Choosing the Right Type of Content for Each Stage of the Buyer Journey

TIMETo succeed at content marketing, you have to use the right content at the right time. 

When it comes to content marketing, timing is everything. You need to know what content to use when to have the greatest possible impact on your target audience. Unfortunately, using the wrong content at the wrong time typically just doesn’t work. It doesn’t resonate with your audience and, as a result, they often don’t take the time to consume it.
Below are some simple guidelines to help steer you in the right direction in terms of what types of content you should consider creating — and why — throughout the course of a prospect’s journey down the path to purchase.

At the unaware and awareness stages

At these stages, your goal is to raise awareness and demonstrate the value of solving whatever problem your customers may be facing. To do that, you need to educate your target audience about the problem they have and make it clear to them that there is a better way of doing things. At this point, try using shorter pieces of content that can quickly and easily be digested and that are as entertaining as they are educational. Some types of content to consider at these two stages include:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Viral videos
  • Articles
  • Industry data
  • Podcasts

At both of these stages of the buying process, your content shouldn’t be about your company or your products and services. Instead, focus on the problem your target buyer faces and the fact that there are solutions. This is your opportunity to be a thought leader, not a cheerleader for how great your company is.

At the interest stage

At this stage, your goal is to promote interest in finding the right solution. As such, encourage exploration of the different solutions by explaining what factors your target audience should be considering. At this point, you will want to utilize more substantial pieces of content that explain the different solutions that are available, such as:

  • Webinars
  • Landing pages
  • eBooks
  • White papers
  • Reports

By this point in the buying process, you can begin to talk about your company and your products and services, but they should still not be the main focus as you should be describing solutions in more general terms.

At the research stage

Next you need to foster comparisons by explaining how the solutions to your target audience’s problem differ and why yours is the best. Employ content that clearly articulates the value that your company and its solution can bring, such as:

  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Product and feature guides
  • Fact sheets
  • Product demos
  • ROI calculators

Now your content should be exclusively focused on how your company and its solution can solve your target buyer’s problem better than anyone else’s.

At the purchase stage

Lastly, you want to encourage a sale. Provide your target audience with everything necessary to evaluate your solution and ensure that it’s right for them. Leverage content that will give your buyers confidence that they are making the right choice, such as:

  • How-to videos
  • Tutorials

Again, your content is exclusively focused on your company and how its solution can solve the target buyer’s problem better than anyone else’s.
As always, timing is everything and in content marketing that’s particularly true. You’ve got to time what content you deliver to your audience based on where they are on their buyer journey. It’s easier said than done, but if you can pull it off, it will make a huge difference in your effectiveness.
What types of content have worked best with your customers at each stage of the buyer journey?

Kevin Cain
Kevin Cain
Content Marketing Director

Kevin Cain is the Content Marketing Director for BlueChip Communication, Australia's leading financial services communication firm. Before joining BlueChip, Kevin was the Director of Content Strategy for OpenView.
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