content marketing

Great Marketing Content Can’t Stand Alone

Last month we talked about ways to create great content marketing content. And while great content is a basic requirement for marketing successfully in today’s oversaturated environment, even the greatest content will struggle if you aren’t supporting it properly.

You have probably found that your website needs the help of other marketing channels to perform its best. Your content, though it doesn’t necessarily need other tools, it does need other content. Think of it as a  “strength in numbers” approach to creating content, a sort of content marketing buddy system. 

With the exception of viral content – which is vanishingly rare – it is unlikely for a piece of content to win you business all on its own. In the world of B2B marketing, where the complex sale is the rule, it generally takes multiple touchpoints and multiple pieces of content to move a prospect from the earliest stages of their buying process, through exploration and education phases, and into their final decision-making mode. 

Here are two examples of how a series of content touchpoints will work create a content marketing system that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Getting to Know You

As mentioned, it takes multiple touchpoints to establish enough familiarity to begin building a relationship. With this in mind, you might create content in the form of a series of, for example, emails that introduce you, your products, and your company to a new prospects. (All of which needs to be done with content that provides value to the prospect. Information they can use, not information about you.)

That series of emails might include 3 messages or 30, but regardless of how many there are, each email should strive to encourage engagement and interaction. In fact, for this kind of introductory series, 30 message would almost certainly NOT be effective without some kind of logic/branching built in to push appropriate topics to prospects based on their interests as illustrated by how they’ve engaged with your content.) 

Getting to Know What Your Audience Knows

Another example is a content series that grows with the prospect or lead. As you can imagine, content that is heavily technical and jargon-laden is unlikely to connect with a prospect who is just becoming aware of solutions like yours. Their eyes glaze over and they’re off to another source of information that’s more their speed. 

But as prospects grow into leads, their understanding grows and if you continue to speak in “101” level terms, you risk looking like someone who isn’t expert enough to understand their problem and provide an appropriate solution. What was once jargon is now familiar and expected, even if it’s not their native tongue. 

And, of course, there are the in-between stages where you’ll have to be careful in how you use your language in order to avoid either confusing or talking down to your audience. It’s a mistake to talk down to your prospects and perhaps a bigger error to give them the impression that they know more about possible solutions than you do. 

Getting Your Audience Segments’ Attention

Either of these examples can be applied to any of the different audience segments you want to attract. The foundational material will likely be quite similar and you’ll adapt it to create variations on a theme. You may wind up with nine video clips when you create an explainer video series, for example, if there are three videos that each assumes a different level of knowledge from the audience, and three versions of each of those for three different audience segments. 

That may sound daunting, but of course, if you’ve set your self up to listen to what your prospects are interested in, adapting the foundational content for each variation will be a pretty painless process. And tailoring your marketing to needs of the groups you want to connect with really is the only way to capture their attention, gain their trust, and win their business. 

Occasional large-scale changes can re-invigorate a marketing plan that’s beginning to falter and can provide a blast of inspiration that ripples out through the rest of your marketing. 
By the way, if you’re interested in hearing some of my podcast and radio appearances, you’ll find a few of them listed on the Andigo website.

Photo by Warren on Unsplash

Andrew Schulkind - Marketing for Small B2B Businesses
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