I once asked a VP of Marketing at a top SaaS company how she thought of content programming. What is the right type of content to create? I asked her. She replied with a brilliant little insight, “I look at way the best content marketers in the world do it. The TV networks.”
News dominates the early morning. Then, daytime television takes over targeting those who stay at home. At noon, news for those who power lunch. Soap operas and game shows after midday. News in the afternoon as people come home. Game shows, sitcoms, and drama for after-dinner entertainment.
She explained that networks focus each time-segment on a particular persona. The length of the shows, their cadence, and their content all match the persona.
Today, Netflix has developed even more sophisticated means of matching content to personas. They study which shows garner populations. Statisticians analyze the core ingredients of successful shows. With this insight, producers create new series embodying the right characteristics.
The same ideas apply in SaaS. The most sophisticated content marketing teams mechanize this process with a calendar. The content marketing calendar identifies which persona receives which content each day. Also, marketers who plan content guide prospects and customers through a journey.
The three steps of the buyer journey are awareness, consideration, decision. The steps of the customer journey differ by business. But they involve product education, community building, account management. All tasks key to customer success.
Best-in-class content marketing is a discipline that requires careful planning and strategic thinking. Which personas matter? On which journey do they embark? What programming advances them? This effort does require substantial investment.
But it can engender a sustainable competitive advantage for startups that reduces cost of customer acquisition and churn.