July 06, 2012

Content Marketing: Build it in Flight

Your content marketing may never get off the ground if you kill it off with analysis paralysis. And with waiting for everything to be in place. But you can get going sooner and build the aircraft in flight.

Start at the top of the funnel and work your way in from top and bottom.


This is one of the areas where people get stuck, because it's possible to over do them.

Start with the basic value proposition of our product. You know the basic value proposition of your product, right? You built the thing with some target in mind, right? Right? (If not, you'd better be lucky.)

The point is, these don't have to be character sketches--itemized lists will do.

  • What different job roles benefit from the product?
  • What does each work on?
  • What questions do they have--focus on what's changing in their world that they may not have time to deal with?
  • What goals do they have? What objectives?
Next, find and list the angles on these that tie back to your product.

Engagement Mapping

Eventually, you'll want to build the engagement map--for each persona, what information do they need as they move from

  • Interested, to
  • Understanding they need to do something, to
  • Deciding to purchase the something, to
  • Choosing a vendor, to
  • Onboarding the product, to
  • Training, support and so on

Mapping and filling all this can seem daunting. If you have 3 product lines, 4 personas in each and 5 stages of engagement, you have a lot of boxes that each need multiple pieces of content. If you wait for it all to be done, two things can happen. First, your competition can get there before you. Second, your content may all be out of date by the time you complete the first version of each of them--and you'll have to start over. If you still have a job.

Top of the funnel

Don't wait until you've got a piece for each box. Start by producing content for the top of the funnel--those interested in the domain your product serves. This way you can at least get discovered and start building recognition and following. You can fill in the gaps in the funnel as you go along.

Fill in the funnel

Next, consider creating content for the bottom of the funnel--pieces for those ready to justify a purchase. These could be ROI calculators and such. It's crude, but with the top and the bottom filled, you have a two-step funnel going that can actually identify those close to a decision. This will buy you time to refine the middle of the funnel to better nurture buyers along.

Benefits and Bottom Line

The other benefit is that all along, you'll also build your broad platform: learn how to get the content into search engines, forums, syndication--wherever your audience is. And you get your metrics and scoring systems in place. Finally you start driving traffic to your site for conversion sooner rather than later.

Bottom line: don't wait to have it all in place. Get started today at the top of the funnel.