Content Creation- It’s Not All The Same

Content is King or so they say. However, there are many elements that are part of content creation that aren’t well understood by marketers and can impact content effectiveness. Writing the content is clearly an essential component, but what other areas should marketers focus on to ensure each piece is optimized for its specific purpose?

shutterstock_254530585Let’s assume we have a solid Demand Generation Strategy, fully vetted by sales and marketing, built on well-researched Buyer Insights and written to fully Engage, Nurture and Convert our prospects into our pipeline. What other elements need to be considered?

Design
Design can and should be an important aspect of content marketing, yet all too often, it is either the first thing thought about (the creative vision sparks the project itself) or the last thing thought about in process. Design needs to be thoughtful, engaging and appropriate for the purpose of the content piece to help enable action by the buyer. Incorporating visual elements into content, whether printed or online, helps engage the buyer in the piece, helping to form an immediate and personal connection.

This need for visual design is explained very well in the Power of Visual Storytelling by NewsCred. Visual elements aren’t only pictures or images; they can be call-out boxes, typefaces or even the layout. A content piece needs to be easy to Engage with and helps deliver the critical information to the buyer and great design helps make this happen.

Branding
How, when and where to brand a content asset is something that B2B marketers often miss the mark on. Marketers mistakenly treat all content branding efforts the same. Too often marketers splash company logos on everything and anything to make sure buyers know this is your piece of content, your sponsored white paper or your video. And that is where the mistake it made. Sometimes less is more.

For example, in early stage Engage content (informational content designed to solve buyer questions/ issues) it is not necessary to have content heavily branded. A buyer discovers an eBook from a Google search- they don’t know your company, and they don’t care to…just yet. Buyers want to read about solutions to their problem and learn more about something of interest at this stage. If you heavily brand the eBook, spending valuable content space on “about us” or logos and other branding, you are wasting space. Save the heavy branding for when the buyer is already bought into a solution, your solution, in a later stage of the buyer’s journey.

Content type
Not every piece of content will lend itself to an eBook or a white paper. Although infographics are popular and fun to create, if your buyer is a line manager at a manufacturing plant, does depicting a complicated manufacturing process lend itself well to an infographic? Maybe, but probably not. Just because marketers might want to create a certain type of asset, it doesn’t mean it is the right format for your buyer.

Remember the golden rule of B2B marketing these days…It’s All About The Buyer. Content marketing is so effective because buyers are seeking and can now access more information than ever before (on their own) and we can help educate them. According to an article in Harvard Business Review by Corporate Executive Board, 6o% of the B2B buyers’ journey is completed before a buyer engages with a vendor.

Buyers are consuming an average of 10.4 piece of content before purchasing according to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth research and not every piece should look the same in terms of content type, look and feel and level of branding. Match the content piece to the needs of the buyer, or you will risk losing them before they even look at your piece.

A solid Demand Generation Strategy includes essential Buyer Insights that inform marketers how and what their buyers want and need. Marketers then need to heed those insights and develop engaging content that meets the buyer’s needs and preferences. Not all content is created equal and it certainly shouldn’t all have the same look and feel-even your own branding. It’s about the buyer, not your organization.

Author: Erika Goldwater, CIPP/US @erikawg Vice President, Marketing, ANNUITAS

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