Content marketing plays a crucial role in the inbound marketing strategy of every business. Regardless of company size or industry, content marketing is a way for you to engage with your audience and gain their trust.
Skilfully crafted content that is underpinned with data and executed strategically is incredibly valuable and integral to successful marketing campaigns.
Benefits of content marketing include:
- Increased audience retention
- Improved social media traction
- Building audience trust
- Establishing brand credibility
- Enhanced onsite and offsite SEO
- Increase lead generation and an improvement in conversions
Content marketing is a multifaceted strategy, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Each audience is unique and has different needs. Content enables you to use various means to demonstrate to your audience that you understand the information they require at each stage of the buyer journey. In turn, this enables you to showcase your expertise, build brand credibility, generate leads and influence conversions.
Content marketing can connect the marketing and sales departments and drive the growth of a business. The strategy highlights the commitment to creating an optimised and personalised customer experience from the attraction stage, right through to sales and ongoing customer support.
When marketers work alongside customer-facing staff, a synergy begins. Each party can start to understand the questions that prospects and customers are asking both on and offline, as well as the barriers the sales team face, and how marketing can be an effective solution. By combining this information with digital channels such as keyword research and search queries, you create a foundation to begin building content that resonates with your audience.
There are many forms of content marketing. For it to perform at its optimum level, you need to identify the tactic that is most effective for your business. The way your audience consumes information will vary, and it can be a challenge to determine which content type is right for your business. Trial and error and an always-on approach to testing is key to successful content marketing campaigns and strategies.
Looking for more information on content marketing and strategy? You might like the following blogs by the Media Matters team:
- Tools to help you with your content strategy and research
- The untapped audience research resource you should be using? Forums.
- How will content marketing change following BERT?
- 6 Content marketing trends to consider
What is a content marketing matrix?
The content marketing matrix is a representation that identifies where each area of content works best in the buying cycle.
A content marketing matrix is a reliable content planning, ideation, and mapping tool. The matrix acts as a framework directing you to create the content that targets the audience at each stage of the buyer journey. It enables marketers to choose the right method of promoting the content based on the places the audience is online and attach relevant KPI’s to each piece.
For instance, you might want ‘entertaining’ content to drive traffic, so the attached KPI might be unique page visits.
The axes on the content marketing matrix characterise the buyer journey, acting as a reminder that the content type should be pushing the user further down this funnel.
If you have been relying on sporadic blog posts or press releases and have been thinking that ‘content marketing’ doesn’t work – prepare to be amazed (and delighted).
What is the content marketing matrix useful for?
The four areas within the matrix – entertain, inspire, educate and convince – should align with the stages of the buyer journey. In doing so, you gain clarity with regards to the type of content and messaging you should present at each step, and the most effective channels to use to promote it.
We break down each area below:
Fun, topical and engaging content is some of the best for generating brand awareness and increasing its reach. This content is often interactive, requiring the users’ participation, including games, quizzes and competitions to get people talking about, and engaging with your brand. Video content is also extremely popular in this area.
The most successful ‘entertain’ content also captures data, allowing you to create follow up pieces that include data and statistics.
Inspirational content forges an emotional connection with the users and resonates with ’emotional’ decision-makers. It can be particularly useful when used in the later stages of the buying process.
User-generated content fits in well here, including reviews, ratings consumer forums and celebrity, influencer or expert endorsements.
Educational content is perhaps most useful in the first stages of the buying process, and well as being influential in the conversion stage.
Fact-based and informational content can be particularly valuable here. Using material such as blog posts, press releases, reports, infographics, and guides helps to convey information quickly and positions you as trustworthy, credible experts in your field.
Images and graphics add extra impact when communicating facts and figures, so supporting any written content with graphics and images is compelling.
Educational content is also particularly useful for enhancing onsite SEO efforts, improving your visibility in the search engine results pages.
Convincing content is your opportunity to show that your product or service works successfully and achieves the desired results. This type of content is vital in the consideration stage of the buyer journey, influencing purchase decisions.
Content of this type should showcase the features and benefits of your product or services, and what they have achieved for your current customers. This content should be concise, jargon-free and accessible, deploying facts, figures and costs where possible, to provide transparency and build trust.
Content such as cases studies, interactive demos, case studies, webinars and ratings all fall under the ‘convince’ category and can play a crucial role in the final decision-making process of your customers.
Where can you use, feature or share it?
The possibilities are endless when it comes to using, featuring and sharing the content that you create. There are many platforms available from featuring on your website, to sharing organically on social media channels, paid social media campaigns, email marketing, direct mail marketing, account-based marketing campaigns, digital PR features and coverage.
If you have the right creative minds on the task, understand your audience well and have set clear KPI’s on what each piece of content should achieve, the possibilities for using the material are infinite.
Where you decide to use and share the content should be directed by the stage of the buyer journey it is aligned with.
For instance, entertaining content such as quizzes, games and competitions that invite engagement and participation are great for social media and sending out to press.
As well as promoting brand awareness, you can enhance SEO through link building and brand mentions, as well as drive traffic to the site. This type of content also lends itself well to paid social media campaigns, on Facebook in particular – but it is essential to acknowledge while this drives brand awareness, it’s unlikely that it will drive a high volume of leads.
It is possible to use compelling content on dedicated landing pages to take the user further down the buyer journey.
Why don’t marketing teams use all aspects of the content marketing matrix (and why it’s essential)
Content marketing requires both commitment and consistency. For busy business owners and managers, this can be a challenge. Often this results in an inconsistent approach, confused messaging, and a content marketing strategy that yields little or no results.
Perhaps there was little understanding that content marketing is often a medium to long-term strategy, and it didn’t begin to generate a high volume of leads immediately? Or maybe there was no strategy? Without a clear content strategy, it is difficult to understand the success of content marketing because there will be little clarity on aspects such as:
- What type of content to create?
- The theme or topic of each piece of content
- Where should it be shared?
- Who are you trying to reach on each platform?
- How often content should be created?
Without knowing it, you could have previously been creating engaging content that entertains and attracts users to your business but had nothing to offer afterwards to influence conversions. Or perhaps you have a wealth of educational knowledge but haven’t focused on content that raises brand awareness and entices your audience to engage with content.
Here, a content marketing matrix plays a crucial role. By using this tool, you can create a content plan and strategy that incorporates various means of content to effectively target your audience with the information they need, leading them further down the marketing and sales funnel. It also means that you can be realistic with the goals and KPIs each type of content can achieve.
The content marketing matrix keeps each area of content, and the role it plays, in the forefront of your mind and you begin to take a comprehensive and strategic approach to content marketing.
Five forgotten aspects of the content marketing matrix
With this in mind, we’ve thought about five of the types of content found in the content marketing matrix that are not widely utilised in general and campaign marketing strategies. Take a look below and think about how some of these could benefit your marketing and brand awareness efforts.
Positioned under the ‘entertain’ bracket of the content marketing matrix, quizzes provide plenty of marketing opportunities. They are a fantastic tool for attracting users and growing brand awareness while allowing you to capture consumer data as well as their answers to the quiz. Collecting the data from quiz content offers a starting point to run the quiz each year and compare the results.
Creative and analytical thinking are must-have skills when it comes to content such as quizzes. While it needs to be relevant to your business, this is your opportunity to grab your audience’s attention, so putting an engaging twist on the content will emphasise its appeal.
Community forums are a hotbed of information that will be useful to your business. Forums can be helpful in many ways from understanding your brand perception and how you can improve it, while also monitoring the topics of discussion.
This provides an opportunity to create the content that offers the information or solution they need – once created, you can share this content in the forums, delivering the data required straight to those that want it.
Why not create a forum? In creating a space that facilitates your audience, you (as the moderator) can be responsive and build a community of brand advocates.
Checklists are incredibly powerful yet under-utilised pieces of content.
They act to highlight to the user that they are unprepared or don’t have everything they need, be it tools or knowledge, to achieve the end goal or desired result. Of course, this is where you highlight that you are a solution for the gap.
Checklists are within the ‘convince’ area of the matrix so are best served to leads that need a gentle nudge to convert. If you have appropriately segmented email lists, sending checklist-style content supported by introductory copy providing context and a relevant call-to-action can be useful.
Attending events like trade shows to exhibit, deliver a talk, or be part of a panel, packs a big punch within industries. It also lends itself well to online promotional methods.
Platforms such as social media (and creating a specific hashtag for others to use and follow) and using press releases to spread the information widens your reach, providing SEO benefits through brand mentions and link building.
Attending events as an expert speaker is a perfect way to raise your profile as a real expert in your field. Sharing your knowledge with an engaged audience that have chosen to attend is an incredibly powerful platform that can also generate leads.
Being able to raise brand awareness and influence leads is true to the positioning of ‘events’ at the intersection of ‘inspire’ and ‘convince’.
It’s worth keeping in mind that regardless of hosting or attending, a robust and dedicated strategy is required.
Trend reports are placed appropriately within the ‘educate’ area of the content marketing matrix.
Gathering and analysing data and placing it alongside an insights summary is a powerful way of sharing information with your audience. An approach that positions you as industry experts, this data and content can be promoted in a variety of ways. By realigning it, you can use in the earlier stages of the buyer journey, too.
Preliminary work like search query research and audience analysis will make sure you create a report for which there is an appetite. Industry trend reports, particularly those released every year, can develop a cult following, especially in niche industries.
By releasing the information early to your engaged audience, you can create a loyal community, while sharing with industry press secures coverage. Social media is also useful for creating a buzz in the lead up to the release of such information.
How Media Matters uses content marketing for its clients
As an inbound marketing agency, the team at Media Matters spends a lot of time planning and creating content for clients.
We begin by creating audience or buyer personas to understand their needs, behaviours, challenges and pain points.
We also undertake digital research to better understand how the audience conducts online searches, uncovering the type of content and information they are looking for. By looking at keyword research, online search queries and online conversations in forums, we can establish audience expectations, perceptions and the context of their searches.
Once armed with this information, we can decide which type of content to use and where to promote it, based on the individual goals of each client. This means that we can continually monitor the success of the strategy and adapt where necessary.
One thing we like to do with all our clients is create content that showcases their business offering and gives them a competitive edge. Case studies are often the most accessible way of doing this. Whether in a written, infographic or video format, case studies influence conversations and push conversions, turning leads into customers.
You might feel a little overwhelmed having read all we have to say about content marketing, and the content marketing matrix.
However, the truth is that by taking the time to understand the buyer journey for your business, and where you can effectively target your audience with well-crafted content along the way, you can influence leads and conversions much more successfully than with siloed marketing channels.
This means that you can make your content work harder for you, rather than spending time creating lots of content that isn’t supported by a strategy. To learn more about how the team at Media Matters can help you, contact us today.