Connecting Your Content Strategy to Your Business Value
According to Forrester Research, 85% of businesses do not connect their content to business value, yet 74% of B2B buyers purchase from the first company that does. This research goes on to conclude that most businesses fail to:
- Provide enough valuable and useful information;
- Tell enough customer stories; and
- Help salespeople have valuable conversations with buyers.
In our experience, this problem is real and common and it does not go away unless there is a defined path towards a solution. To that end, here are some thoughts on how to develop a content marketing plan that connects to your business value, stays interesting, and is not just another promotional fluff piece.
The Content Blueprint
We believe strongly in creating a content blueprint at the start. The blueprint offers a clear picture that the team can refer to before building any content, and helps insure that it meets the goals of the business.
Building your Blueprint
Step 1. Define your story!
Plan your story by creating the conclusion first. I like to think of the conclusion as the type of information you might write in a “thank you” note. For example: Thanks to you we have been able to increase the productivity of our staff. In this case, the story to be told describes how employee productivity has been improved. Now you have a goal for each piece of content you develop.
Step 2. Find the problem(s)
The beginning of each article should start with empathy towards the reader’s problems. The article needs to be relatable and it should clearly define a challenge that the audience is dealing with. Recently at a conference an early employee of Bill Ziff (Founder of Ziff Davis Publishing) talked about his theory of content development: “Don’t write for people you don’t want.” In other words, only write articles for people you would want to pick up the phone and call you.
Step 3. Don’t be afraid to use humor
I read an article yesterday from Chief Marketer, and they had a content developer from Cisco interviewed about the importance of humor, even in business. Humor helps generate engagement and a conversation. People engage when a topic is relatable and can make them laugh. I tend to try to find a good Dilbert cartoon, or something similar, that can help improve upon my point.
Step 4. Provide some sound advice
Your content blueprint should have a list of relevant advice that is given to clients who are struggling with the problems you solve. Each article needs to have at least one takeaway that will add value for the readers.
Step 5. It is not easy, but it’s worth it
These tips are designed to help you architect higher value, more relevant, content to improve your ROI. However, it is not easy to keep this content bandwagon going. At some point your content creation efforts might seem repetitive and burdensome. Just keep going. Addressing similar topics from different angles is important and you may be surprised about what interesting things you can find to write about once you put your mind to it.
The Results are Powerful
According to a Hubspot report companies who produce consistent content see:
- 67% more leads
- 55% more traffic
If you want more help developing a creative brief and assessing your own content needs, feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
We offer free content assessments which are multi-page documents that offer a thoughtful review of your current plan (or lack thereof). We perform a quick phone interview first, so we can get an understanding of your goals, then we respond with some ways to adjust your strategy.