To Create Better Content, Ask This Simple Question

For the last 14 years, I’ve been responsible for marketing either some significant part of a larger company’s offering or the entire company’s brands and products. One of the most effective tools I’ve used for this purpose has been content. In fact, I know from personal experience that over the course of just a few years, an effective content strategy can significantly increase – as in mid-to-high double digits – unique website users and sessions, leads, and direct traffic. I’ve also seen it significantly decrease bounce rates.

Much of the content playbook I’ve executed involves content types that are familiar to many. They include livestream video interviews with industry players, webinars, playbooks, case studies, whitepapers and a format I call “the hero’s journey.” As the name suggests, this format profiles key decision makers who make tough decisions and profit as a result.

As many B2B companies do, the content engines I favor are informed by questions prospective clients ask in sales meetings, competitive market dynamics, new product enhancements, keyword planning, the standout results clients are seeing, and more.

Here’s one thing most B2B companies don’t do, however. They don’t ask the question, why don’t prospective clients continue in their customer journey toward purchase? Understanding why they’ve stopped researching the problems they are having, exploring potential providers, or drawing up a shortlist of preferred options results in content that preemptively anticipates objections and keeps prospects on the path to purchase.

For example, you may learn that some prospects say “no” because they think your brand costs too much. This creates an opening to re-frame the discussion, shifting away from costs toward value and results. Look for client stories in which improvements in outcomes outpaced increases in costs. On a performance basis, your brand will look like a bargain. This is the sort of argument that plays well with CMOs and CFOs, especially during Covid, when every dollar of marketing investment has to demonstrate a positive return.

Improvements in these key marketing metrics probably won’t materialize overnight. No single piece of content is going to catapult your business. Adopting the right content marketing framework, including a detailed, up-to-date understanding about why prospective customers do not buy from you, will put your marketing team on the road to durable, long-term growth.

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