You know that moment when you’re watching a movie, listening to a song, or reading an article, and you feel like the creator or character is talking right to you? As if they have an insight into your mind right now?
This isn’t a connection that occurs regularly. It can be pretty rare. But when it happens, it results in a truly memorable experience that will stick in your mind long into the future.
This should be one of our key aims as content creators. While we are under pressure to produce enough content to get our brand and products in front of our various target audiences, it’s also important to craft your articles, eBooks, social posts, and so forth, so they genuinely resonate with your reader.
So, how do you balance out the need to scale your content with creating a personal connection?
At Foleon, we believe that the best B2B content rests on three pillars: engaging, intelligent, and scalable. Read on to discover the difference between personal and personalized content, and get top tips on crafting the personal content that will make your brand stand out from the rest.
Personal vs. personalized content: what’s the difference?
Personalized content refers to marketing assets based on customer or leads data insights. This could be the preferences and interests they have told you about (when signing up for a service, for example). Or it might be information you have gleaned from your website analytics, social media engagement, the links people have clicked on emails, etc.
Marketers and brands then use this information to deliver targeted campaigns, relevant content, and special offers based on the user profile.
Personal content is a slightly more abstract concept. It refers to the tactics and strategies marketers use to create a meaningful connection with a customer or lead on their terms. It involves refining your messaging, so it resonates with a particular person or group, using copy and visuals that make them feel that they have been heard and understood.
The three pillars for crafting personal content
Connecting with your target audience through unique content sounds pretty good, right? Our team here gets super excited when the campaigns that we have lovingly created, with the needs of a specific customer in mind, hit just the right note.
To help us create those personal relationships, we structure our approach around the three pillars we mentioned above; content that is engaging, intelligent, and scalable.
Here are some tips for getting the personal content success your brand deserves.
How do I create engaging personal content?
Get to know your target audience
The first step is to make sure you know and understand your audience. Here are some activities to help you understand what makes your customers tick.
- Develop buyer personas. Buyer or customer personas are an excellent tool for getting under the skin of your target audience. As you create your personas, try to visualize each person carrying out everyday tasks or reacting to different situations. Think about their favorite places to have lunch, which dishes they prefer, what’s on their to-do list, or where they’re heading on their next holiday. This will help you get to know them. Our very own Sean Filidis created a guide on how to create detailed buyer personas.
- Analyze your customer data. Your CRM, website analytics, and campaign engagement can tell you a great deal about your target audience and who it isn’t. Look for patterns in demographics and behaviors.
- Conduct competitor research. Which messaging appears to resonate with customers and why? Rather than seeking to copy other brands, this exercise is a good opportunity to carve your niche in the market.
Important note: Keep in mind that people change over time. The buyer personas you developed last year could already be out of date. The market research you carried out just a few months ago might already need refreshing.
To get a new perspective, why not invite a few members of your sales or customer service team along for a workshop to update your personas or engagement strategy. They will probably have an entirely new perspective to add to the mix, and they may even volunteer to create some content themselves, enabling you to scale further. More on this later!
Tell a compelling story
Developing a compelling, authentic story is central to your content marketing success. Where appropriate, encourage your content creators to share a little of their personal experiences in their articles, including how they dealt with a particular situation or offering their take on a market trend or development.
Adhering to a brand tone of voice is important, but there’s no harm in letting your blog writers add a little of themselves into their work if it feels right. This can make them much more relatable and help to build those all-important connections.
Think about how you want your reader to feel
Whatever content format or topic you’re working with, there should always be a clear intent to your content. If you want to motivate people, include language and messaging that compels them to do something. If you’re hoping to educate them, frame the content, so they feel informed and reassured by your expertise or experience.
There are many powerful words to elicit emotional responses, but they need to be employed correctly and with care. Write from the heart, with your reader’s concerns and motivations. Imagine how they will react to every word and line and refine your content accordingly. Read it aloud and test it out on colleagues and peers to ensure you are evoking the desired responses.
How do I craft intelligent personal content?
Let’s start with what we mean by intelligent content. Intelligent content is the backbone of a successful, scalable content marketing strategy. This approach helps busy marketers to develop multi-channel content development and publishing processes based on accurate customer data insights.
It’s the ability to plan and ensure the right content is delivered to the right people at the right time, on the channel they prefer. It knows which content is ripe for repurposing for a new audience and which processes can be automated without losing the personal touch.
How can I make my content more scalable?
This is the third and final pillar in our strategy for effectively crafting personal B2B content. Scaling content means developing and executing strategies for producing more marketing collateral without sacrificing quality.
This approach should provide you with more opportunities for creating personalized content. Why? Because scaling your content encourages you to take a fresh look at your output and strategy.
This can help you refocus your mind on your ideal customers, review your position in the market, identify more relevant topics, find content that can be repurposed, recruit a wider pool of in-house content creators, and improve internal collaboration… the list goes on and on!
Here’s how to make your content more scalable.
Develop a system
We’ve all been guilty of producing and publishing content to meet demand (while letting our strategy fall to the wayside). It takes a bit of time to set up and get everyone’s buy-in, but developing an effective system for your content creation processes will give you a helpful framework for you and your team to build your strategy around and help you plan ahead.
Start by reviewing your current processes and work out where there are missing or weak links. Often we are so used to doing things a certain way we forget to question why. Perhaps there are workflows that are causing bottlenecks, or maybe your content calendar isn’t 100% aligned with your business objectives.
Using templates can help you save a great deal of time, particularly with e-newsletters and online guides. Don’t worry if you aren’t great at design or coding. With Foleon’s editor, you simply drag and drop elements on your customized templates. Plus, your content will be responsive across every device.
Once you have developed your system, share it with your team and other stakeholders and in the business. This helps improve your system and shines a light on sales and marketing activities that people might not be aware of but could positively contribute.
For example, Matt from Customer Service might have had no idea that Sarah in Inbound Marketing could really benefit from more customer testimonials. With Matt in a great position to gather these valuable quotes, they can work together to build a repository of customer stories to use as trust indicators.
Identify content that can be repurposed and reused
Repurposing or reusing content has a number of benefits for marketers.
- It helps expand your content’s reach.
- It informs and improves your buyer personas.
- It enables you to use one piece of content to fulfill multiple goals.
- It breathes new life into content that didn’t perform so well previously.
- It saves you time and money.
- It increases your presence online.
Perhaps most importantly for crafting personal content, repurposing articles, e-books, and so forth gives you more hours in the day to spend crafting personal content. Your analytics will show you how people engaged with it, which elements hit the right notes and vice versa.
You can then adapt and refresh it so it creates an even better impression the first time around. If readers were dropping off before the last few important sections then perhaps it needs trimming down. If the CTA wasn’t effective, try a different approach.
Remember, your ability to learn from these insights is only as good as the analytics you have installed and the content formats you choose. If you’re using static PDFs, for example, you are missing out on a whole lot of valuable insights into your customer behavior. With Foleon Doc you can track page-by-page content views, opens, shares, and forwards — in real-time!
Invest in the right tools and tech
This follows neatly from the previous point. Marketers have a lot of tasks to perform on a daily basis, while always looking ahead to the next opportunity. With only so many hours in the day, we need to invest in the best platforms, apps, and technology.
As you’ll doubtless be aware, there are numerous tools available. If you’re unsure about what your business and team would benefit from, take a look at our essential inbound marketing tools for 2022.
For the purposes of improving your ability to craft and distribute personal content, we would recommend implementing a reputable, high-quality CRM, a website visitor insights platform like Google Analytics, a writing tool like Grammarly (which has an excellent freemium version), a social media management and listening tool, and a content experience platform like Foleon’s content creation platform.
When you are putting together your martech stack, keep in mind that it will need to integrate well now, and into the future. Talk to your chosen providers who will be able to talk you through update processes and any other technical issues.
Time to get personal
Now’s the time to put it all into practice! Sure, there’s a lot to take on board, but the benefits are absolutely worth the initial extra efforts with planning and research.
You’ll get so much value out of auditing your content output, finding those articles that could do with a revamp, and being reunited with the infographics from a few years back that can now be given a digital makeover and transformed into an interactive feast for the eyes.
Perhaps most importantly, you’re going to enjoy the benefits of creating content that really resonates with your audience and creates long-lasting emotional connections.
Personal content is content that matters. It’s the blogs that get people talking about your brand, the e-books and guides that let your reader know that you understand their challenges, and the social posts that make people feel good. It’s time to get personal!