In the first part of this series, I began laying out a case for the importance of producing content at every stage of your sales funnel, from awareness to action. Starting at the top of the traditional content marketing funnel with blogging, I explored the specific role your blog has in engaging prospects online.
But with any funnel, the top is just the beginning. In order for blogs to be effective, they must lead people down, from awareness to interest and, eventually, to the desire to make a purchase decision.
In part two of this three-part series on how the content marketing funnel works, we’ll look at all the content that can go in the middle of the funnel. It’s the stuff you write for people who already know who you are, but need reminders of your services, your products, and your culture. It’s what you produce to keep in front of the audience you’ve already built. Ultimately, to keep things simple, we’ll focus on how blogs continue to function in the middle of the funnel, and also on the role of social content and email marketing.
Circling Back to Blogs
Before we dive into the new stuff, it’s important to take a moment to address just how important blog posts are to the entire content marketing funnel. While they sit nicely at the top, they also help to provide the skeleton for pretty much everything in the middle. Blogs are where you can really dig into your subject matter, and they’re also a good, natural jumping off point for readers to find their way to your campaign landing pages, but more on that in the next article.
While some of the content you share via social media and via your email marketing efforts should absolutely be unique to those platforms, and some of the content will work to point people right to your premium content (skipping over blogs completely), a lot of your time spent on social and email will involve promoting your blog content in order to gain traffic on your website.
Whenever we work within Facebook or other social platforms for our clients, I have to point out from the beginning that social media can (and should) serve two very distinct purposes. We’ll address those in order.
First: Social media as an advertising platform. Especially with Facebook (but also with Twitter and, to an extent, LinkedIn), you can use social media to create customized target audiences and promote your content directly to your prospects. It’s an important part of filling this funnel with good leads (in addition to organic reach through blogs). When you produce ads on Facebook, it’s important to consider how different audiences will engage with your landing pages and premium content.
Second: Social media is a place to build community. Just like a mailing list, your growing social media following make up those potential leads who occupy the middle of the funnel: they’re interested in your brand, and they may even be considering a purchase decision for what you offer. Social followings should therefore be grown actively through paid and organic promotions. Additionally, it’s key to utilize each platform according to its strengths, promoting blog content to your Facebook audience with boosted posts, and regularly broadcasting content on Twitter in order to learn about your audience’s media habits.
Many of our clients share the frustration that old customers, failed prospects, and many people on their mailing lists don’t have a full view of what their company actually does. A customer may have purchased one widget from them one time, and may need a different type of widget the company offers, but that customer has no idea the company offers it.
This is where it’s crucial to build, maintain, and actively engage your email lists. Monthly newsletters give you an opportunity to share all of your blog content with a captive audience, which may introduce those already familiar with your brand to entirely new offerings. You can also direct your subscribers to your premium content easily. Finally, emails are an obvious place to produce original content that can’t be found elsewhere, including case studies, letters from company leadership, or brief articles.
As your blog draws an organic audience and your targeted content moves them along the middle of the funnel, it’s important to have a valuable, clear destination for users to navigate towards. In the final part of this series, we’ll look at premium content at the bottom of the funnel, and how it can provide the basis for entire content campaigns, each a complete experience in its own right.
To learn more about how Metonymy Media can help your brand engage your prospects and reach your goals through content marketing, check out our case study on effective blogging and audience engagement, Just Write Great Content.
Continued in Part 3