Top selling and start helping. According to Rachel Foster (@copywriterTO) these are the words content marketers need to live by. In her session at Content Marketing World 2012 on demand generation, Rachel offered a simple content framework designed to create content that captures customers – and converts.
- Create content for multiple audiences. In addition to your decision makers, think about all the other people who have a stake in the decision (e.g. IT, finance, and people who will use what you’re selling.) TechTarget – number of people in the IT buying process – 7-10. You have to answer all their questions.
- Create content for different stages of the sales cycle. (e.g. Suspects/prospects/leads/customers.) The most effective marketers speak to each stage.
- Early stage leads: May not even be looking or realize they have a problem. They need educational information – education them about their challenges. Blogs, white papers, webinars, videos.
- Mid-stage leads – they’ve opted in, they know they have a problem. They may have opted into your list or seen your web site. They need to make a business case for the purchase. They need to prove the ROI. Case studies, testimonials.
- Late stage. They are making the decisions. This is where all the other stakeholders will come in. You need to address their questions. They will also compare you to your competitors. Data sheets, comparisons work for them.
Rachel also advocated storytelling, and challenged the audience to discover our brand stories — and our customers’ stories. Why? People are looking for community. They want to interact with like-minded people. Customers want to engage with like-minded companies that understand their needs and quirks. Storytelling makes your content and your brand more relatable.
How to discover your customers’ stories: Subscribe to what they read. Subscribe to Google alerts to get their news. Go to the same events, or at least see what the hot topics at those events are. Study how competitors interact with them. Join groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and interact with them. Pay attention to your blog comments. Analytics.
How to discover your story: Find your story gaps. Make your wish list. A product with no case study? No blog posts? No testimonials? Ask others for help in filling these gaps. Mine social media for happy customers.
- How to get testimonials? Come up with a process and make it REALLY EASY for the customer so they don’t have to do work. Phone call, go through questions, type up, send for approval, et voila. Put questions in order so it writes itself.
- Don’t play it safe. Many B2Bs play it safe. “That’s not the way things are done” is pervasive thinking.
Author Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik) is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.
At PR Newswire, content marketing is powered by an agile communications approach – built on effectively listening to online conversations, targeting of active influencers, creating content based on the insights gleaned and syndicating content that is relevant, compelling and trustworthy on an ongoing basis to drive visibility and deliver results.