I recently learned the importance of “fit” in a painful way. While playing with some smaller canine friends, I tried to squeeze under a barn door in pursuit. My buddies made it through the opening without a problem, but I ended up with an ugly gash on my backside. It was a nasty reminder that I’m bigger than I think I am! So, what does this have to do with content?
Creating an effective content strategy is all about finding the right fit. The first step is not to make the same mistake I did – have a realistic picture of who and what you are, and perhaps, more importantly, who and what your customers think you are. In my mind (and heart), I’m still a puppy, but my size says otherwise. In the same way, many companies believe they are one thing, but the message they convey, and how that message is interpreted is something else entirely.
For instance, a local manufacturing company (we’ll call them the XYZ Company) recently invested millions of dollars in high-tech equipment, and wanted customers to know they were capable of advanced production that many of their competitors were not. However, their website, blogs, and other content focused heavily on tradition and reliability. While these are great qualities, the “high tech” image was not coming through to prospective customers, some of who viewed the company as “old school.”
To remedy the situation, XYZ revamped their website and tweaked their content to showcase their new investments and unique capabilities. As they were developing a content strategy, they asked themselves the following questions:
- What are our customers’ most pressing problems or pain points, and how can we help solve them?
- What terms are our customers searching for when looking for solutions, and does our content include those keywords?
- Where are prospects gathering information, and do we have a presence on those platforms?
- What are our content marketing goals (i.e., brand awareness, lead generation, customer retention and loyalty)?
Once they had the answers to these questions, they began to develop a content strategy.
During this process, it’s important to consider what type of content is the best fit for each vehicle/format, the information you’re providing and the goals you’re trying to accomplish. Otherwise, you might be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole or a big dog through a small opening. (For more details, check out “How to Create a B2B Content Strategy.”
Website content should:
- Answer basic questions about your business, products and services (in an easy-to- navigate way) with clear, concise text and impactful images. Keep in mind, studies show that you only have 7 seconds to grab your reader’s attention!
- Include long-tail keywords that your prospects are searching for.
- Provide proof of authority and establish trust with resources such as blogs, white papers, testimonials, and answers to FAQs.
- Include calls-to-action that are easy to find.
- Encourage visitors down the path to conversion.
Blog Posts should:
- Foster communication/create a dialogue.
- Provide SEO support with keywords (i.e., generate traffic, page views).
- Establish thought leadership and authority.
- Offer solutions to the problems/pain points of prospects.
- Be useful, relevant and informational.
White Papers and E-books should:
- Be longer in format, providing an in-depth explanation or analysis of a topic.
- Introduce readers to an unfamiliar subject.
- Educate readers on a topic so that they understand the scope of a problem and how to solve it.
- Position your product/service as a potential solution without being promotional.
- Be used for tutorials, how-to’s and product demonstrations.
- Explain something visually or tell a story.
- Highlight product features.
- Be entertaining or humorous (like cute dog videos).
- Be used to represent data in an interesting, visual format.
- Make numbers, data, statistics, percentages, and survey results visually arresting and easy-to-understand at a glance.
Simon Sinek, Optimist and Founder at Start with Why, says “There are two ways to build a career or business. We can go through life hunting and pecking, looking for opportunities or customers, hoping that something connects. Or, we can go through life with intention, knowing what our piece looks like, knowing our WHY and going straight to the places we fit.”
Although I personally enjoy hunting and sniffing, I see his point. By having an accurate view of who, what and why you are, you can find your “fit” and go after it with the right content strategy. Without that knowledge and purpose, you’re just hoping that something will connect. And, let me tell you from experience, “connecting” with things you didn’t intend to can hurt!
(In case you’re wondering, my injury is healing just fine, thank you. You can be sure that next time, I will not underestimate my size and formulate a better strategy!)