How To Create Content That Converts

The pressures to build a solid Demand Generation Strategy that is perpetual with content marketing that converts is high. So much so, that at times marketers may resort to tactics that might fall into the questionable practices category. Do you recognize any of the following content marketing misses?

One piece to rule them all:
It’s the blend-o-matic of content approaches; there’s nothing this super-piece doesn’t try to do. Engage? Check. Nurture? Check. Convert? Check.

Bait and switch:
This is a content program that’s a little like a well-prepared politician’s message. No matter the question, the answer is always the same — XYZ product.

Always the bridesmaid:
When a program has really good high level, thought leadership content, but if that’s all, there’s nothing to support the buyer in the middle and later stages of the buyer journey.

We’ve all seen and (if we’re honest) probably been guilty of some level of the foibles above as content marketing has matured. Luckily, there is an approach that will deliver on the promise of solid content marketing that converts.

1. Lower your expectations:
Honestly, most marketers expect too much from their content assets. Not because content marketing can’t work, but because they’re trying to create all-purpose content that engages, nurtures and converts, all in one piece. That’s asking a lot of a piece of content.

It’s just not that simple to buy most B2B solutions. To think one asset could answer all of the questions that need answering when buying today’s complex solutions is unrealistic. Not to mention how disconnected the dialogue would be to go from high level issues down to solution level detail in one sitting. Your buyers could get whiplash.

2. Get real:
Earn your buyers’ trust by delivering on the promise of the content. If buyers care about an issue, even if you don’t have a direct line to your solution, you can become a trusted advisor by beginning your dialogue on that issue. The dialogue doesn’t have to stay at that level, but to stay a trusted advisor, you need to align to where the buyer is at any given time

3. Keep pace:
If you’re only producing thought leadership content, you’ll still need a lot of hand-holding during the middle of the funnel. You’ll probably pass off leads that have a higher number of false positives because you are unable to gauge buyer readiness based on engagement with your thought leadership content. To maintain a dialogue with buyers and move buyers along as much as possible before they interact with sales, you’re going to need to cover content that helps them at least prepare for a buying decision. It doesn’t mean it’s all about your product either. Most industries have gaps worth exploiting in the decision making content arena. If you develop content based on buyer research, you’ll be able to provide value with all stages of your content from engagement, nurturing and conversion.

How do you get there?

It can’t be overstated to start with the buyers. Learn about the steps they take when they buy solutions like yours through live interviews.

Make sure to listen for cues that start or “trigger” the buying cycle. It’s different across industries, companies, and personas, but if you speak with enough people, you’ll have a good stable of buying triggers to rally your engagement content around.

You’ll also need to listen for all the steps that happen in between recognizing the need to solve a problem and choosing a vendor. These steps vary, but they are distinct, and you can develop useful nurture content to speak to each of these steps.

Bonus Tip: No one wants to slow down sales with content marketing so always make sure to provide buyers with a way to raise their hand and let you know they’re ready to speak to sales. Make sure these types of “express-lanes” or “accelerators” are always visible and consistent across your content marketing program.

To create content that converts, acknowledge and learn about the multiple steps involved in buying complex solutions and your content marketing program can support buyers every step of the way.

Author: Lee Anne Wimberly @lwimberly Senior Director, Strategy for ANNUITAS

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