Is your B2B content working hard enough?
Use these 3 questions to diagnose your content’s effectiveness:
- Can you attribute closed sales to specific content?
- Do you regularly reference content when meeting with new prospects?
- Does your content generate a growing number of qualified leads?
Top performing content teams can assign a value to each piece of content they publish. Their content is used throughout the organization from the customer help desk, to sales, to the C-Suite. What’s their secret?
First, these teams understand how to map their content to their sales process. We discussed this briefly in our last article – How to Create Better B2B Content; we’ll dig into more detail here.
The Content Creation Trap
Our team has reviewed hundreds of content calendars and editorial schedules.
We’ve discovered that low-performing content strategies share a trait: one size fits all content. Each article, infographic, podcast, or video is designed for top of the funnel or awareness building scenarios. For example, a sales and marketing consultancy publishing articles on the advantages of “Big Data.” While the content quality is good, it misses the mark for 80% of their audience.
In most B2B situations, prospect’s are unaware of a problem. Even if they are aware of the problem, they still underestimate its cost or urgency. General, thought leadership content will not force a prospect to take action. This is why many B2B subscriber lists are stocked with low value contacts that don’t have any intention of taking action.
Thought Leadership content is necessary but not particularly valuable for generating leadflow.
If your answers to the questions we discussed earlier were “I don’t know” or “No” then you likely have a thought leadership heavy editorial schedule. Its time for you to adjust your content mix.
Four B2B Content Types Used By Savvy Content Mavens
The typical prospect’s buying journey has four milestones:
Milestone #1: General awareness of industry trends and best practices
Milestone #2: A trigger event that forces them to deal with an immediate and important problem
Milestone #3: A fact-finding and research process to identify and select a solution
Milestone #4: A post-purchase honeymoon phase where they seek validation for their choice
This process can be accelerated with content customized for each milestone. We’ll use an executive recruitment firm as an example.
Leadership Content positions your product as a player in the industry. Leadership content defines the key issues, perspectives and solutions. The more crowded the industry the sharper leadership content needs to be.
This content isn’t “Thought Leadership.” Most B2B content is focused on tangible strategic and tactical objectives. Simply sketching out a position doesn’t provide enough substance to carry the conversation in many businesses (large and small).
Leadership Content Example:
These are the familiar thought leadership articles that fill most content calendars. They are relatively easy to write and necessary to maintain visiblity in your industry.
- What 2016 Holds For C-Suite Recruitment
- Why Executive Salary Benchmarking Remains a Recruiters Biggest Challenge
Trigger content is designed to force the reader to answer two questions — “Should I be concerned about this problem?” and “What should I do next?” Trigger Content moves people from the “reader” to the “prospect” column.
Trigger Content Example:
Trigger content is provocative. These posts shock the reader and forces them to consider their situation and a looming problem.
- 3 Reasons Why Your CMO Candidates May Hurt Rather Than Help Your Company
- Here’s Why Your CEO May Be Looking for Another Recruiter
We would love for prospects to quickly compile a short list of products to consider and choose a solution. Unfortunately, prospects will take time to carefully consider their options. Nurture content keeps the problem and your solution in front of them during their due diligence.
Nurture Content Example:
These are case studies in disguise. These articles help the prospect imagine how they could be using the product to solve their problems.
- How Top HR Teams Use Our Product to Fill Their Talent Needs
- Seven Clever Ways Top Talent Recruiters Use Our Product To Identify A-Players
Closing the deal doesn’t end the content campaign. New buyers shift into a hyper-aware state wanting as much information as possible to confirm their decision and avoid buyer’s remorse. Validation positions your business for the next sale, the subscription renewal, and the profitable referral.
Validation Content Example:
These articles reminds the new customer why they selected this product and how they can solve their problem.
- Your First 90 Days – How to Use Our Product to Wow and Inspire
- Crisis Control – How to Quickly Solve Your C-Suite Talent Problem
Check Your Content Mix
Review your editorial calendar and identify which content addresses each phase of the prospect’s purchasing journey. Move quickly to fill the gaps. Most likely, you have a wealth of Leadership content but have relatively few trigger and nurture pieces, and no validation. Don’t be discouraged, this is common.
Now is a good time to create an action plan to create and deploy the right mix. We can help here if you need to move quickly.