Tips for Creating a Successful Content Strategy
According to the recent GlobalSpec Industrial Buy Cycle Survey, 83 percent of B-to-B buyers review up to three pieces of content before making a decision on purchases under $1,000. Meanwhile, 70 percent of buyers review four or more pieces of content on purchases greater than $10,000.
This content is usually educational rather than sales-oriented. It fits different prospect needs at various points in the buying cycle and can be delivered in different ways. Whatever form it takes though, the one common element you want to be sure of is that prospects are getting content from you. Being viewed as a source for high-quality, relevant content helps build your credibility and prospects’ level of comfort with your company and its products and services.
Fulfilling this need for depth and relevancy doesn’t happen by chance; it requires a targeted content strategy. Follow these steps and you’ll soon find your organization is a primary content provider for its industry:
1. Analyze your audience. You should understand who your customers are, how they make buying decisions and what type of information they need. Typically there are three different types of buyers, all of whom might be involved in the purchase decision. You should have content available for:
- analytic buyers: they're concerned about whether the product being considered can solve the problem they face;
- technical buyers: they care about how well a product works or fits within their personal or company’s technology environment; and
- economic buyers: these consumers are focused on achieving high return on investment for their purchase.
2. Determine gaps in content. Next, assess your existing content and how it matches up to your audience’s needs. Look at web pages, PDFs, whitepapers, presentations, case studies, videos, webcasts and blog entries.
Compile and organize the content, then map it to your analytic, technical and economic buyers. Determine what’s missing and what your future needs will be. This is also a good time to archive any content that's out of date or no longer relevant in terms of messaging or positioning.
3. Create new content. Your marketing team may have a long list of content that needs to be created. Prioritize the most important pieces and reuse or repurpose existing content. For example, turn a technical whitepaper into a brief on best practices. If you need additional resources, recruit team members or hire freelancers who have expertise in your subject area.
4. Deliver content to your audience. You probably already know that the vast majority of buyers go online to find content, so that’s where you should focus your publishing efforts. Do the following:
- post all content on your website;
- place articles, whitepapers and videos on third-party sites your customers frequently visit;
- promote your webinars and whitepapers to your in-house email lists and through ads in industry-focused e-newsletters; and
- give presentations at online events.
5. Manage content moving forward. One advantage of publishing content online is that you can see how popular it is with your audience by tracking page views, clickthroughs, downloads and time spent with the content. Find out what your most popular content is and create more like it; archive the duds.
You’ll also want to come up with a simple system such as a spreadsheet to track all of your content. Add fields for audience, format, publication date, metrics on popularity, etc. Archive content that's no longer relevant or current.
Knowing and following these steps once a year can ensure your marketing team is ready to develop a successful content strategy plan.