Did you know that 60 to 70 percent of B2B content goes unused?
That’s a huge waste of time, money, and resources. Many marketers mistakenly believe you can never have enough content. But it’s not about quantity as much as it’s about creating the right content for the buyer’s journey.
Let’s look at how you can do this and minimize squandering your marketing budget on idle content.
Start with a Buyer Persona
Before you develop content, judge how well it relates with your buyer persona. You have one, right? If not, I recommend this resource for defining your typical customer.
Once you complete a buyer persona, you should have a good sense of the challenges your customer faces in his or her business.
In the B2B world, this discovery process is generally easier than B2C because business people tend to have similar problems, such as the need to increase sales, boost productivity, and reduce costs.
Still, every sector can have its own set of unique challenges, and that’s why a buyer persona is so important. By outlining the specific problems of your customer, you can then assemble the right content he requires while traveling the path to your product.
The Three Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
You want to consider where your content should appear on the buyer’s journey.
This journey has three stages:
At the starting line, your customer says, “I have a problem.” He investigates the issue and conducts research to discover all he can about it. During this early part of the journey, he may read content like white papers, research reports, and eBooks.
Now your customer has reached the stage where he’s looking for solutions to his problem. At this point, he may attend webinars and view videos to educate himself on the solutions. But he’s still not searching for specific product info.
Progressing from the consideration stage, your customer looks for the products that meet his solution criteria. He is now focused on more product-specific content, such as brochures, data sheets, case studies, and demo videos.
Since your customer will compare your product to competitors, emphasize in decision stage content why your product is the best solution.
Don’t get hung up on content formats. They’re less important than the content itself, so it’s okay to have format overlaps in the different stages.
Content Audit – Why You Need to Know What You Have
Before you launch any new content initiatives, audit all your current assets. This takes some effort, but it’s a better use of your energy than creating content that’s never consumed by potential customers.
Create a list of your available content with a brief description of each.
To save time, you can download my content audit template. It has fields for the title, description, buyer’s journey stages, and comments.
What content do you have available that’s appropriate for each of the journey’s three stages? You’ll probably find imbalances. That’s okay, at least now you know.
When you have reviewed your current content, you may see opportunities to repurpose or combine pieces for various parts of each phase.
For example, you find several blog posts marked on your content audit template as appropriate for the Consideration stage. For your customer’s convenience, you might unite the posts in a single document as a special report pdf.
Again, quality is more important than quantity, but you want to ensure you thoroughly answer via your content the customer’s questions and concerns. Compare your audit to your buyer persona. How well does your content fulfill a customer’s needs as he makes the trip?
The buyer’s journey looks daunting for B2B marketers. But you don’t have to look at it that way. It’s just about delivering more focused content –valuable, actionable, and consumed. You’ll make mistakes, but at least, get the process started. Track response. Get feedback. And you’ll develop relevant content marketing that generates satisfaction for customers today and tomorrow.
HubSpot Inbound Marketing Program – http://www.hubspot.com/
Inciting a B-to-B Content Revolution – https://www.siriusdecisions.com/Blog/2013/May/Summit-2013-Highlights-Inciting-a-BtoB-Content-Revolution.aspx
The Definition of a Buyer Persona [in Under 100 Words] http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/buyer-persona-definition-under-100-sr
Businessman on Staircase graphic by Sira Anamwong, courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.