These days, we know that content is essential for building your business. But what kind of content should you create? Infographics or web-based video? Case studies or white papers? Which work best? Some 27,000 pieces of content are shared each day, according to AOL and Nielsen—an overwhelming stat. So how do you make your content stand out? Even more, how do you know which content works best for achieving your goals?
The answer to that last question isn’t so simple, however, since it’s not just an issue of “what” content but also “how” and “when.” Here are three golden rules B2B marketers should adhere to before embarking on a specific content creation strategy:
- The best kind of content aligns with the stage of the buy cycle your targets are in. For instance, if your prospects are merely in the tire-kicking phase (essentially still just leads), you want the type of content that is highly engaging. This is the place for a memorable, brand building video or game app, not a hard sell. But if they’re a bit farther along in the buy cycle—in the education stage—this is where infographics, white papers and other downloadable “value” content come in. These prospects want material that will inform them to make the right decisions. Always make sure you are offering the right content to the right prospect at the right time.
- Content should match all the ways your targets like to consume information. B2B prospects typically get their information from a range of sources—industry journals, market analyst reports, social media platforms and forums, and via search engines. Marketers need to understand their prospects and serve up content in all the ways that appeal to them. Importantly, for broadest reach, don’t put all your content eggs in one basket. Hedge your bets with a content outreach mix based on your targets’ consumption habits.
- Content must address the target’s situation, challenges and desires. The best type of content at any stage of the buy cycle must somehow “speak” to the prospect. It should tell a relatable story or share some keen insight that addresses an industry pain point or challenge. In the early stage of the buy cycle, the message can be lighter, such as “what’s up with that?” or “ever been here?,” while in the later stages the tone needs to switch to “here’s how a company just like you fixed a problem just like yours.” The sell can get incrementally harder as the prospect moves down the funnel to the point of conversion, but at any point, it should be looking to strike a relevant, compelling chord.
With these three golden rules in mind, you can then begin looking at exactly what kind of content works best for reaching and engaging your targets.
If you need help developing your buyer persona or figuring out what type of content is best for your target’s stage in the buy cycle, we can help. We also offer a diverse range of professional (and affordable) content development services.
It’s true that content is king, but there’s also a sea of it out there. Spending some time on the front end to develop a thorough content development strategy that aligns to the wants and needs of your audience—and also reaches them effectively—is paramount.
What golden rules for content development do you have?