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August 26, 2015

Anna Ruth Williams

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Partner

A shorter version of this article was originally published in PR News.

We’re only halfway through 2015 and I’d confidently bet money that the word “content marketing” will make the end of the year buzzword list. You may want to slam your head against your desk when someone uses it in a sentence these days, but PR and marketing professionals are using it for a reason – it works! So well in fact that it delivers 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing, according to Hubspot’s recent report.

Consumer decision-making is not randomized, but rather, follows a pattern. Marketers and advertisers have tried to pinpoint this pattern in order to strategically plan and execute content at each of these touch points, thus, purchasing funnels were born. Remember these, guys? You probably briefly learned about them in a college business class at some point. But the over 115-year-old funnel shouldn’t be taken for granted when it comes to thinking up your content marketing strategy.

To bring content marketing within the purchasing funnel to life, I’d like to make it relatable to the masses. Let’s talk about your daily physical fitness. Perhaps it’s something you look forward to each day or maybe it’s something you haven’t thought about in a while. However, after a visit to the physician’s office, you were prescribed daily exercise and together with your doctor, you set a health goal that you will try to meet by the end of the year. Using this analogy, below are 5 steps to the purchasing funnel and how content marketing ties into each step of the process before a decision is made:

1. Problem Recognition:

 You realize that you are having trouble making it to the gym with your busy travel schedule for work. You want to continue to workout so that you can reach your personal health goals.

2. Information Search:

 You begin searching the Internet for options. You know that there are a lot of free workouts on YouTube, but they will not keep you accountable. You’ve also heard a lot about fitness apps lately, there are just so many, how could you choose? You recently read an article about the top 15 apps for 2015, maybe that will help dwindle your decision down to only a few.

3. Evaluation of Alternatives:

 You start to read reviews on 5 apps in the App Store that will assist your immediate needs. You begin to Google the app name to see if you can glean any other insights. In doing so, you discover that it’s received a lot of positive media attention and is incredibly active on social media, has a blog, very responsive to any user issues and has a very engaging introductory video that has pumped you up to workout!

4. Purchase Decision:

You decide to go with the app that has a mixture of glowing reviews, top-tier media coverage, a cool video and the most active via social media.

5. Post-Purchase Evaluation:

 You love the app. The only thing that is missing is Zumba workouts. You contact the trainer via the app, and she immediately adds a few for your use. You become a brand ambassador for said app, giving positive reviews and social media posts and telling all of your friends to download.

I know what you are now thinking - blogs, reviews, media placements, social media posts, SEO – oh my! So much content and so little time. There are also lots of moving parts and outlying variables that go into each person’s process. This is why it is very important to remember your target demographic in order to better understand the process – also, you don’t have to do this content marketing thing alone.

At Alloy, we’ve helped clients form and excel with their content marketing strategy – landing headlines and leads into their inbox. Dig deeper by watching these videos from our recent webinar entitled How Integrated Communications Can Improve Your SEO Strategy and Conversion Rates.