Producing amazing content is the difference between successful B2B marketing teams and not-so-successful teams, yet most teams are very haphazard about the individual pieces of content they create.
Your campaigns won’t achieve their best results if you’re not taking a goal-oriented approach to creating content.
So, how can you make sure you’re being intentional with your content?
In the previous two posts, How to Start Building a Continuous Content Pipeline and How to Meet Your B2B Content Needs, I explained that the first steps to producing a consistent flow of content were simply to get started writing and to do so on a regular rhythm.
The premise was that most B2B marketing teams that face content marketing challenges are trying to solve the wrong problem. Most B2B marketing teams I see face the challenge of creating enough content consistently, yet most of those same teams are trying to solve the problem by having consultants show them how to add more complexity to their content production process with buyer’s journey maps, content audits, personas and content calendars.
Buyer’s journey maps, an audit list of your content, personas, content calendars and most content marketing consultants aren’t going to jump on that keyboard and start typing for you. The first step to improving your content marketing is to set down whatever you’re doing and to start writing. Then, start writing with a regular rhythm. The third step is to be intentional with your content marketing and what you’re writing.
Warning!!! Don’t Let Anything Get in the Way!
Now, at first you shouldn’t let your effort to be intentional get in the way of producing content with a regular rhythm. The most important thing to do if you’re not producing enough content is to get on a regular rhythm. If adding a next step causes you to regress to not producing content, that step is useless. A random finished piece of content is more valuable than a complex and well planned though unfinished piece of content. At first we don’t want to let anything get in the way of conditioning ourselves to produce content on a regular rhythm.
Adding the Next Step: Goal-Oriented Writing
Once you are ready to add the next step, you want to start being intentional about the content you are producing. Being intentional means you understand the purpose and goal of the content, you know the location where it will live, you understand how it connects to your core messaging, and you know how it will be promoted:
● Core Messaging
Let’s look at an example of an SAAS startup that sells call center software and that is producing a guide.
● Purpose – to attract operations executives to the top of the funnel
● Goal – to get operations executives to download a tool
● Medium – webpage in resources
● Core Messaging – subtly connect product to workforce optimization
● Channel – email, SEO, social & paid
You are probably wondering why there are both a purpose and goal. The purpose is to ensure that you understand at the highest level why you are creating this content, whereas the goal is more specific.
In this example we are creating a guide that will be a public webpage; at the bottom of the guide will be a tool, let’s say a checklist that can be downloaded. The purpose of creating the guide is to attract our ideal prospects to the top of our funnel – maybe we started with this notion before we decided on the rest. Then we determine that our goal is to have ideal prospects download a tool. The goal could be more specific and be attached to an actual number of downloads.
Medium simply helps you to keep in mind what the tone and structure should be to best fit the location where the content will live. Core messaging doesn’t mean that we should be stuffing self promotion into every piece of content; it simply means that we should keep in mind the core benefits we provide customers and try to align our content marketing to those core benefits as much as possible, but we’ll dive deeper into that in a future post.
Channel, like location, simply is there to remind us how we will be attracting people. Take the example of the guide above. Initially we were creating the guides as a downloadable PDF. I noticed that most of our traffic came from email, so there was no point in collecting the information of 90% of the people downloading the guide. We were also not getting the number of Sales Accepted Leads we were hoping for. By designing the guide as a webpage, we could send people to read the guide and then offer a tool for people to download. People who downloaded the tool made for amazing leads, at least those who fit our ideal prospect profile. They had already read our guide and then showed that they indeed had a problem by taking the next step and downloading the tool. Since there were fewer people downloading the tool, we could have a salesperson call each one and have a conversation about the problem scenario in the guide, improving the number of Sales Accepted Leads.
This example highlights the importance of being intentional about content production. I created the content in a way that would most successfully achieve our goal. This included changing the location where the content lived and breaking it up into two pieces to optimize Sales Accepted Leads.
I hope this has inspired you to take a candid look at how your team is creating content. Is your team’s content production a bit haphazard? Could you be a little more intentional?
What are some other aspects of content production about which you see people forgetting to be intentional?