You’ve heard it a million times: content is king. That’s not going to change anytime soon. That means to remain relevant marketers are moving away from pushing products and toward illustrating solutions. Easy enough—show your product adds value—done. But there is a catch: not all types of content work well in all situations. You have to ensure your solution is presented in the right form so it generates the intended outcome.
Content is a broad term that encompasses everything from webinars to memes (not kidding); our job as marketers is to evaluate, understand and deploy the type(s) of content that will most effectively deliver results. Here’s how we do it:
1. Define Goals
You want to sell more. That’s the very bottom line of every marketing effort, and that, too, is not changing anytime soon. But what has changed, is the threshold for operators entering into and engaging in a relationship with manufacturers. Simply put, they expect more from manufacturers than ever. In order to most effectively reach your audience, you have to deliver the type of content they want when they want it. Which means your immediate goal is defined by your audience, and not the other way around.
The buyer journey is an effective tool for goal setting. Here are high-level goals that content can help you achieve, broken down by where your audience is in the journey:
Awareness: Start the relationship with thought leadership.
Consideration: Educate the audience about helpful solutions.
Decision: Close the sale.
Post-Purchase: Nurture the relationship by continuing to show value.
2. Choose Content Type
Through research and analytics, we’re able to determine the content types that fit best with each stage of the operator journey. We know which tactics are most effective from the top of the funnel down to where an operator trusts you with their business. Though content formats and their value vary by segment, we do have a general idea of what works when:
There’s a direct correlation between a buyer’s readiness and the time they’re willing to invest in content consumption. The more they know and trust you, the more time they’ll spend with your content.
For “awareness” targets, it’s best to serve short, consumable pieces of content, before asking them to opt-in. It’s also important to deliver more content to this audience—especially content that demonstrates the value you bring to them and the world beyond your product (thought leadership). Forty percent of respondents in ON24’s 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report said they consumed between 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales person.
How does this look in day-to-day strategizing? Big picture: plan for every stage at once. Maybe there’s only enough budget for one whitepaper; that’s totally fine. You can use that single resource to develop an infographic, a short-form video and a 1-minute article. Deploy those consumable tactics based on your audience’s behavior and lead them to identify their need for your product; that way your solution is readily accessible when the operator is ready to contact a sales rep.
3. Repurpose & Reuse
Once you have strong content, use it in every way you can. Remember, content isn’t a “set and forget” tactic; it can often be adapted and utilized in new ways to capture your audience’s attention. By exploring new content types and approaches, your content will stay fresh and exciting. By continually reframing and renewing your content arsenal, you’ll build credibility with your audience. That authority and familiarity with your brand is the best avenue toward a loyal relationship.
4. Tap Into Partnerships
When you’re in the thick of content generation, it can be easy to forget that others can help you build your content library. Most B2B buyers (64%) give more credence to third-party publications/analysis;1 sometimes it’s best for your brand to partner with established trade media publications. When your audience sees content in partnership with a trustworthy brand, they recognize the relationship you have and the knowledge you bring to the table.