You’ve probably read a few articles about keyword research and seen some YouTube videos (more than you needed, most likely), and now you’re all set to become a content machine. But when you start creating content, it quickly becomes overwhelming and confusing. You’re not alone. That’s why you need to understand content buckets and how to create content for each bucket.
Ever wonder how some brands always have the right content you need? These are designed intentionally to move the customer through each stage of their buyer’s journey without friction and finally facilitate a sale. We will look at the various content buckets you should have and the content you should create.
What Are Content Buckets?
Content buckets are pre-defined categories to group your marketing content. These are broad themes your content follows to achieve a particular goal or to make your customer feel a certain way. Content created in these themes can then be distributed through various channels like social media, blogs, and email.
Why do you need content buckets in your content marketing strategy in 2021?
Having content buckets ensures you strategically create information that your customer needs in every stage of their buying cycle. It gives you a roadmap that you can follow.
The below table lays out the different categories and example post ideas for each category:
Decision (product pitch)
How-to articles (using your product for the demo)
Comparison and reviews
Case studies/ Project showcase
Info content (Best product for)
Branding and values
Branding and values
List post (top, best, best x for y)
Branding and values
Corporate social responsibility
Long term value
Customer special freebies
Thought leadership (challenge, issue, industry news)
Spread the word (to promote referral)
Entertain (story post, satire, meme, cartoon)
Training and support
Product pitch (soft sell)
Behind the scene (employee spotlight)
You can read more about the different content marketing types here.
Four content categories you can use:
In this stage, your customer has a problem and a lot of questions surrounding that problem. They’re usually in research mode (or casually browsing) to find more details about their current situation. They might be able to articulate their pain in some cases, but not so much in others. For example, if you have a flat tire, then it’s evident that you have a problem — the flat tire. It might not be that simple in some other situations; for example, you are running Facebook ads, but you don’t get any sales. The problem might be with your interest targeting, or it might be your sales page. You need content to satisfy your customer needs at this stage, and you need content to show them the solutions available in the market — your product being one of them.
So you’ve provided your potential customer with information that educates them and answers their questions. Now they know they have a problem and that solutions exist in the market.
In this stage, your customer is actively weighing their options, trying to identify a solution that solves their problem. They will consider a lot of factors like price, brand value, functionalities, and so on. You need to create material to address their objections and position your product as the best solution.
Your customer is warm and almost ready to pull the trigger on their purchase decision in this stage. They will be looking for in-depth information about your product or service. Customers want in-depth information to make sure they’re making the right decision. Case studies, white paper, project showcases, and so on are perfect for this stage.
It’s easier and more cost effective to keep your existing customer than acquiring a new one. Some companies make the mistake of slowing down their marketing effort once they make a sale, which can affect your customer’s lifetime value. You need content that reassures your buyers they made the right choice and eliminates any buyer’s remorse; it also allows you to upsell/cross-sell and reduce refunds. You can also show your appreciation and reiterate your brand values to turn existing customers into super fans.
The length of the buying journey depends on your product price and the pain level of your customer’s problem. For example, someone buying a new car will not have the same urgency as a person calling the repair service when his car breaks down in the middle of a highway.
In other words, the higher the customer’s pain, the shorter the buying cycle.
For maximum efficiency you can start with long form content and then repurpose that to small pieces which can be used as your social media content. Your content buckets don’t have to be this elaborate if you’re running an affiliate site. In such cases, you can keep it simple and focus on the first two categories. You can also make use of social media content created by the affiliate company.
In his book Breakthrough Advertising, legendary copywriter Eugine Schwartz proposed different awareness levels your customer goes through. When you’re creating content, consider your customer’s awareness level. Below are the levels of awareness, according to Schwartz’s system:
These are your super fans. They know your brand and your products; they readily buy anything you put out in the market—your most valuable asset.
These prospects know your product exists, but they’re still weighing other options available in the market.
In this stage, your prospects are aware of products/services that can solve their problems, but they might not know your company. This stage is typical for smaller brands and might rare for well-known brands.
Problem aware prospects feel the pain, but they might not be able to pinpoint the issue. They need to be educated about the problem first.
These prospects don’t feel the problem. They are oblivious to the fact that there is a better way to do things. The easiest way to educate these customers is to present your product/service when answering their questions. You can compare your solution to the ones they are currently using so they can easily relate.
Your ideas can take the form of emails, blog posts, Instagram stories, or anything you can think of, but it should speak directly to your audience and move them through each stage of the customer journey.
The length of the buying cycle and topics may vary based on your business, product, followers, and clients, but as long as you have a content strategy for all these categories, you will be fine.
Now that you have your editorial plan, let’s look at some communication channels.
Channels you can use
Website content (or at least the front page) should move your prospect through the different buying stages. Above the fold content should clearly define what your business can do for your customer. The validation exercise is called the grunt test, which explains that even a cave dweller should understand what your business does within 3 seconds after landing on your website homepage.
Blogs can be extremely useful to move your audience through the buying stages because you can structure your content and layout to make it easy for people to take action.
Most businesses can take advantage of the social media channel because every kind of audience will be on at least one social media channel, whether it is LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram. Some B2B companies shy away from social media because they feel it’s too informal for their business. They forget that even if they’re selling to a business, people take decisions for those businesses. So pick a social media channel, put out amazing content, and reap the reward. You can always alter the tone of your social media posts to suit your business and the platform.
This is where you should create laser targeted content because landing pages usually get traffic from ads where you know the exact buyer persona and awareness stage of the people visiting your page. The content and copy should be carefully crafted to induce one single action from your audience.
Email is another channel where you can select your audience’s awareness given you’ve appropriately segmented your audience.