Content marketing is cost-effective but robust for growing business success. According to research done by Content Marketing Institute, using content marketing to build customer loyalty is the goal of 52% of content marketing clients.
Another research by Demand Metric reveals that content marketing generates three times more qualified leads than traditional marketing does, with a 60% reduced cost required.
In this article, we have Rogelio Rodriguez and Jeffrey Lambert, founder, and content coordinator at Rizen inbound, share their insights and best practices in creating content marketing personas and producing excellent content that will attract and convert your audience.
Guide to Article
- Guide to Article
- Q: Can You Quickly Introduce Yourself And Talk About Your Inspiration? What Inspired You To Get Into Digital Marketing And Content Marketing?
- Q: Can You Also Walk Me Through Your Process For Bringing The Most Value To Your Clients? What Is The Very First Thing You Do With Your Clients When You First Work With Them?
- Q: Can You Also Share With Us Your Process Around Helping Your Clients Identify, Validate, and Test Different Audiences?
- Q: How Do You Test, Collect, And Validate The Result To Help Your Clients Develop A Bigger Audience?
- Q: How Do You Use That Data To Advise Your Client?
- Q: What Are Some Of The Challenges That You Perceive That Businesses Face When It Comes To The Topic? Do You See Them Struggling With This A Lot?
- Q: How Do You Help Your Clients To Do Content Planning? Do You Help Your Clients With A One-Year Content Plan, Or Is It Shorter Than That?
- Q: How Do You Use That Data, Feedback, Questions, and Objections From The Sales Team To Create Content That Enables The Sales Team?
- Q: What Do You See That Some Writers Miss In Their Process That Would Make Their Content More Effective?
- Q: What Advice Or Insights Do You Have For Startups For Content Marketers Who Are In The Early Phase And Are In The Customer Development Interview Process?
Q: Can You Quickly Introduce Yourself And Talk About Your Inspiration? What Inspired You To Get Into Digital Marketing And Content Marketing?
Rogelio: My name is Rogelio Rodriguez. In the professional world, I’m better known as Rod. What inspired me to start a business initially was very young. I used to involve myself in activities to get my message out and sell more products. My first business was on eBay, and I learned that the content was significant.
The content on my listings was essential because that’s what sold. The copy that was on my eBay pages was essential. It was a massive piece of it that was my introduction to writing and creating content for the internet for people to consume and buy my products.
Eventually, that led me to learn about SEO to build websites and create content for different mediums. Just starting everything from video to blogging to audio, I have learned to make all those other elements that have come together, and now I do it for my clients.
Our objective is to ensure that our clients get found and deliver their messages to their audience.
Jeffrey: I have been doing content marketing for probably 15 years. I started as a history teacher at a small private high school teaching history. As we were a private school, we had to market ourselves to the local community, so the other employees had a sense of complacency.
I started thinking that we can do better than this, we just need to get the word out there and tell our story as to what we can offer, and there’s a group of people interested in what we are offering. So teaching myself while I am teaching full-time to high schoolers about marketing and learning turned into ten years in the classroom doing that on the side.
Then I moved into an administrative position as a principal at a larger school and worked with my direct head of development. I had learned and worked with other marketing aspects and agencies to grow the school that I am now in charge of, and then I made the shift from education into the private sector for marketing, and I worked with Rod’s company.
So marketing has always been in my blood. I guess you could say it’s a matter of looking at what you can offer and finding the group interested and letting them know that this is how we can help you.
Q: Can You Also Walk Me Through Your Process For Bringing The Most Value To Your Clients? What Is The Very First Thing You Do With Your Clients When You First Work With Them?
Rogelio: The first thing is to understand their audience and the people they want to attract. The more you know about them, the more intimately you know their needs, desires, and the problems they face. You are going to be more in tune with the content and marketingstrategy.
The content will be more relevant to the audience’s persona if you develop content that will help them overcome those challenges, help them fulfill desires, and help them solve the challenges or problems they’re facing daily. As long as you’re doing that and have the audience in your mind, the content will resonate. It’s going to work to your advantage and will generate a relationship.
Q: Can You Also Share With Us Your Process Around Helping Your Clients Identify, Validate, and Test Different Audiences?
Rogelio: There is a myriad of ways. What have we done in the past is understand what pushed them to find the service? What gave them anxiety before doing business with the service? And what is the impact of the service afterward?
We can start with a small group of people already engaged with our client. We survey those individuals and then create a content marketing strategy around those answers to why they do business.
Jeffrey: One of the things we try to do that is different from the competitors that we see directly down here in our space. We try to start and make sure that the company is solidified on who they are and what they are trying for contentcreation and successful contentstrategy.
Because a lot of times, when we begin working with a client, they want to focus immediately on who’s our audience and who we’re selling to. But we also find that once we start selling the product, the company has no idea who they want to be, and they don’t understand their product goal. They don’t know why they exist.
So we like to start with them looking inwardly; do you understand who you are? Do you know what your goals are? Do you know what problems your product solves?
Once we have that foundation, we take a robust engineering approach to marketing, and so we test before. We roll out anything widespread. So we do a lot of small sampling, whether by sending out targeted Facebook ads to figure out the problems and reception. So it could be something as simple as short sentences.
We can gauge the audience feedback based on who we are targeting. With that preliminary information, if the message is resonating. We do a lot of testing before we even get to the content production phase. We roll it out broadly to ensure that this specific messaging gets feedback before creating a contentmarketingpersona.
So we are huge on that because we don’t want to go and publish something and hope it works as opposed to just making a little bit of a growth-driven approach and a little bit of a conversion optimization approach where we’re testing ‘okay, this works now, we’ll expand it a little more.’
We grow it more and more, and some clients are a little miffed by that at first. Because they want to go big and bold, they want a thousand customers in the first week. We try to walk them back and say that’s not unless you already have a significant presence on social media and the internet, a fantastic following, and understand who you are.
That’s not how it’s going to work. So we focus on incremental growth and testing before implementing.
Q: How Do You Test, Collect, And Validate The Result To Help Your Clients Develop A Bigger Audience?
Jeffrey: We collect a lot of data that we can gather from working with external services. We do some phone calls with customer service reps to try and get feedback from industry professionals. So again, if we are working with a roofer, we may decide to call other roofers in the region to figure out precisely the pain points you have.
We have a list of questions that we ask. We give that to our call team. We compile the feedback, and then we just look for commonalities and responses. We have the demographic information, which we tabulate, and then we also have the messaging to make sure that messaging link starts to repeat itself.
So we know three different owners said this similarly. We know there are pain points; then we move on to the testing part, where we start lightly putting it out on social media. Whether through targeted Facebook ads or something of that nature, we can see the response. Whether it’s a follow or alike, or a comment.
We can see what the reception is to that, so we look for specific feedback instead of pre-existing complex data because we want to see what’s working now, not as opposed to what was three years ago.
Rogelio: The only thing I would add is it’s just the way we collect the data. We use tools like Hubspot or Sprout social and a myriad of other tools to collect their behavior and movements on the website, their interactions with certain pages, and specific content. We try to manage it all in one place to understand who our customers are.
Using those tools, we see how they are moving through the buying journey, and we use those tools to make those decisions. There is a lot of data and analysis to ensure that our message is fine-tuned.
Q: How Do You Use That Data To Advise Your Client?
Jeffrey: We like to create buyer persona profiles, and I am sure you’ve seen them. We have a customized deck that we put together based on all of our tabulation of the data.
We go through with them and say, “look, based on the region you’re serving, this is the average age range that we found, the average income that we found, and the average level of education.”
Then, even more, information is tied down to information sources they consume and which we can get very quickly from having those conversations on the phone and online forms that we send out.
So we know they’re saying this is what we use, this is how we research new products, this is where we go when we have a problem. So that helps us figure out how to reach them best. Then as included in the buyer persona, we’re able to include messaging that’s working.
So we’ll create six to eight statements that we’ve tested, that have done well, and say this is a problem that we have put out. We give them quotes in their buyer persona. We put it all together into an excellent buyer persona package for them, but it’s not just the face with the demographics. It’s also the tested statements that we know challenges, goals, etc.
Q: What Are Some Of The Challenges That You Perceive That Businesses Face When It Comes To The Topic? Do You See Them Struggling With This A Lot?
Jeffery: The biggest problem we see with our clients is their buyer personas. They get a target audience profile, and it’s on point. But when they change their product or service, the previous persona doesn’t match it. But still, they use the same buyer persona for the new product or service, and obviously, that’s not a match for it.
So they try to fit a square peg into a round hole. They don’t go back to the buyer persona and update the audience they’re trying to reach. So that’s one big challenge that we see.
Q: How Do You Help Your Clients To Do Content Planning? Do You Help Your Clients With A One-Year Content Plan, Or Is It Shorter Than That?
Jeffery: We use what’s called a content compass for a whole 12-month plan. It can change very quickly based on the platform they’re most comfortable with. We have developed it from something as simple as using an excel spreadsheet to having a more customized option that we build out.
Some clients like the spreadsheet because the goal is to access it instead of using a spreadsheet and teamwork. Another piece of software to track everything throughout the year, but we never plan more than 90 days. We come up with the basic structure of what the content goals are going to be, and then we take it every 90 days.
The number one reason is every 90 days, we take a look at the buyer persona and see if it’s changed, and then we also look and see if the message is resonating. Because initially, it seems like we’re still testing, and we don’t want to put out a year’s worth of content before we go back and say this is effective.
So we always do it in 90-day blocks. We always start the quarter by setting goals with the client, meeting with their marketing and sales staff, and asking them questions to get feedback to better guide the efforts in the future. So we’re collecting data from the salespeople on the ground.
What questions are you calling from clients? What are the objections that you’re hearing? Where are you finding your leads, and then we use those to build future content pieces. So everything that we’re creating, we’re getting direct feedback not only from our audience research but also from the people that are in the trenches in the company to make sure we’re meeting their needs too.
Rogelio: I think that’s our process in a very concise manner, and it’s important just to be adaptable. We have a one-year plan, and we have those goals set because of business, needs, and audience changes.
We have to be able to stay flexible. You have to think about that as you’re planning; you have this long-term vision, and you have to be able to remain flexible in the short term and adapt accordingly.
Q: How Do You Use That Data, Feedback, Questions, and Objections From The Sales Team To Create Content That Enables The Sales Team?
Jeffery: If it’s a particular piece of feedback that we’re getting and we know that people are looking for it, we lean in ultimately into that by just directly answering the question. A piece of content could be a video, blog post, or infographic.
Because we know it’s landing, maybe not high in search results, but we know that the audience we’re serving is already in conversations with the sales reps. Marketing reps need those questions answered, so we feel comfortable creating those content pieces.
Then we also run every piece of content through a pretty tight SEO process to see the search volume for this content. What can we do to optimize it for showing up high in google search results for the question and answer things?
Then we do it in performance-based as well, so it’s SEO, but it’s also response-based in-person elements that give us reporting back. Then we move from there and try to cover our broad term topics. We want to rank for these keywords because general term audiences are looking for these topics.
So we cover those, but then we also try to answer specific questions that we know may not be as high in search volume, but as I said, we confirm from the individuals who are having the conversations that these are questions that people want to have answers to.
Rogelio: I want to talk about a book titled “They Ask You Answer” by a marketer and an agency owner named Mark Sheridan. He wrote it a while back, but it’s a framework for putting together all the answers to all the questions that your customers may have.
He had a pool installation service business that he built through content marketing. He did it by answering every question that he was ever asked. He put it on a blog post, and I think it was the most trafficked fiberglass pool website in the world.
Q: What Do You See That Some Writers Miss In Their Process That Would Make Their Content More Effective?
Jeffery: The biggest thing I ran into was to correct the issue pretty quickly because I was a freelance writer myself during the summers. When I was teaching to help supplement income, I always made sure that I included SEO dents keywords. I was linking out to high authoritative sites.
I was surprised when I started with ridge and how often I would connect with the freelance writer, have them write a piece, and it would come back, and it would be very thin on the foundational things. I ensured that you were getting inbound and outbound links, including providing a wide range of targeted keywords to the piece you were discussing.
I created a particular template for all of my writing assignments. Now it’s a simple rubric table that has the name of the topic, target keywords, target audience, links they need to include in our website, and possible outbound targets they need to link to the website. So it almost feels like for some writers, nowadays, people are writing for volume rather than quality.
So when I send that to them, I say, ‘hey, we need an article based on this, and here is the overview.’ When it comes back, it’s straightforward for me to be tracking what they missed. This saves me time, and several writers tell me they love it. Because they know exactly what I’m looking for.
I think writers are busy, and there are not a lot of good writers anymore for a wide variety of reasons. So I think that it’s on us as the managers. The people curating the content make sure we’re giving the writers a clear picture of what we want from them.
Q: What Advice Or Insights Do You Have For Startups For Content Marketers Who Are In The Early Phase And Are In The Customer Development Interview Process?
Jeffery: We have worked with a couple of IP services companies that said we’re in a small stage and want to get big quickly, so we ask how much you are willing to invest. Once we establish that you’re ready to spend, we push a growth-driven design approach to our content marketing.
We say we’re going to start with one social account. We are going to start with x amount of blog posts per month. We’re going to put out x amount of videos. We will put those out based on our testing where we know that works, and then we’re going to see what comes back and what resonates.
It leads back to the website. It’s booking consultations; then we know that the client, possibly based on the messaging, tends to want to read informational pieces. We will lean into that more as time goes on to land social content.
So we’ll lean into that more and try to create a 10-page website, 200 blogs per month, flashy commercials, etc. We’re starting because budgets are limited even though the expectations are high. We have to see what’s working before we dump in a lot of money.
So it’s just a message of patience that we try and tell startups to let’s move an inch and slowly, based on what we see, is working.
Rogelio: Starting small is essential and putting on the right face. I see a lot of companies that will put administrators as their authors. I think that’s a huge mistake. Someone needs to be a face, a person who knows. In the beginning, most startups were driven by the relationships they built.
We are all driven by technology, but in the end, all it’s doing is helping us connect with other human being. So there has to be a human face writing that content or at least authoring that content to build relationships.