Five Steps to Joining the Online Conversation

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The conversation hog.

We all know the person. You ask a question or try to engage with them and they immediately launch into a monologue. You find yourself trapped and unable to escape without seeming rude.

The same sort of thing exists online. It’s the company or brand that doesn’t take into account where someone may be in the buyer’s journey, otherwise known as the research process that people go through leading up to a purchase.

The brand publishes content that is all about them, or says how much better they think they are than their competitors. They try to dominate the conversation and force a reader to digest a monologue that isn’t very informative.

Don’t be a conversation hog. Follow these tips for developing a content process that will help you contribute to the conversation, not dominate it, and ultimately reach your ideal customers at the appropriate stage in the decision making process.

PLAN
In order to create content that is informative and speaks to the right stage in the buyer’s journey, you first must plan accordingly. Are you going to offer something to the reader and “gate” it behind a landing page or make them fill out a form? Will it be a blog post or web content that is accessible to anyone on the Internet?

Picking the best format for your content is all about buyer personas or the fictional representations of your ideal customers. Identify the topics that matter to your personas through detailed research. This can be done via keywords, internet forums, FAQs, or popular industry news. Then match the appropriate content to each stage of the journey.

CREATE
Remember, any piece of content you create should be mapped to where your personas are in the buyer’s journey. The content should also be easily digestible. Make your content easy to consume. Make most of your content educational for your readers. Don’t get overly promotional with your material until you are writing for someone in the decision making stage.

Finally, focus on the information part of the content first. Don’t get caught up in designing something beautiful and lose track of your information. Always prioritize great writing over trying too hard to make it look nice.

DISTRIBUTE
So, you’ve done your planning and you’ve written a strategic and informative piece of content. Now what? It’s now time to choose the appropriate distribution channel to feature your content. The right distribution technique will get your content in front of the right person at the right time. Again, it is all about reaching the customer in the appropriate stage of the buyer’s journey. You should also keep in mind that it is important to devote as much time to content promotion as you did with content creation.

Your content can be distributed as a blog, a website page, a landing page, through calls to action and social media channels, as well as in marketing emails. Choose the appropriate channel based upon your persona research.

ANALYZE
How can you be sure your content succeeded without analyzing it? You can’t! You must analyze the performance of your content in order to capitalize on what is working, and make changes to what is missing the mark.

Popular analytics to measure are number of page visits, leads generated, social proof or social share-ability, inbound links, content performance by author, content performance by topic, and content performance by format. Each of these factors can help you determine your content’s success.

REPEAT
You’ve done your research on your buyer personas, written that dynamite piece of content, distributed it to your customers on the appropriate platforms and have crunched the numbers. Now it’s time to repeat what was successful.

Actually, in addition to replicating what is successful, you should always repeat this content creation process. It is the proven and effective way to help you write remarkable content. Without dynamic content, your inbound strategy won’t be effective and you will ultimately be another conversation hog!

These steps to joining the online conversation will stand to benefit your brand’s engagement rates and online visitors.

For more Inbound Marketing insights, subscribe to my blog here.

This blog was originally published for Verge Pipe Media.

 

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