Do’s and Dont’s of Content Marketing in the Outdoor Industry

Much of our approach to content involves building a story for your outdoor brand. There are a few key foundational ideas in building this story which led us to produce a list of do’s and dont’s of content marketing in the outdoor industry.

Have a Content Marketing Strategy

A content strategy unifies your content marketing efforts across many avenues. While developing this strategy is definitely important, sticking to it is even more so. A well-built strategy will have exact deadlines and be closely monitored to quickly determine when things have moved out of the timeline. Often, communication can break down across team lines. But having a comprehensive content strategy ensures everyone is writing for the same goal. No matter the topic or client.

Make Your Customer The Hero Of Your Content Marketing

Painting your user as the hero places them as a protagonist. Maybe your customer sees you as Yoda, but more importantly, they see themselves as Luke Skywalker. Understanding the desires of your potential consumers, and positioning yourself as a guide with solutions is key to content creation that converts.

Have a Content Marketing Checklist

Creating and sticking to a content marketing checklist ensures your valuable content is being spread across vital channels quickly and efficiently. For example, as you post your blog to your website, you can have it auto-upload to your facebook wall or story. Confirm it was posted properly, and check it off the list.

Track All the Data

The amount of data we are able to collect using Google is staggering, so customizing it and honing it down to 2-3 key performance indicators can keep you out of the tall grass when looking at the data itself. Determining the metrics you want your users to hit helps you to understand what it is you want your customers to do when they interact with your website or product.

Don’t Get Tunnel Vision

We get so consumed in our own brands and own identity that we forget to see what others are doing. This may be in the form of competition research or simply browsing the web. Analyzing specific assets you like on other websites and finding ways to incorporate them into your strategy (the right way) can set up your business for success. A tool like evernote can easily snap, store, and organize all of your findings into something manageable and shareable. Paying attention to outdoor industry trends leads to more creativity and fresh ideas.

Don’t Talk About Yourself

Explaining your offering and gloating are two different things. You should stay far away from gloating about your brand. One, it doesn’t paint the user as the hero (as mentioned above). And two, it really doesn’t do much for the user if you aren’t engaging and offering a solution. Stay away from words like “we” or “our company” and try to limit the “since 19xx” quotes.

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

Content strategy is complex and always changing. You should not get down if your blogs are not converting like you originally thought. Look at all of this as a work in progress to educate yourself and your potential customers. Authority is built over time. Taking the step to simply DO it is just half the battle. Keep it up!


5 Reasons to Increase Your Content Marketing Efforts

We all build content intended to convert traffic into leads and then into customers. Each company with a desire to be successful wants to establish itself as a knowledge source in the space. We write blogs such as this one to try to establish some of that trust and authoritativeness, as well as expertise.

Most companies know they need to increase their content marketing efforts, but many don’t know where to start. Here are a few reasons to start today.

Brand Reputation

As you produce more and more content, you become a one-stop resource for your users. The typical user wants to learn about your company and investigate your service or product. Building content intended to inform, engage, convert and create trust with your users is how a successful company gains a supportive following. An excellent experience centered around your content will keep them coming back for more.

As your brand reputation and awareness increases, so does a return on the investment. Content is becoming the way you establish and nurture the relationships with your customers.

Conversions

Conversions are the lifeblood of your business and the overall reason to engage in paid media advertisements, content marketing, and SEO. However not all conversions are created equal. There may be leads that need to be nurtured over time to produce the kind of traction you are looking for. 

Purpose-driven content builds a user flow you want your users to follow when they engage with your product. Giving direct calls to action and trying to inform the periphery about your product while not having to be as hands-on can help you produce better results more quickly. A good content marketing plan puts the tools in the hands of your users to spend money with you in some way. Whether this is through donations, product purchases, or newsletter sign-ups, we know how to convert your readers into paying customers with outdoor content marketing.

SEO

SEO is an attempt to build out web pages with the intention of ranking higher on Google. The first step to a comprehensive SEO campaign is research. Identify what people are searching for to find your product or service. If you build your brand according to the building a story brand guide, and include specific keywords you think will convert users, you will start to see more organic traffic rolling in. 

Organic traffic should be easier to convert since these potential customers are actively seeking a solution. We all go straight to Google to find the services and products we need. The user interface and user experience on your website will eventually become your success or downfall.

Cost Effectiveness

An engaging content marketing plan for the outdoor industry is extremely cost-effective. Many companies build their services or products on paid advertisements. But this route can just lead to frustrations down the road if you don’t keep it up. If 70% of your traffic comes from paid ads, you are heavily relying on those paid ads to perform.

We understand you are an expert in your field. And every piece of content you produce is going to develop the trust with your users to understand your business. Content is a much more natural way for you to engage with your users.

Many times paid ads are built to convert quickly. You have an ad running, and a landing page used to collect information. But giving them the option to deep dive into your content will leave them feeling knowledgeable. And if they would like to reach out, making it an easy and positive experience is imperative to converting that traffic.

Traffic

Using content marketing to generate trust with your users leads to higher traffic and more eyes on your product or service. Therefore, creating unique, insightful and engaging content will improve the “first impression” your new users receive. And then greatly contributes to nurturing your returning visitors as they progress through your website. 

Google understands how users interact with your website. Establishing your brand as an educational resource in your space keeps them coming back for more. If you pair this with a monthly newsletter for people to sign up and receive updates, you will have an easier time offering valuable resources to your website traffic over time.


Mapping Content to the Buyer’s Journey

As potential customers consider a purchase or service, they likely research the various market options. They’ll make an informed decision based on quality, price and other factors. In most circumstances, they don’t make a spur-of-the-moment decision without evaluation. Instead, a potential buyer – regardless of product – goes through something called the buyer’s journey.

This consists of different steps prior to making a purchase. These steps could include visiting your website, reading your blog, subscribing to your email list and speaking to a salesperson.

Using content marketing to deliver specific content to potential buyers based their inbound marketing journey can be a valuable tool for businesses. But not understanding your potential customers and delivering content that doesn’t relate to them could result in losing a sale.

Whether you do the writing yourself or outsource the job, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Think about their potential pain points and deliver some potential solutions.

Avoid complex or sales language and try to connect with the audience. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, inbound marketing is largely about P2P: person-to-person.

Before you start writing, let’s break down the buyer’s journey and how to approach the content development process.

Stages of the Buyer’s Journey

The Buyer’s Journey can be broken down into three stages: Awareness, Evaluation and Intent. Each stage requires a specific type of content to help move the customer to the next stage.

During the awareness stage, potential customers are seeking answers to a problem. They’re looking for resources, education and data to help with the solution. Next, in the evaluation stage, potential customers examine whether or not a particular product or service is right for them. And finally, during the Purchase stage, they take steps toward becoming a customer.

The Buyer's Journey Inbound Stages
Stages of a Buyer’s Journey

Based on your particular business or industry, your targets may require more engagement. This is particularly true for companies whose products require significant investment and tend to have a longer sales cycles.

But what content should you produce for each stage and what should it look like? Let’s take a closer look.

Mapping Content for the Awareness Stage

Developing content for potential customers in the awareness stage should focus on education. This content could include blog posts, social media posts and ebooks. The content you develop shouldn’t necessarily speak to brand-specific benefits, but instead introduce why a product or service like yours could offer a solution. The payoff is readers who find your content useful could move down the buyer’s journey to the next stage.

As a writer, strive to ensure the awareness stage content is accessible. In fact, the blog posts you write for in the awareness stage could introduce buyer’s to a problem they don’t even know they have. It’s easy to get caught up in technical language, especially in the outdoor space, but try as much as you can to generate content that connects with readers on a personal level. Once you convert the user, using a form, they can now move into the next stage of their journey. 

Mapping Content for the Evaluation Stage

If you’ve successfully moved a potential customer to the evaluation stage, it means your awareness content was suitably informative and captured the reader’s attention. You’ve now begun to accomplish the steps of what we call: Building A Story for your brand.

During the evaluation stage, you can discuss what potential solutions exist for the customer’s problem, and carefully start to introduce why your particular product or service offers the right solution for a potential customer. Now is a great opportunity to emphasize your expertise in your industry with content like expert guides, webinars and whitepapers.

It can be beneficial for writers to bring in subject-matter experts at every stage of the content development process but especially during the evaluation stage. The content delivered here can gain value from direct involvement from those closest to the subject. It can make your job as a writer much easier.

Mapping Content for the Intent Stage

The purchase stage is the time to clearly outline and offer the benefits of your product or service. You’ve likely seen multiple offers online for demos and trials but without the previous two stages, these offers don’t provide much value. However, if you’ve successfully educated the potential customers in the other stages, these offers are more likely to result in a sale.

In addition to trials and demos, other potential forms of content include case studies and product descriptions. Case studies can provide particular value, proving your solution in a real-life scenario.

When writing case studies, it can be easy to get caught up in the numbers. While showing how revenue increased by X% after implementing a certain solution is important, try to tell the story of how efficiencies were created or how an organization can give more time to their customers or their employees by implementing it.

While content can offer tremendous value to your business, it needs to be delivered as part of a comprehensive inbound and content marketing strategy. If you’d like to learn more about how the right content for the right person, at the right time can help your business, we’re here to help.

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