Nothing is more annoying than working at a desk that’s lopsided. From afar, the table looks fine. It’s only when you sit down and rest your cup that you notice there’s a problem.
Having wobbly content works the same way: from a distance, it seems fine, but when you take a closer look you get a different story.
What is balanced content? Content that gives your readers what they need, based on their marketing persona and what stage of the funnel they are at. Balanced content is essential to making sure you have what’s necessary to move your leads from ‘unknown’ to ‘converted’.
So why not just create a lot of content for every stage of the funnel? In the words of viral internet royalty Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for that.
But balancing your content for each stage of the funnel doesn’t mean you have to create more content at each stage, or that each of your buyer personas has equal pieces of content.
Looking at your current marketing efforts can provide some clues on where content strategy is creating wobbles in your funnel, and how to balance your content.
Start Here: Audit and Measure
An audit can help you figure out right away if you’ve got areas in your funnel that need attention. It’s like looking under the table to see why it’s shaking – a look at your audit and metrics will tell you where the problem in your content is coming from.
Use your audit to sort your content based on what stage of the buyer journey and which buyer persona it’s for. If you don’t already have this in your audit, check out HubSpot’s Content Inventory Worksheet for some ideas.
Taking a look at your inventory, do you have a lot of attractive advertisements and landing pages for your awareness stage? Or maybe you have thousands of blog posts that you thought were middle of the funnel content, but are more suited to the top of the funnel?
Keep your buyer personas in mind when you look at the content you have for each stage in the funnel. Maybe you have a lot of content for the awareness stage for all of your personas, but one persona requires a couple pieces of content for the decision stage.
Having this information alone doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem. But if you cross reference this with your metrics, you could see the gaps in your content in a whole new light.
One area you could look at is the information for your landing pages where leads can subscribe to your updates or get a content offer. If you’re simply not getting enough people to your landing pages, this could indicate you don’t have enough top-of-the-funnel content.
If you have a lot of people landing on your pages and filling out the form for a content offer, but they don’t convert to demos or requests for more information about your product, it’s possible that you’re lacking content for the evaluation stage of the funnel.
Just because you may have what looks like enough content for each of your buyer personas, if your metrics and data say conversions aren’t happening at one stage in the funnel, that’s an indicator that information is missing somewhere.
Watch the Gaps
Once you’ve identified places in your content strategy that need some help, you can start to look at the content you need.
Your audit and metrics will tell you if you need more content at a particular stage and for a specific buyer persona. What it won’t tell you is what kind of data you need for each stage.
If, for example, you’ve identified one of your buyer personas needs to feel like an expert on your product before they can make a decision, this could help you figure out what information they want to see in your case studies and testimonials.
Their FAQs may be more technical than they would for other buyer personas, so maybe this changes what Qs you decide to A on your FAQ page.
When you’re looking at your strategy and trying to figure out where you need to fill in gaps, it might be worth it to go to a mountain and sit on top of it for a while. What I mean by this is: be honest with yourself.
If your team has been creating content for one buyer persona or stage in the funnel, or if your content has stalled somewhere, you need to ask yourself: WHY?
Be honest about the answers. It’s possible there’s information you need that you don’t have, or skills that you need, but are missing from your team.
If there is a reason for why your content has been lacking, call it out. Miss this step, and you could be setting yourself up for failure.
Strategic Gap Filling
How do you start filling in the gaps in your content strategy without putting more strain on your resources?
Strategic gap filling might sound like something your dentist will try to sell you on, but for this blog post it means balancing out what content you can offer your leads based on your capacity, what they need and what will most likely help to convert your leads to customers.
This is why the inventory is important: it forces us to look at the problems we have with our strategy. Once you’ve identified the gap in your content, it’s time to incorporate what you know to complement how you create and distribute your content.
In creating and publishing content it can be easy to stick with what’s “working” without looking up to see what’s really going on. So if you’ve identified that your content is out of balance, you could start fixing the problem by looking at content that’s in development right now.
Before creating new content to supplement what you already have, you could consider looking at the content you have coming down the pipeline that serves a part of your funnel that is already full. Instead of creating new content, in this case, you can try altering the the message or content type.
This is an opportunity to get creative with content you already have planned. It’s also an opportunity to use tactics you’ve used before to target a different buyer persona than you usually would.
Quick ways to balance your content for the funnel:
- Can any content that’s currently being worked on be tweaked so that it helps fill out your strategy before it’s published?
- Don’t forget about your old content: Try repurposing something that’s out of date for a different buyer persona or stage in the funnel (or both).
- Rethink what you usually do regularly, like blog posts and podcasts. How can you create content so that it’s more balanced along the stages in your funnel?
For this post we focused mostly on the marketing funnel, but don’t forget about the states of the funnel on the other side, after your hot leads turn into customers. This might be more of a job for your customer success team, but balance here is important too.
On this side of the funnel, imbalance might be delivered to new customers before they’re ready to refer your product or service. Or before a customer has had all their technical issues handled and has fully implemented your solution, for example.
All of the content being created for customers in the sales funnel is designed to turn those potential customers into actual customers. And eventually, you want those customers to turn into advocates.
Balancing your content for every stage of the funnel means that, eventually, you have to look at the content at the customer lifecycle stages of the funnel.
Stabilizing Your Funnel with Content
Once you’ve taken a look at your content and found its wobbly places, you can flip it over and tighten the screws – redistribute what and how you publish content to each of your main pillars.
You might have a lot of content, but doing an audit and looking at your metrics doesn’t have to involve heavy lifting. If you know you’re looking for places where your content needs some adjustments, focus on pinpointing the problem rather than looking at all of your content.
The next step is the fun part (in my opinion): tweaking your strategy and coming up with creative ways to balance the content in your funnel for your buyer personas.
So how’s your content doing? How do you make sure your content is balanced for each stage of the funnel? And what’s your first clue that you’ve got balance problems in your funnel? Let us know in the comments below!
Analyze your content like a pro. Read our Ultimate Guide to Content Insights.