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Content is crucial. So is delivering the right content to the right prospect, at the right time. Yet according to a CMO Council report; 67% of B2B buyers do not trust vendor content. So, something’s clearly going wrong. There’s a lot of content out there, but it’s not hitting the mark.
Brands should be looking to deliver a personalised, relevant experience for each user – leading to higher levels of engagement and response. But, how is it possible to achieve consistency of content while developing and delivering marketing campaigns with multiple touch-points to diverse and distinct audiences?
The move to content marketing means a new set of business challenges. How can content marketers ensure that the assets they produce hit the spot? Is there an “ideal” journey to send customers and prospects on? And how do you organise and manage so many and varied pieces of content, across so many channels at so many stages along the buyer journey? Own your own media: but do it right. Invest in content strategy as well as content creation.
A key part of this strategy should be responsiveness, and it’s time for the definition of “responsive” to evolve. In the common lexicon, it’s used to discuss a web page or an email that adapts to a mobile device. Well, we all know the value of mobile now. The next step is to make the whole brand responsive. That means meeting the needs of the customer across all touch points, with all communications and content.
Content needs to be relevant and highly personalised, but it needs to consistently deliver your brand messages too. Brands must control the distribution of messages and ensure continuity while delivering content in many formats, from banner ads to research papers to individualised emails and newsletters, to Tweets and blogs.
To address the trust issue, marketers must take a quality philosophy and ensure content is always appropriate to the audience. This means not pushing product up front – it might mean not even pushing your brand up front. Social channels, for example, may not require your branding all over them, allowing users to gain a sense of neutrality. Working with third parties to build credibility can also help to ensure that top of the funnel communications aren’t turning prospects off. Introduce brand and product content later, once the trust is built.
It is also important to remember that not only does content need to be segmented by platform, it needs to be segmented by timeline too. Content should be personalised to the user to meet their needs at every point of their unique buyer journey.
The earlier in the timeline, the more “snackable” and digestible it should be. Make it as easy to access and consume as possible: the reader or viewer should feel that they won’t lose too much by investing time in the content.
Later on in the buyer journey, the introduction of more complex issues-based or product-led material requires a different type of content again, and this is where deeper dive assets like whitepapers and webinars can come in to their own.
Content now needs to work across a variety of platforms: there’s no point serving a twenty page report up on a smartphone. For mobile, content should either easily redirect users to a desktop site, or serve up mobile optimised content to begin with. Google and Nielson’s Life360 Mobile Search Moments (PDF) found that three of four mobile searches trigger follow-up actions, whether further research, a store visit, a phone call, a purchase or word-of-mouth sharing, so it’s essential that users can easily jump from mobile to desktop, where they can get more in depth information through a platform that makes it accessible.
The sheer amount of content necessary to populate so many channels and platforms, at each stage in the timeline can seem overwhelming. So how can marketers overcome potential writers block? The key lies in using your organization. Need some deep dive information for a later stage in the buyer journey? Interview Product Development. Need blogs to share across your social channels? Empower your sales team and invite them to create their own personal brand. Anyone can be a content contributor: you just need the template for getting the information you need, and the processes in place to guide them.