Four times a year, Noisy Little Monkey hosts the Bristol HubSpot User Group (HUG); it’s a meet-up for like-minded inbound marketers in Bristol who use HubSpot. At the most recent event, attendees learned how to create a HubSpot content strategy from scratch. In case you missed out on the talk, here’s a recap of all the juicy knowledge that was shared.
What is a HubSpot content strategy?
Building a HubSpot content strategy isn't just about deciding what tweets/blogs/videos you should put out and when; it's actually a much more considered process which forms a bigger part of your inbound marketing strategy. The content you produce for your prospects and customers informs every stage of the buyer's journey.
A slide showing the inbound marketing flywheel and where your content fits in the buyer's journey
A lot of these concepts will be referred to later in the blog, so let’s start with the basics. These three P's are the framework of how you can build your HubSpot content strategy:
This comes in the form of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Your KPIs are subjective because what you define as "success" for your business is subjective, so, when brainstorming your KPIs:
- Talk to your boss (you’ll need Senior buy-in early)
- Look at the wider goals of your business as well as its commercial targets
- Factor in a potential service level agreement (SLA) between your sales and marketing teams
- Benchmark and review past performance for sense
For example, 'success' for you as a marketer will probably be defined by how many leads you have coming in through the website. However, 'success' for your boss will most likely be how much profit the business has made at the end of the month. This is why it's important to define the KPIs of your content strategy early on.
If you want a deeper dive on how to set KPIs and achievable goals for your business, you can read about how to set SMART goals in this blog here.
Before you set those goals, a top tip from the talk was this: when setting out your KPIs, consider vanity vs. value. Be realistic and have a mixture of macro and micro marketing metrics. Macro metrics include form submission and event registrations, while micro could focus on newsletter signups and time spent on page.
If you'd like an in-depth guide to deciding which measures are important to you, you'll find the Measurement Framework download below extremely useful.
Once you've set your goals, now's as good a time as any to review and analyse your existing content. You can do this with a formal content audit; it’ll help you understand the value and context of your existing content.
Value - a content audit will help you highlight and address under-performing or skyscraper content
- High traffic content + low conversion rate % = CRO priority
- Low traffic + low conversion = light touch SEO required; review your CTAs
Context - segment your content by its awareness stage, persona, subject, and conversion path. This will help you identify gaps of content types.
- You might find that you're producing lots of content for a persona that never buys from you
- You might decide to create more 'bottom of funnel' content such as case studies to convert your high value personas
You can download an example content audit worksheet here that will help you benchmark your existing content.
Finding a right fit framework
Have you started using pillar pages to group your content yet? Pillar pages help you build your content into defined 'topic clusters'. These clusters come together to form a very deliberate content architecture on your site which helps searchers find information on your website more easily.
To give you a brief overview, pillar pages:
Take the opportunity to create pillar pages and link your blog content to these core topics. HubSpot has a useful tool for helping you map out your content strategy - look for Marketing > Planning and Strategy > SEO in the navigation bar of the CMS.
If you need inspiration for the other types of content you can use to build up your pillar content, try:
- Landing pages
- They're geared towards conversions
- Don't forget to restrict navigation
- An opportunity to capture leads by Give:Get (e.g. e-books in exchange for an email address)
- Beware of friction on your forms (this can prevent users downloading content)
- A/B test everything! HubSpot has great A/B testing tools
- Contextually un-gate content when relevant
- Resource pages
- Great for increasing traffic to your site (here's the Noisy Little Monkey resources page)
- Super easy on-page navigation (anchor links help with this)
- Heavy on links to supporting articles
- Install heat maps and scroll depth to give you insights
- 10x content (read this blog for an explanation of the term)
- Will also increase traffic
- Has an aesthetically-pleasing UX
- Is shareworthy - deserves a bookmark!
- Lengthy explanations that refer to supporting content
- CTAs and conversion paths are woven into copy
Building a plan
Once you've set your KPIs, and established benchmarks, you'll want to create a plan for creating your HubSpot content strategy.
- Work out your campaign milestones (this might include: create a landing page, build a workflow, write page content etc.) and assign a deadline for when you want to get each task done
- Use a project management system like Trello or Teamwork to assign tasks, set deadlines and measure how you're getting on
- Use a RACI matrix to make sure that relevant stakeholders know what they're accountable for
Researching your audience
For any inbound marketer, buyer personas are a familiar concept, but just in case they’re not, here’s a tidy definition for you:
Buyer Personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on real data and some educated speculation about demographics, behaviours, motivations, and goals.
So, how do you go about getting that data to inform your personas?
- Hold a workshop with stakeholders like sales and customer service to gain insights
- Ask your customers themselves and re-engage with past clients
- Use data to segment contacts and customers and build reports and plot trends based on their activity
Based on what you know about your ideal customer, use keyword research to work out the questions they’re likely to ask.
Creating targeted content
You’ll need to position your shiny new content for different stages in the buyer’s journey and consider what kind of format will be most effective:
Prospect is experiencing symptoms of a problem. They’re researching to understand, frame and diagnose their issue.
Types of content you can consider publishing: eBooks, editorial, reports.
Prospect has clearly defined their problem. They’re researching approaches to fix their issue.
Types of content you can consider publishing: webinars, podcasts, videos.
Prospect has decided on their approach. They’re compiling and comparing a list of vendors to fix their problem.
Types of content you can consider publishing: comparisons, trial downloads, case studies.
Thinking about where your content sits in the buyer's journey will help you understand your prospect's conversion path.
Before you get down to business, here's some handy tools which should help you build your HubSpot content strategy:
- Google Analytics - Sset up funnels, event tracking, alerts, demographics.
- Elixir Maps - Get a geographic picture of where your HubSpot leads have come from.
- HubSpot campaign tool - Track the performance of all of your campaign collateral in one place.
- UTM tracking - If you don’t use HubSpot make sure you’re using tracked links in social posts and CTAs to measure performance of individual assets or promotions.
- Call-to-action and landing page reports - HubSpot runs these reports out of the box, review these on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Content audits - Take your original content audit, add your new content and update legacy content metrics to compare and contrast.
- UX analysis - Crazy Egg, Hot Jar and Lucky Orange will help you monitor CRO.
- Rankings - SEMrush, AWR and Search Console are great - but don’t sweat if they’re too technical.
Measuring short term success
Getting all your information in one place is hard, but monitor HubSpot, Databox and Data Studio dashboards to get a feel of where you’re at - and you’ll see your HubSpot content strategy helping your digital marketing achieve success right before your eyes.
If you need help and support with HubSpot, Noisy Little Monkey are a HubSpot Platinum Partner, get in touch to find out how we can help you today