Monday, April 19, 2010

Four Ways to Jumpstart Content Development

Successful B2B marketing depends largely on the quality of marketing content.  To break through the marketing clutter that fills the environment and create real engagement with potential buyers, you need relevant and compelling content that helps buyers address important business challenges.

Although this "new" approach to marketing is quickly becoming a competitive necessity, it's not an easy transition for many companies to make.  The volume of content needed can seem to be overwhelming.

For example, suppose that you sell to only one type of company.  Your buying group typically contains three individuals so you have three buyer personas to address.  Your buyers usually move through a four-stage buying process, and you believe you will need to interact with each buyer at least three times during each stage of the buying process.  This means you'll need at least 36 "pieces" of marketing content to fuel your marketing effort (3 personas X 4 buying stages X 3 interactions per buying stage).

The good news is that getting started with content marketing is usually the most difficult step.  Once your initial base of content is created, the job becomes more manageable.  So, is there any way to make getting started easier?  These four tactics will enable you to jumpstart your content development.

Narrow Your Focus

If you sell to more than one type of business, pick your largest, most profitable, or most attractive customer segment and start by developing a full set of content materials for that segment.  You can add content for other types of customers later.  When it comes to content marketing, you are better off having the content you need to take some of your prospects all the way through the buying cycle than having content that will take all of your prospects only part of the way through the buying cycle.

Use Existing Marketing Materials

OK, I'll admit that most of your existing marketing materials probably aren't suitable for the kind of customer-focused marketing you need to be doing today.  I include this tactic for two reasons.  First, at the right time in the buying cycle, your potential buyers will want and need to learn about your company and your products, and your existing marketing materials should be able to perform this function.  Second, even if your existing materials aren't suitable in their current form, you may be able to make some of them suitable by making relatively minor changes.  At least you won't be starting from scratch.

Follow the "Rule of Five"

The rule of five says that whenever you develop a significant content asset, you should try to create at least four "smaller" content pieces from the original asset.  For example, say you write a white paper.  You then use the content in the white paper to create one or two short articles and two or three blog posts.

Outsource the First Wave

Even if you follow the first three suggestions, you may still find that you don't have the time or internal resources to create the content you need as fast as you need it.  If that's the case, you should consider outsourcing some or all of the content development work.  Once the initial wave of content is developed, you may find that you can build on that foundation to create the additional content you need.

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