When talking with lead nurturing and marketing automation vendors they all make it seem very easy.
You setup a campaign, define the nurturing stages, and even add some points to different interactions to score the lead and customize the nurturing experience. Then with all the triggers in place, sit back and watch the software do the job of sending the right message to the right prospect at the right time. Wow, it’s magical!
Yes, except for one little detail. Who’s going to write all that new content? Do you have the staff to do it? Will you have to outsource? Do you even know what kind of content you need for each nurturing stage? Yup, it is more complicated when you get to the implementation phase of the program, and that’s where most companies fail.
But why the focus on content? David Meerman Scott, in his book The New Rules of Marketing and PR points out that creating quality content is the new imperative:
“The tools of the marketing and PR trade have changed. The skills that worked offline to help you buy or beg or bug your way in are the skills of interruption and coercion. Online success comes from thinking like a journalist and a thought leader”.
You’d think that everyone would be doing it by now, but that’s not the case.
“The difficulty in creating content that will get a recommendation, the one that most companies tend to get wrong, is that they don’t think creatively about how their content can be exciting to the average population”.
Ha! That reminds me of what I see when I visit most B2B companies’ websites.
We have all been there. You are researching a new product or service and Google points you to a website, one of the key vendors in that space, and you have to read the page twice to really get it what they are trying to say. How is it that your product or service will benefit me? What is that acronym you keep using? How do I get in touch with someone who can explain all of this? In the B2B marketing space this is notorious. Go to a trade show and the situation gets really bad. Trade show booths with slogans and taglines that don’t mean anything and sales brochures that are full of “features” and screenshots but lack detail of how they solve a problem.
While I still struggle to write good content, I did find some useful resources online that I hope will also help you out.
- LeadSloth has a great blog post with a good list of resources for writing content that works
- Bulldog Solutions published a whitepaper with Frost & Sullivan showing how to map content to buying stages
- The Connected Marketer Blog has a post showing a nice presentation with tips for writing great content
- Ann Handley, from MarketingProfs, published a nice article on American Express’ Open Forum Blog on how to reuse content and repurpose content in different ways
- HubSpot shows you how to use analytics to drive content creation
- Junta42 has a nice list of content marketing resources
- Content Marketing Today has a full section dedicated to giving you tips for writing content that works
- David Meerman Scott’s Squiddo page gives you multiple examples of companies that are doing content right
- SEO Aware discusses the type of content you should have for each type of web visitor you get
The resources above are a great start. The key ideas that seem to be present across them all are:
- Buyer persona is key for content generation
- Guest writers (employees, competitors, etc.) can help tremendously especially if you can’t dedicate a resource full time for the content writing job
- Lists seem to be a favorite item on the web and a great way to get more viewers, just figure out what topic should your list cover
- Content reuse, multiple formats for the content is a nice way of creating lots of content without having to come up with new ideas all the time (formats include webinar, recording, eBook, blog post, etc.)
- Time the content for the right stage in the buying cycle / lead nurturing process – this is the most difficult, because it requires you to really know your customers and prospects
What has been your main challenge with content marketing?