In this article, Boyd Wason from Engaging Partners shares his insights on digital marketing and reveals the keys to successful buyer persona development. We’ll cover:
- Q: Can you introduce yourself and also talk about your inspiration? How did you get into content marketing or digital marketing?
- Q: What is the very first thing you do when you onboard a new HubSpot client?
- Q: How important is it to have 12 months of content planning?
- Q: When you create a piece of content for your clients, what about the process of quality?
- Q: What do you think that some writers or some marketers miss in the process that would make their content more effective?
- Q: If a writer is working on content for their clients, what are some checklists for them to factor in persona and bring that in front of their work?
- Q: Do you think that’s a good approach for businesses to create content working with journalists?
- Q: For startups or for brands launching a new product or service, what are some of the recommendations you have for them for creating content and making content effective?
Q: Can you introduce yourself and also talk about your inspiration? How did you get into content marketing or digital marketing?
My name is Boyd Wason, and I am the managing director and founder of Engaging Partners. We are a New Zealand-based HubSpot content marketing agency. We work across the APEC region. We have probably got more clients in Australia than we have in New Zealand as an agency.
We have been going for over 15 years. We have always been in how do you convert people digitally online from unaware to a buyer, and then in 2014, we became involved in HubSpot. We saw that everything we were trying to cobble together using different technologies could suddenly be placed into one technology platform.
So, we adopted HubSpot very early on, and we have been pleasantly pleased with the way HubSpot’s grown. As a result, we are now totally dedicated to HubSpot implementations. We have got probably 50 clients. We have had about 50 Hubspot clients, and we run an entire content marketing agency for them.
So included in that content, we create websites, video content, ebooks, infographics, conduct webinars, and the whole gambit of full-service content marketing. So from marketing strategy to production and reporting, and then optimization of those marketing campaigns.
Q: What is the very first thing you do when you onboard a new HubSpot client?
We do a marketing strategy first and what that means is that before we engage with any client, we go through a strategic framework. We use a framework based on McKinsey’s loyalty loop and then overlay that with HubSpot’s thinking around awareness consideration and the decision process.
Our strategic framework always starts with buyer personas. We create buyer’s journeys from persona development that put us in a position where we know what content and what people want at each stage of the persona.
We can then go through and audit the customer’s content and understand what content they have for each target persona at each stage of their buyer’s journey and what content they don’t have persona development process.
From that buyer persona template, we get a clear picture of what we need to do to develop their content and run their marketing campaign over 12 months. What persona do we start with? What campaigns can we easily put into the market? Where would marketing persona be a quick one? What content needs to be developed according to the target audience? What content is there and can be sweated?
Then once content’s in the market and running in HubSpot, we can see how that buyer persona is performing, and we know how to optimize that content or aid its discovery with paid media and social media.
Q: How important is it to have 12 months of content planning?
You know clients particularly wobble their way through the content. They get a passion, launch a product, and think that they have got to create content around the product, which is incorrect. They need to create content around the buyer’s needs, pain points, and buyer persona.
They’ll only do one stage of the buyer’s journey so that they may do a calculator for consideration, or they may do some calls to action and set up a process for conversion. They usually don’t do very much awareness.
So typically, even when we come into customers with long-term HubSpot clients, we find significant holes in their content, or they have got some good content. Still, they haven’t joined it up properly, so they’re not getting their ops that it’s not actually optimized and working very well.
So wherever we want to sweat, I’ve already done what content I’ve already done, but if there are significant holes, we need to create a buyer persona and the content to fill those holes.
Q: When you create a piece of content for your clients, what about the process of quality?
There are many places you can go and get content produced at relatively low prices. I mean, there are lots of people touting that they will do a fantastic range for you at rock bottom prices, and really at the end of the day, when it comes to content, you get what you pay for.
So we would instead produce content that we know will resonate and work with a buyer persona rather than go for quantity because Google doesn’t recognize amount; Google recognizes quality. So you’re better to invest in good quality content.
You know a writer, a subject matter expert writer, a producer who knows how to set up the links and correct the images. Someone then who knows how to promote that properly and has a social calendar to encourage it.
Q: What do you think that some writers or some marketers miss in the process that would make their content more effective?
They often don’t join; they lose sight of the persona. They look at the product, or they look at the company and write from the perspective of the company or the product and forget to write to the persona so well.
An organization should have a formal tone of voice. You should never forget to channel that tone of voice into different personas. So if you’re speaking to an older buyer, then you’re going to use slightly different language or phrase things slightly differently than you’re talking to someone who’s maybe entering the product for the first time.
Q: If a writer is working on content for their clients, what are some checklists for them to factor in persona and bring that in front of their work?
I think the standard is still the writer. Writers have to be confident in their subject matter and skilled and knowledgeable. They’ve got to be able to read and review the persona so that they can create a connection. To be a good writer to start with, you still need to do the storytelling and all those components.
Q: Do you think that’s a good approach for businesses to create content working with journalists?
You are writing as a journalist is different from writing commercial content. A journalist will hide what you want to know at the end of the article because their goal is to get you to read the article and suppress the nugget at the bottom.
Whenever you read a newspaper, you find yourself getting halfway through the article, going where’s the headline promise. When you are writing commercially, that’s very different in a content marketing sense because you want to deliver value from the first paragraph.
So I think that journalists have some excellent skills, but they don’t naturally are great content marketing writers. You need to understand the commercial process and the objectives of content for content marketing.
Q: For startups or for brands launching a new product or service, what are some of the recommendations you have for them for creating content and making content effective?
I think that for startups, what they’re not very well known is that content will allow you to build credibility and trust, so startups don’t have that. People are coming to them for the first time, or small businesses generally don’t have the budgets to create widespread awareness, making content even more important because it’s filling a gap in marketing.
My advice to them is not to skimp on the production of their content because if they do that, then it’s the same thing as if they were putting a lousy ad on tv, and they can’t put bad ads on tv, but they can put repulsive content out there, and that will have precisely the same effect on them. So make sure you go through a strategic process, think it out, and put good quality content out there.