6 Surefire Steps to Content that Generates Demand and Drives Revenue
In the B-to-B world, when it comes to generating demand, content is king. Not brochure-ware, but content that speaks directly to your prospects, propels the conversation and advances the sales cycle. Authors Ann Handley and C.C Chapman build a compelling case for it in their new book, "Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business." This article is a crash course on creating a visual framework for planning your demand generation content in six simple steps.
Step 1: Rethink the Purpose of Content
Content created for demand generation should invite online behavior that reveals where the prospect is in the buying cycle, and then allow you to follow up with a targeted automatic or manual response.
For example, most prospects who view white papers are early in the buying process and not ready to talk to sales. In contrast, a prospect looking at your "dry as toast" data sheets is deeper into the buying cycle and may be ready to talk to sales.
Developing content for demand generation is also about offering the smallest exchange of value that sets up the next behavior. Think about "chunking" down the content and re-using as much as possible. A long white paper might be published in five parts, and a key report might be released in three parts, each allowing you another glimpse into the prospect's behavior. You can also reuse any of these pieces in a variety of campaigns.
Step 2: Map a Basic Buying Cycle
In demand generation, you should always be trying to figure out where in the buying cycle prospects are so you'll know how to interact with them. Map out a basic buying cycle. For example, the grid at right uses the stages awareness, discovery, comparison and contract.
Step 3: Map Your Key Prospect Personas
Different personas will interact differently with content and in each stage of the buying cycle. An analytical buyer will need content that provides more details, while an executive will look for content that shows what a solution can do for a business. Personas can be mapped based on role, influence, personality, or any other segments that make sense for your business. For the sake of this article, we've designated two personas: David the Decision Maker and Gail Get it Done.
Step 4: Add the Content Layer
The content layer is comprised of content types and campaign types. Think broadly on what you need and what you have, and map it out the best you can based on the stages of the buying cycle. Typical content types include white papers, data sheets, case studies, videos, blogs, calculators, reports, demos, podcasts, power points, studies, reports, etc. And, any of this can be created by you or by a third party.
Line up campaign types on the next line of the grid. Campaign types include email campaigns, broad educational events/webinars, newsletters, co-branded marketing, banner ads, trade shows, etc.
Step 5: Assess Through Color Coding
Take a look at your content plan and color code the asset types. Red means you don't have that asset but need it, yellow means you have the asset but need to rework it, and green means you have the content piece ready to use as is.
By color coding the entire grid, you will be able to quickly see content pieces you can immediately leverage in campaigns. This view also helps assess the gaps and plan your priorities for development.
Step 6: Establish Priorities
The color coded content grid will give you a clear and easy to understand picture of content priorities. It's a document that is easy to share and discuss with others and allows you to set up a development plan for your content while also beginning campaigns based on what you already have.
Following these steps, you will create a demand generation program to build brand awareness, generate sales-ready leads and drive revenue through the roof. At the same time, you will catapult your career to the next level and become a real Revenue Marketer.
Debbie Qaqish is chief revenue officer for The Pedowitz Group, a demand generation firm based in Atlanta, GA. She has her own radio program, WRMR: Revenue Marketer Radio, and was recently nominated for the 20WomentoWatch in Sales Lead Management. Contact Debbie at Debbie@pedowitzgroup.com.