Through the years, I’ve created content material methods for firms like Google, Algolia, DocSend, and plenty of extra. Irrespective of how massive the corporate or how difficult its product, the content material technique at all times boiled all the way down to answering three simple questions.
These questions are tailored from the legendary e-book Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt. They’re designed to:
- establish the issue that wants fixing;
- floor any distinctive strengths you should use in your technique;
- and pair your downside with the precise kind of content material for the job.
Most firms have the identical core downside: they want extra prospects, they usually want more cash from these prospects. However each firm is exclusive, and fixing that downside normally requires overcoming a bunch of extra particular challenges, like:
- Constructing a gross sales pipeline from scratch. Many more recent firms flip to content material to build demand for their product when there wasn’t demand earlier than.
- Stopping reliance on promoting. It’s widespread for companies to depend on paid promoting as their major supply of consumers, however at a sure level, it begins turning into too costly to take care of.
- Getting extra gross sales from present site visitors. In different circumstances, firms would possibly generate loads of site visitors however battle to transform these guests into paying prospects.
- Decreasing buyer churn. Some firms have loads of guests and leads, however battle to maintain folks round as soon as they grow to be prospects.
Every of those challenges (and plenty of others) might be helped by content material.
Crucially, the extra particular you’re together with your analysis of your challenges, the simpler it turns into to work out an answer.
The very best content material methods embrace leverage: your organization’s secret weapon, one thing that makes content material simpler to create, or helps it carry out higher. Nearly each firm has some kind of leverage to use:
- Distinctive knowledge. Many firms have entry to distinctive knowledge from their customers or merchandise.
- Private manufacturers. Others take pleasure in well-known founders or crew members with massive social media followings.
- Workforce experience and expertise. Some groups have distinctive experiences that may be became distinctive content material (like our very personal Patrick Stox, a.okay.a. Mr Technical search engine marketing).
- Community of consultants. Should you’re fortunate to know a number of good and good folks, you possibly can embrace their experiences and views all through your content material (like First Round Review, and their articles penned by seasoned startup founders).
Recognizing and utilizing your distinctive strengths is the important thing to making a content material technique that may’t merely be copied by your opponents.
There are many content material varieties, from search content to gross sales enablement, every with its personal strengths and weaknesses. Constructing the precise content material technique is about selecting the best kind to your particular challenges.
- Search-optimized content material is ideal for constructing a predictable supply of web site site visitors, month over month… nevertheless it won’t assist to achieve senior execs or founders who don’t Google widespread issues.
- Thought management content material (like opinion items or analysis experiences) might be nice for producing word-of-mouth dialogue and backlinks, however normally suffers from “spiky” site visitors that doesn’t develop predictably every month.
- Gross sales enablement content material (like case studies or gated content material) helps to shut gross sales offers, nevertheless it’s not often attention-grabbing to the informal reader, and does little to draw new guests to an organization.
Or, to place it in visible format:
Let’s use these inquiries to reverse-engineer 3 very completely different, very profitable content material methods, to know why they work (and the way you can emulate them in your personal enterprise).
Zapier is an automation platform that connects completely different items of software program collectively into useful workflows. Zapier’s technique is constructed round natural search, producing an estimated 8 million month-to-month visits:
Most of that site visitors comes from three forms of search-optimized content material:
Taking a look at their website construction in Ahrefs, you possibly can see that an estimated 92.8% of their month-to-month natural search site visitors comes from their weblog and app integration pages mixed:
Digging deeper, it’s potential to see which apps generate probably the most visits for Zapier (by way of Natural site visitors), and which have the best variety of pages devoted to them (by way of Natural pages).
For instance, Zapier have created over 1,000 pages of their /google-sheets subfolder, which generates an estimated 4,000 natural pageviews per month:
What challenges does Zapier’s technique remedy?
- Producing a number of signups to gasoline development. Zapier is a freemium firm: the vast majority of its customers pay nothing to make use of the product, and solely a small share grow to be paying prospects. To develop, content material must generate tons and tons of holiday makers. Natural search content material supplies the predictable, compounding site visitors development wanted to make the freemium model work.
- Advertising to folks in dozens of various industries. Zapier is a horizontal product, used throughout many industries, from advertising to finance, so Zapier writes about matters and instruments utilized in dozens of industries.
- Serving to customers get extra worth from the product. Zapier is straightforward to begin with however can rapidly grow to be extra difficult. “The best way to” content material helps information customers towards useful use circumstances.
What leverage does Zapier exploit?
- Integrations with tons of of instruments. Zapier can connect with a mind-boggling array of instruments, from calendars to web site builders to databases. This creates a fantastic supply of leverage: it’s price writing about well-liked apps, like ChatGPT or Figma, as a result of customers of these instruments have the potential to grow to be Zapier prospects.
Animalz is a content material advertising company. Whereas most different businesses focus their content material technique on search engine marketing, Animalz’s focuses on thought management content material:
search engine marketing is an afterthought, however as a result of opinion and analysis content material are distributed primarily via phrase of mouth, social media, and business newsletters, their content material naturally attracts dozens and dozens of good quality links:
What challenges does Animalz’s technique remedy?
- Attracting skilled entrepreneurs. As an company, Animalz doesn’t want enormous volumes of site visitors and hundreds of customers to develop. As an alternative, it wants to draw the eye of a handful of skilled advertising executives at B2B software program startups—one thing which opinions and analysis are higher at than search content material.
- Standing out from opponents. Most content material businesses publish enormous volumes of search content material, creating lots of competition for keywords. By ignoring search, Animalz differentiates itself from its opponents.
- Proving that their product is nice. Writing high-quality, journalistic essays act as a product showcase for Animalz, in the identical manner a free trial or demo would for a software program firm.
What leverage does Animalz exploit?
- Distinctive expertise. As a content material company, Animalz has perception into tons of of firms’ content material methods, permitting them to see which forms of content material carry out finest, and create data-based efficiency benchmarks—a singular supply of knowledge that no different firm possesses.
Freshpaint is a healthcare advertising compliance instrument. Their content material technique is concentrated nearly totally on gross sales enablement: creating sources that assist their gross sales crew nurture and shut potential prospects. That means:
What challenges does Freshpaint’s technique remedy?
- Closing offers with hospitals and healthcare suppliers. Virtually all of Freshpaint’s prospects discover the corporate via word-of-mouth within the tight-knit healthcare business. Discovering new prospects isn’t the problem: it’s persuading risk-averse firms to purchase, one thing that case research are designed to assist.
- Persuading a number of stakeholders. Attorneys, compliance groups, even IT groups, can all cease gross sales lifeless of their tracks—a common challenge in B2B content marketing—so Freshpaint creates content material to handle gross sales objections from everybody concerned within the shopping for course of.
- Explaining technical matters in easy language. HIPAA compliance, BAA, PHI… healthcare is rife with technical jargon, and written content material helps clarify how Freshpaint handles compliance issues in easy, simple textual content.
What leverage does Freshpaint exploit?
- Hyper-focus. Whereas different firms must divide their content material efforts throughout a number of audiences and ache factors, Freshpaint is ready to focus every bit of content material solely on fixing the issue of HIPAA compliance for advertising groups.
Content material technique can really feel difficult, requiring you to juggle completely different objectives, audiences, and content material varieties. However making a easy technique might be so simple as answering three questions:
- What’s the single most essential downside we need to remedy?
- What distinctive strengths can we use to assist us remedy it?
- What kind of content material is the perfect for fixing our downside?