Content is the fuel that drives a B2B marketer’s lead generation engine. Without –or with inferior content– your lead gen effort is not just going nowhere, the car is stalled, pointing uphill, and starting to roll backward. Simply put, you’re in trouble.
Below we’ve compiled a list of Dos and Don’ts for Content Marketing. This list is by no means definitive. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
Do: Create Content that Matches the Needs of Your Target Audience – Your prospects have needs, challenges that they face day to day. It’s up to you to know what those needs are and respond appropriately. The biggest mistake you can make is to assume you know what your clients need. Today’s digital world provides you with a host of ways to either listen to the marketplace (SEO, Social) or listen directly to your target accounts (Intent Data/Surging Topics). I wrote about this in-depth in my previous blog post, How to Listen to Your B2B Prospects. Here’s the takeaway: the best conversationalists –and the best Content Marketers– are merely the best listeners.
Don’t: Push Your Products on Your Target Audience – We’ve all met that guy at the party who goes on and on about himself: bragging about his promotion, about his new car, about his golf game, about the time he met Bruce Springsteen and shook his hand. He’s a guy who thinks a lot of himself, but most of us find guys like him a crashing bore. It’s the same for brands. If your content is product-centered your prospects will not think of it as valuable. If they can’t trust your content, they won’t have trust in your brand.
Do: Target Content to Align With Steps of the Buyers Journey – When you’re a little kid, you like picture books. As you get older, your taste matures; you graduate to books with words and pictures and then the pictures fall way; you’re now reading intricate novels with convoluted plotlines. The same thing applies to the buyer’s journey. At the outset, the buyer is new, they’re not seeking deep information: infographics and videos work well here. Midway through the journey they may be turning to case studies, whitepapers and webinars. As they near a decision, they’re looking at product demos and client testimonials.
Don’t: Expect the Same Content to Work for Everybody – No matter how good that whitepaper is, it’s not going to work for every account. What you need is quick insight into each account to determine how your content assets are performing. Look at the screenshot from Madison Logic’s Activate ABM™ platform below. With this tool, you can determine how your assets are performing at each targeted account (in this case, I’ve replaced the company name with a “generic” example). This allows you to emphasize the content that’s working and eliminate the content that is not. The closer you observe how each account is behaving, the better you can optimize your program for success.
Don’t: Force Feed Your Brand – Your brand has products and/or services that will directly address your client’s needs, but you should avoid pounding that drum unless there’s an appropriate reason to do so. Even then it’s a careful tightrope to walk. When I included the screenshot of our Activate ABM™ platform above, it seemed to fit the topic at hand. Even when including screenshots and/or talking about their solutions, content marketers should avoid extolling the virtues of their products. You’re here to help, not to sell. Remember this maxim: B2B marketers should avoid talking about their products and instead talk about the ideas behind them.
Download our How to Capture Your ABM Audience whitepaper to understand how content marketing and account based marketing go hand in hand.