerce products.
Or offer an exercise handbook to complement your healthy-living company’s membership.
Humans are social creatures.
No matter how introverted we are, we all have a need to connect—and communicate—with others.
Tap into this universal law to keep your current customers engaged and delighted when you build a community of people like them.
Whether it’s an online forum or a private Facebook group, create a way that customers can interact with your brand and with like-minded fans.
Think of the times you’ve swiped your Starbucks Rewards card…or the times you’ve cashed in on frequent flyer miles.
There’s a reason your content strategy should include an appreciation program. Rewarding faithful customers is a powerful way to increase their loyalty and encourage them to connect with your brand.
From a free strategy session to a 15% off coupon, show your buyers that you appreciate their business…and that you’ll honor any return purchases.
Do you delight your clients? Find out how you measure up.
Take a moment to celebrate.
You now have a content strategy blueprint—a step-by-step plan that transforms dysfunctional content creation efforts into a solid strategy for your business.
But here’s the million-dollar question…
What are you going to do with it?
Don’t take this as a sales pitch to work with our amazing team.
To be frank, we don’t claim to be experts in every area covered in our Content Conversion Code. (You’ll find we’re not PPC or programming techies…although we do team up with those who are!)
Here’s what we do know.
The Content Conversion Code will turn your dysfunctional blog, unoptimized website, and boring emails into a marketing message that ups your conversions.
You can continue to struggle with haphazard tactics that create content on the fly.
You can continue to know that digital marketing works…but not know how it can work for you.
It’s a free country. No one is stopping you.
You can start implementing a content marketing strategy that finally addresses the underlying challenges your business is experiencing.
Gain clarity on your greatest content challenge.
Some of you know The Content Conversion Code is the blueprint you’ve been looking for. You’re tired of the struggle, and you’re ready to implement our step-by-step plan.
If this describes you, we’d like to offer a word of advice.
Don’t be a perfectionist.
Spending 18 hours honing your content calendar is great when you’re a leisurely business owner who has all the time in the world.
…being a perfectionist will delay your success.
Your best bet is to quickly assess your greatest weakness—and fix what’s broken so you can launch your strategy.
Ready to find your greatest area of opportunity?
Download our Content Strategy Assessment to pinpoint what’s holding you back and where you can experience the growth you need.