Ask any marketer: Creating great content takes work.
Marketers today are feeling the pressure to create and distribute a variety of content assets to drive awareness, demonstrate expertise and fuel conversations with their target audiences.
All marketers can agree that creating quality content takes time and plenty of resources -- from the point of initial ideation all the way through to content development and syndication. Content production operates as an ongoing machine in the marketer’s world; and oftentimes, there never seems to be enough of it. Marketers are developing multiple content assets across many brands, regions, and audience segments with an end goal that this content will lead to consumer relationships, quality opportunities and ultimately, conversions.
In the digital age of 1:1 marketing, you can’t have content marketing success without personalization. Further, you can’t personalize content without understanding your buyers. Gaining insights on customers through profile data helps marketers determine who their target personas are and how they should segment their audiences moving forward. Without the right visitor and customer data profiles, content marketing processes, and personalization tool, it’s impossible to deliver personalized content experiences across platforms and your well-oiled content marketing machine will go dry fast.
Personalizing the Customer Journey: 4 Steps for Building a Content Machine
Content drives many facets of marketing from the story to the digital experience to related campaigns, and it all has to be personalized for your customer. It’s clear that content has evolved to become a key component in the marketing stack, and that’s not going away -- not anytime soon at least.
To ensure your content machine stays well-oiled, here are four key steps for content planning in the era of personalization.
- Plan: Targeting audiences with messaging isn’t enough anymore; marketers need to adaptively segment and target consumers based on their online behaviors to engage them. In addition to targeting various audience segments, marketers recognize that their content engine must scale to support tailoring content to audiences globally. For starters, it’s important to make sure that your broad content marketing team has a central view of content at all times. You’ll need a content calendar to see when content is being produced and when. You’ll also need a way to search and discover content that’s already available so you can begin planning content and campaigns for each persona.
- Produce: Oftentimes, marketers are working on different pieces of the content engine in disperse locations, operating with low communication or visibility into status updates. For instance, a content editor could be reviewing content or working on translations remotely, while a digital marketer is creating landing pages at headquarters. Or, each of these individuals could be waiting on content approvals or asset deliverables before getting started - all of this slows down the content machine. Creating the right workflow process takes work, but it’s important to establish a repeatable process to save time in the long-run and ensure your content marketing stays consistent. Your web content management tool should be able to automate some workflow processes for you. Setting a content calendar, assigning turnaround times for each contributor, and documenting the production process (including set distribution channels like email or social media) will help speed up your content marketing machine too.
- Distribute: Content distribution is a key part of content marketing. Why spend all of this time creating content if it won’t get used or seen? Content marketers much share and syndicate content across multiple channels ranging from website landing pages to email campaigns to blogs. This can get time consuming quickly if you don’t have a centralized content distribution tool in place to share content throughout these channels and across your team for localized marketing efforts. A tool can make repurposing and making updates to content a little easier across various sites, digital applications and technologies. A content distribution and personalization service (like Acquia Lift) enables teams to easily publish, reuse, and syndicate personalized content along the customer journey, including a variety of content sources and publishing channels.
- Measure: You’ll never know if you’re content marketing strategy is successful without measuring your performance. To ensure you can deliver the right personalized content at the right time, you need a unified view of customer profile and behavioral data. Your personalization solution should be able to merge anonymous and known data across websites, sessions or devices as new users are identified. It’s important to track your website visitors’ behavior so you can see what content is most engaging. This will enable you to optimize content strategies based on actual data so you can build future content experiences that are even more tailored to your audience's’ interests.
It’s never too early to start collecting profile data even if your personalization and content strategy is still in the planning phase. The sooner you start with data collection, the easier it will be to execute personalized content and experiences when the time comes.
When selecting a personalization tool, look for an offering that has data profiling, open APIs capable of integration and ease of use for building multiple experiences. You’ll want your solution to be able to connect with your other marketing technology such as your marketing automation platform, email marketing tool or CRM so you can get a central view of customer data in order to deliver a contextual experiences to your audiences.
In planning for content marketing, remember, content must grab your audience's’ attention, engage them, and resonate throughout the customer journey. You’re one step closer to delivering a great customer experience for all of your audiences when you start personalizing your content based on audience behaviors and interests, and optimizing content planning, production, distribution and analysis processes to get your content machine working in overdrive.