The Hybrid Content Strategy That Will Increase your Traffic and Leads
If you’re like most content marketers, you publish a piece of content before moving onto the next piece a week after.
You promote the link everywhere you can think of in the hopes that it will bring you results, but what you’re left with is nothing but hope.
Are you tired of hoping without seeing results?
The Hybrid Content Strategy (HCS) is a method I use for all my clients to ensure that we create content that generates traffic and qualified leads.
What does it entail?
HCS is a combination, or hybrid, of the most frequent pain points of your ideal audience persona and the top performing content on your competitors or industry leading blogs.
By addressing the frequent pain points, you’re ensuring that your providing real value to your audience. When you combine this with top performing content, you’re ensuring that the content will generate traffic as there’s clear demand for similar content.
In other words, the idea is already validated. All you need to do is create a version that is fitting for your audience.
Here’s how you can implement the HCS to increase your traffic and leads.
Find the top content of your competitors blogs on social
In order to do this, I use a tool called Buzzsumo. It’s a great tool for discovering which related content is driving the most engagement online. And it’s free, although you won’t have access to some features.
Just drop in the name of your company or a leading company in your industry and you’ll see all the top performing content in the past year. I would suggest looking at historical data spanning the past 2 years, although you can only see 1 year of data with the free version.
You can see in the screenshot below I did a quick Buzzsumo search for Unbounce.
Why Unbounce and not an industry leading blog?
One of my clients is a small-medium sized SaaS business that offers a lead generation product. Unbounce is a direct competitor and although they don’t have a huge audience for their blog, they have a rich blog centered on conversions, webinars, content guides and other free content.
What do we see here?
Searching for “Unbounce” generates external content that mentions them. If you want to see actual content from their blog, simply drop in their domain or your target company’s domain name. We’ll get into this in the next example
The top performing piece of content that mentions Unbounce is on a German visual based inspiration site, which is why the Pinterest shares and engagement are highest. It received a total of 210 Pinterest shares.
We’ve also got two articles which explore Unbounce’s innovative features that received more engagement on Twitter and Facebook.
Here are the results for the company’s domain name www.unbounce.com.
What we instantly see is that the content on their blog is significantly more popular than external content on Unbounce. Their top performing piece of content has 2.1K total engagements, which is not too shabby.
As you analyse your target company’s content on Buzzsumo, ask yourself these questions:
- What type/format of content is performing best? Is it Articles (How-to-, listicles, long-form), videos, interviews?
- On what platform does it perform best? If you see that your target company’s content is performing best on Facebook, then you should be thinking about creating content for Facebook, because that’s where your audience lives.
- Is external content out performing internal content? Is there more engagement on external publications than the company’s own blog? If so, these could be perfect targets for your content.
Now that you know what type of content, platform and social channels work best, you need to combine this information with search traffic before combining this with your audience’s pain points to birth content topic ideas for a hybrid piece of content.
Find top performing content/pages of your competitor by search traffic
Unfortunately, you don’t have access to your competitors Google Analytics. Fortunately, nowadays there are plenty of tools you can use to spy on your competitors.
You can use Moz or SEMrush, but you’re very limited with the free versions and I’ve found that the fastest free tool to do this with is Serpstat.
What do we see in the screenshot?
All of Unbounce’s top 10 performing pages (apart from the homepage) are blog posts.
The common thread in the topics is that they provide value up-front. The articles are rich and educational articles and focus on what Unbounce does: conversions.
The content they put out on their blog covers topics for marketers at all levels. From the most basic piece of content like “what is a landing page,” to more advanced content like “lead generation tactics,” Unbounce covers it all.
It’s important that your blog content has topics that address the pain points of all your audience segments.
Creating your customer personas
Now, it’s likely that you already have your ideal customer personas and anti-customer personas mapped out.
But if you don’t, I’ll briefly explain how I create customer personas for my clients.
Let’s say my client is Unbounce and I’m creating customer personas to generate content topic ideas.
The first thing I’d do is identify a top enterprise client in 1 industry vertical. Uberflip is one of Unbounce’s most prominent clients in the SaaS industry.
Now that we’ve identified the client, we need to identify a key decision maker within the company. We do this with a simple LinkedIN search for Unbounce, which will reveal all the company’s employees.
The reason we target an enterprise client as opposed to a SMB is that the content we put out to target enterprise clients is likely to be consumed by people who work at SMB’s as well, although the reverse is less likely.
That being said, it’s important to have audience personas mapped out for for clients of all sizes in each industry vertical.
For each of your audience personas you want to include demographics and psychographics that will be important for targeting paid advertisements and distribution of your content.
You also want to list the pain points or core problems of your customer persona in order to help birth content ideas. If you’re not sure what a pain point is, it’s simply a specific problem that prospective customers of your business are experiencing in their daily tasks or “Jobs-to-be-Done.”
If you know someone’s role a position within a company, you can decipher their core problems through thinking about their responsibilities and specific tasks they need to carry out on a daily basis to meet the companies objectives.
Obviously, your prospective customers will have varied demographics, psychographics & core problems, so you need to have multiple audience personas that reflect your audience segments. Equally important is your anti-customer persona. Who you don’t want to attract.
In the next section, I’ve created a customer persona for Unbounce.
Marketing/Demand Generation Manager at Uberflip.
Meet Hana Abaza, she’s a Canadian female in her 30’s. She’s the Marketing/Demand Generation Manager for Uberflip which generates $5M in revenue annually.
|Country: Canada||Software: Hubspot, Unbounce, Piqora,||· Lead generation (building email list)
· Customer acquisition (new digital campaigns that will create ideal clients)
|Gender: Female||Influencers: Gary V, Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss, Dharmesh Shah, Ann Handley||· Business analytics (measuring digital marketing goals)
· KPI reporting (reporting to execs on marketing KPIs
|Age: 30’s||Blogs: Hubspot, Kapost, Inbound Marketers, Content Marketing Institute||· Growth (strategies for growth)|
Creating a market map allows you to have an overview of your competitor’s blogs top content by traffic and performance on social.
I’ve created a market map below so you can see how I structure it. Doing this for 3 competitors yields better results, so don’t limit yourself to 1.
|Monthly Web Traffic||Top Content||Total Shares||Facebook Shares||Pinterest Shares||
Content topic ideas
Now that you know what content performs best and your audience’s problems, you need to offer solutions in a fresh, new, well-researched and written piece.
When brainstorming ideas, don’t try to force all your prospective customers pain points into one piece. You might be able to address multiple pain points in a long-form piece, but keeping them targeted ensures enough focus to create real value.
Most Shared Content
|· Lead generation
· Customer acquisition
· Business analytics
· KPI reporting
|· Generating traffic/leads with a specific marketing tactic (Interactive tool, Lead gen forms in videos, Online communities, Social media)
· How top brands/marketing experts generate leads/sales
· Examples of high converting landing pages & emails
|Topic Ideas·||50 Lead Generation Tactics from 50 Most Influential Marketers
Core Problem: Lead Generation
Most Shared Content: Generating traffic/leads
Peek Inside Nike’s $30 B Marketing Strategy
Core problem: Growth
Most Shared Content: How top brands/marketing experts generate leads/sales
25 Emails that Convert from Top 25 SaaS Businesses
Core Problem: Customer Acquisition
Most Shared Content: Examples of high converting landing pages & emails
In the content marketing world, it’s often stated that content marketing is 80% distribution & promotion and 20% writing. I like to think of it as 100/100. Thorough, well-researched content by industry domain experts and aggressive, creative promotion.
In order to produce high quality content, you need great writers and industry experts. If you don’t have these in-house, source experienced industry practitioners or an agency to write the article.
Content distribution requires an article on it’s own. But I’ll briefly mention how you can promote your content via organic and paid means.
For organic content distribution use:
- Owned distribution lists (email)
- Social networks (Facebook groups, LinkedIN, Medium, Reddit, Quora, Twitter)
- Online communities (Growth Hackers, Slack List, Stack Exchange, Forums)
For paid means:
- Google Ads
- Fb Ads
- Twitter Ads
- LinkedIN Ads
Note: Before putting money behind your content, make sure it already has some traction and social proof.