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Take Your Content Strategy up Stream

A Couple of Things You Should Realize About a Content Strategy

During the Q&A of the Content is Marketing Currency Webinar, sponsored by GoToWebinar today (#CntCrncy), a question arose that I don't think I did justice. Someone asked what they could do to attract even more leads and improve their response if they already had a content strategy in place.

This is a great question!

First - a couple of things you should realize about a content strategy:

  • It must continuously evolve - perfection is not ever a done deal. This is because your buyers and influencers are moving targets. Change is swift and priorities shift at a rapid pace. Employees relocate and shift positions. Technology innovations are making the way we do things more complex on the back end, even if they appear to be simplified on the front end.

  • The need for education has never been greater.

  • Differentiating your company requires constant evolution with the entry of new player and product that closes the gap on your market advantage.

  • The buying process continues to change. What you needed to learn to qualify a lead yesterday may mean you miss opportunities today. An example is buyers who go find a budget once they prove the business value of making an unplanned change.

  • Personalization is more important to your buyers than it's been before. And now they can demand it because their choices for who to do business with and options for how to do it are expanding quickly. (e.g., in-house, outsourced, on demand, etc.)

There are more, but you get the gist.

With those in mind, here are 5 factors to evaluate in order to take your content strategy up stream:

  • Formats. If you realize most of the content you're using is longer form - like white papers and Webinars - try breaking it down into bite-sized pieces. A white paper can likely source several articles and blog posts. Maybe your prospects prefer to learn via a 3 minute video. Try to mix up your formats and monitor content use. You may discover a prospect preference you were unaware of.

  • Simplicity. Evaluate the writing style and depth of your content. Simplicity is the key to attracting prospects. Are your ideas presented in a way that makes it simple for time-starved, busy prospects to ingest them easily and see how they'd apply to a specific situation?

    Or are they convoluted, requiring more effort than your prospects want to expend to figure them out? If you've got content that tries to present everything at once, it's likely overwhelming. Even if the information is valuable, taking it in all at once is often a challenge for those of us who like to snack on ideas while we race off to complete yet another task on our to-do lists.

  • Consistency. Is your content building a story across the buying process or are your prospects getting mixed messages depending on where or how they engage with your company? Check your content strategy for flow and connectedness. Have you built paths from resource to resource that make sense? Not to you, to them.

  • Specificity. Is your content designed to try and appeal to all buyers, or a specific target audience? If the answer is all buyers, your content is likely too general to be really useful to any of them. Can you re-purpose it into several pieces that address the specific needs of one audience at a time?

  • Actionable. Evaluate your takeaways and calls to action. If you were a prospect and read the content asset, would you be motivated to go talk to someone about the ideas it contains or to take the action requested as a next step? Does it make logical sense to take that action? (be careful to stay in your prospect's perspective when answering)

Hopefully that does more justice to the question than I remember doing during the Webinar. What other factors would you add?

I've received other questions from the Webinar that I'll be blogging about in the next day or two...stay tuned. There are some good ones.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

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