In recent weeks I’ve had several conversations around content and its impact on building preference and, ultimately, driving Sales. Beneath all the BS, we really shouldn’t be creating content if its not going to assist a sale or move an opportunity forward. This is true whether you’re talking to a B2B or B2C audience, a banker or IT director, a hotel developer or an architect; content really is king.
So, assuming you’re nodding your head enthusiastically thus far, here are a few reminders on content creation and using content to drive a conversation forward;
Content should benefit the consumer, not be a shill for you: Yes, read that sentence again. Content should benefit the consumer. You’ll be more successful if you highlight how your product tangibly helps address a real need of theirs, simplifies their life, accelerates a time-consuming process, removes an obstacle. It shouldn’t just be a pontification of your product features. Content should always answer a simple consumer question “Why should I care about product XYZ?”
Content should be digestible: ADD affects all audiences so expecting them to stick with 5mins of film on YouTube or 20 pages of a whitepaper (especially if you’ve forgotten rule 1 above) is never gonna happen. Chunk it down into bite-size pieces, serialize it. Ideally create opportunity where they want the next chapter so badly they actively go out and look for it. So point 3
Content must be findable: We’re awash in content. UGC and corporate content is overflowing from data centers around the world. So unless you’re Victorias Secret, chances are people aren’t seeking you out as vigorously as you’d hope. So consider how are you tagging content? How are you writing content so it is key-word rich? Do you allow social bookmarking and the ability to pass content along? Simply put do spiders have a field-day when they uncover your content or are you praying that your viral gets enough pass-along it ranks well?
Content should address one, not multiple, audiences: A classic B2B stumble is expecting that a single piece of content can, or will, address the needs of a broader buying group. Do you honestly expect the CFO and the head of operations have the same questions, concerns, business objectives or, more importantly, the same benchmarks for their annual bonus? Does it stand to reason that one white paper will miraculously address all those requirements…in a digestible way? In this day and age, one-size-fits-all content is going to fail to motivate any audience. Make sure you’re creating content that addresses the specific needs of each key audience and their influencers. Talk to their needs, address their hurdles in their language. Its obvious but it seldom happens.
Content should empower the consumer: To the point above, you may have a prospect in mind, let’s call call them the actual “purchaser” or “user” of your product. Chances are he/she has other people within his organization (or family) that he/she needs to convince. Well constructed content should educate that prospect to become an advocate for your service with their key influencers. So, what might you do to deliver content that empowers an 18 year to discuss bank loans for college with their parents? What content does a business unit manager need to have for a ROI discussion with his CFO? Content can turn prospects into an extended salesforce for you – if created with some forethought.
That’s it kittens. The points above maybe blindingly obvious. You may already be doing all of these things. If so, fantastic. If not, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Content has become the defacto means to accelerate your sales opportunities, doing it right has never been more critical.
As always, your feedback is most welcome.