Content is one of today’s biggest topics of discussion in B2B marketing.
To some, it is educational information that positions their company as a thought leader. (Those in this group may want to review my recent post on what Eric Wittlake has to say about true thought leadership.)
It is such a focus in B2B marketing these days that many larger companies now have a Chief Content Officer focused exclusively on managing its creation.
It’s important to know that one B2B marketer’s content does not have to compete with all that is out there. It only has to have value for the specific targeted universe the marketer is trying to reach. Effective content follows these rock-bottom rules:
1. Make sure the title is a grabber. The title alone is often what generates the download, so titles need to be strong and compelling. Michael Stelzner’s advice on this topic — “Why a Good Title Makes a White Paper” — is some of the best I’ve seen. You can also check out my contribution to the importance of names in “How to boost B2B content downloads.”
2. Target. To be most effective, what is written should be targeted not only to industry and topic but to individual titles. If decision-makers and influencers include CFOs, CIOs, Product Managers and others, there should be specific content relevant to each title. If marketers need to send a single offer to many titles at once, they can create a “kit” as a few of my clients have done successfully. The kit would be a collection of content pieces with at least one item for each pertinent title. The name of the kit must also be a grabber.
3. Make the content easy to read and digest. Don’t make prospects have to think. Write to the lowest common denominator — that is the person in a target group who might know the least about the topic being covered. Big words and inside lingo don’t make the company doing the marketing look smart, they just diminish the readability of the message.
4. Provide a few quality take-aways. What is offered must reflect well on the company offering it, but it doesn’t have to win Pulitzer Prizes. When creating content, make sure it delivers at least three bits of information that can show the reader that it was worth the effort to download and read it.
5. Don’t look stupid. Have it all proofed by a professional proofreader for grammar and spelling before it’s used.
The point is, if you follow these rules you’ll be creating respectable content that does the job it’s intented to do. As James Pennington, one of my lead generation colleagues, is fond of saying, “Remember, once it has been downloaded, it’s already done 90% of its job.”