Relevant content - custom content

How to use custom content in content marketing

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Relevance doesn’t get anywhere near enough attention when we speak about content marketing, which is strange because relevance drives results.

Think of it this way: content marketing is a constant battle for attention – and relevancy creates that attention.

The simple truth is relevant content stands a much better chance of being consumed than irrelevant content. Relevant content is more authentic, genuine, and relatable.

Brands can get into the bad habit of creating content that attempts to please everyone, without actually satisfying anyone. The commonest reason for this is they have too many customer personas to cover in a short number of words.

A solution to this issue is custom content. This requires you to create more than one version of a piece of content and enable the delivery of the right version to the right audience.

What is custom content?

Here’s our definition of custom content:

Custom content is content that is tailored to your different customer personas. It can communicate and engage existing customers; or on the flip side, attract new customers.

It is a way to break the pattern of creating articles, web pages, and other content that attempts (and fails) to be relevant to everyone.

The concept of custom content is simple – it’s impossible to please everyone with one piece of content, so why not create two or three pieces of content?

This way, we can please everyone without alienating anyone.

Examples

So, let’s go ahead and explore a few formats for custom content. For static web pages, a good delivery method is tabbed content, like this:

Business ownersEnd usersExisting customers
This is where you’d put your custom content written specially for business owners.
This is where you’d put your custom content written specially for end users.
This is where you’d put your custom content written specially for existing customers.

Or, we could do the same thing with an accordion, like this:

Business owners
This is where you’d put your custom content written specially for business owners.
End users
This is where you’d put your custom content written specially for end users.
Existing customers
This is where you’d put your custom content written specially for existing customers.
Content tip: We inserted the tabs and accordion above (as well as this note) using a WordPress plugin called Shortcodes Ultimate. It’s free and easy to use.
Other delivery methods for web pages include content toggles (like the one on our homepage under the heading ‘Which best describes you?’) and hover over flip boxes.

Elsewhere, you can email out custom content (so long as you have a defined mailing list), publish your custom content as articles (so long as you ensure the headlines target a specific audience), and use paid advertising to deliver your custom content – in any format – to a targeted demographic. 

Other benefits of custom content

Custom content

Content marketing is all about results. And to get results, you need to be relevant. Custom content achieves this in a measurable and consistent way. 

Not only that, it helps you position your business as an authority in your industry and helps you keep at the top of your audience’s mind (and therefore, makes them more likely to remember you and recommend you to others).

So now you know what custom content is, and the benefits of it, how can you make it work for you?

Surprise surprise! It’s all about understanding your customer

When creating custom content you need to understand your audience. After all, each piece of custom content is for a specific type of customer.
The best way to get to know your customer is to create personas. These little files of goodness can be quite enlightening.

Creating customer personas will help you map out and plan your custom content. When creating your personas, consider your customer’s:

  • Background
  • Demographics
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • Fears

Here’s a useful exercise for creating personas:

Start by writing down everything you know about your customer’s background. Are they marketers? University graduates? Bakers? Teachers?

Now combine what you know with discovered demographics, such as age, marital status, location, gender and income.

The next step is to define your customer’s goals. Do they want to save money? Increase their profit margin? Improve training? Cut carbon emissions?

Next, consider the challenges your customers face and how you can solve those challenges – both as a brand and by way of your product and service.

Lastly, consider your customer’s fears. What keeps them awake at 2am in the morning? What makes them anxious? Understanding these fears will allow you to address and appease their nerves in the custom content you create.

Custom content format and delivery

Now you have a few clearly defined customer personas, it’s time to think about the best way to deliver your custom content.

Should it be delivered when your customers land on your website, for example, with a content toggle or tabbed content?

Should it be emailed out to your mailing list, with that mailing list split into categories matching your customer personas?

Should you publish your custom content as a series of blog posts, with clearly defined headlines to attract specific audiences?

The only way you can be sure you are delivering content to your audience in the way they prefer is by testing and analysing the results. This will help you determine the best way to communicate with your audience now and in the future.

Ultimately, the delivery method you choose for your custom content is essential to its success. It has to be seen to be used in the cases of tabs, accordions and content toggles. For custom content that loads as an article, or opens as an email, relevancy is all about language.

Any questions? Be sure to leave a comment below.

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