Missed our introduction to The Wise Teacher? Read it here.
Every customer, from the smallest to largest, has within them the potential to be a hero. They are on a quest of their own, one marked by peril and problems only they can solve. But to complete their mission, they’ll need some guidance. That’s where you – the Wise Teacher – come in. Whatever your brand is, it’s been brought into existence to solve pain points and make life easier for the people who use it. The only problem is that these people, these customers, these would-be heroes may not know how your services and products can help them solve their problems. They’re not aware of what tools and wisdom they need to complete their journey. As a mentor with experience and a solution, it’s your job to reveal these secrets to your hero, while doing so in the right way to deliver your messages at the right time. Here are the vital pieces of a brilliant content marketing strategy that will allow you to be the Obi-Wan and your customers to become Luke Skywalker.
Your Reader is a Hero, but What Is Their Backstory?
Before you can start selling yourself as a Wise Teacher, you have to know who it is you’re trying to guide. Establishing a thorough definition of your audience–or audiences–will ensure that your content is customized to reach their needs and interests. Content can’t simply extoll the virtues of your product or service, it has to inspire readers to recognize they need your product or service. You do that by creating or curating content that speaks to the audience’s interests.
The primary way to define your customers is through an audience analysis. There are many approaches that you can take, but a good place to start is with your current client or user base. You can begin by examining their experiences with your business–why they came in the first place, how they learned about your company, what sort of success they’ve seen and the problems your product or service has solved.
Another more direct way is to survey them. Establish demographics and they way they use your services. Ask them about previous experiences with other similar companies. Use this information to form an image of your customer archetypes. Dumbledore and the crew at Hogwarts, for example, didn’t teach every would-be wizard about Voldemort; they saved that information for Harry, as he was the one who needed it.
Charting Your Customer’s Journey
Your customer doesn’t suddenly pop into existence the moment they pick up the phone to call you. These individuals are on a path of their own, and the starting point of that journey may be very far from purchasing anything from your brand. If your company’s marketing is directed only towards those who are ready to buy, you’re going to be missing out on a huge portion of potential leads. On the other hand, if your content is too broad and only touches those who are doing the most basic of research into their pain points, it’s not going to drive them towards interacting with your business.
This is where the Wise Mentor excels: Building genuine customer journey charts. When creating a customer journey chart, you should first consider every type of customer you want to market to. Suppose you own a sporting goods company. One customer may simply be a runner who needs a new pair of shoes or a knee brace; another may be a concerned parent, who wants to ensure they’re getting the safest mouthguard for their child just starting Pee Wee football; or it be an Athletic Director who needs a partner who can supply entire teams with a variety of products and pads. It’s important to remember that every one of these journeys is unique, so your marketing needs to map these experiences to different channels.
Let’s say Professor Charles Xavier is looking to boost enrollment at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. At its most basic level, he’s teaching young mutants how to control and understand their new powers. But on a higher level, he has loftier goals, such as the peaceful integration of mutants into society, as well as to create a non-violent and safe relationship between humans and mutants alike. That means there is a high-level target audience somewhere in the middle, of mutants who want to both be the best and the most peaceful they can be.
In terms of a content marketing strategy, there are tons of potential new leads that may discover his organization along their journey. He might start by creating content that speaks broadly about mutant rights or case studies about harmonious human/mutant relationships. This draws customers towards his site’s blog, on which potential mutants or caretakers of mutants can learn about what sets his school apart from others. Then, eventually, personalized content that speaks to the experiences of a mutant at the school, or some sort of premium content about caring for your mutant child’s emotional needs inspires these readers to provide contact information or reach out directly. By not ignoring these superheroes at different points throughout the journey, Xavier stands to reach a wider and more lucrative lead market.
Or, you know, he could just read someone’s mind and say whatever they want to hear. But unfortunately that’s probably not an option for you, Wise Teacher or not.
Speaking to Your Customer Through the Funnel
This idea ties back strongly to both ideas of understanding the channels through which you speak to an audience, as well as creating content that respects the journey of every potential customer. Content marketing is often referred to as a funnel, with the idea of casting a wide net through broader communication and eventually converting those into leads or sales. Your content can be broken down into three categories: Top of funnel, middle of funnel, and bottom of funnel. Each of these sections has approaches and content types that best suit the potential customers within them.
Top of funnel
Engaging with customers here is much like when a young hero first meets their Wise Teacher mentor. The content created here should introduce the common questions or practical knowledge the hero needs before embarking on this quest. The best type of Top of Funnel material is blog content. These pieces should provide entry-level information and give readers an idea of what their problem is and how it could potentially be solved. Think of all the questions and issues that might surround a reader’s problem and write great content that answers those queries. Get creative with the idea generation and explore all the ways someone’s internet search might land them on your blog content. Also, don’t be afraid to write a lot of content. The more blogs you publish means more questions answered, and more heroes in need of your mentorship.
- Thought leadership pieces
- Video content
- Pillar Pages
Middle of funnel
Here lies the group of heroes who have come to you, the Wise Teacher, to find out how they can utilize your specific products or services to complete their journey. Think of these interactions as the training montage during any hero movie; though they begin shakily and unsure, they slowly become more educated and self-assured in overcoming the hurdles that lay before them. The content you create for this portion of readers will be either email content, social media posts, or website materials like case studies or a quiz that generates a price-quote for their needs. You’re customizing what you send based on the actions they’ve taken as they interact with your brand. For example, an email campaign can be customized based on the interest they’ve shown in a particular aspect of your brand or a specific product.
- Targeted email list
- Monthly newsletter
- Social media posts
- Case studies
Bottom of Funnel
This is the time to convert readers into actual leads. Here is where the Wise Teacher mentor provides their superhero trainee with the powerful tool or technique to finally face their challenge. These are people who are seriously considering a purchase or a partnership, so the content you provide needs to have tangible value to them. This might mean a downloadable guide, or some sort of handy tool that allows them to see the greatness of your business. Whatever it is, it needs to be highly specific and include calls-to-actions that will inspire them to make direct contact with your company.
- Downloadable guides
- Overview of Your Pricing
Becoming a Wise Teacher is more than being a salesperson for your company. It means compelling these young padawans to want more out of their lives, and to follow the teachings of your business. The information you have may ultimately be in their best interest, but you need to help them understand not only that solutions exist, but their problems exist as well. The Wise Teacher is fiercely dedicated to that all-important hero customer journey. What does your hero need? Sometimes it’s tough love, sometimes it’s practical tools, and sometimes it’s an opinion. Once you’ve created a competent marketing strategy that speaks to all these stories and experiences, you can be sure to help your brand find more Skywalkers and less Vaders.