Over the past couple months, we’ve taken a look at building impactful content drives value beyond SEO, “showing, not telling” readers about the information they need to understand your company’s value proposition.
The internet, however, is awash with blog posts that are perfectly informative but generate little traffic, make little impact on readers, and fail to move the goalposts on lead generation. Why? For informational content to stand out, build authority and trust, and drive real value, it needs to leave the reader with insight they didn’t have before. Bare-bones content that rehashes the basics of a topic has a place somewhere in the information architecture of your website; but this high-level information is unlikely to make an impact on the sort of knowledgeable readers that dominate a market like B2B technology.
The need to present readers with essential, relevant information requires a degree of empathy. A content strategy can’t just be a laundry list of topics related to a product—it needs to identify gaps in the current digital coverage of a topic, pinpoint questions and issues that are going unanswered, and provide a market-leading discussion of the right answers. That means providing new information, pointing to essential resources, providing better datapoints, or explaining a topic in more depth than competing content (“skyscraper” content is a foundational strategy in content marketing today—building content that’s just “one floor higher” than existing content can be enough to start turning heads).
It’s not always easy to identify opportunities for content. The best way is simply to spend some time talking with contacts in your market niche. Ask them what sort of resources they wish existed to help them choose a product in your space. Ask them what article they have always wanted to break down a complex idea for employees and colleagues. There’s no substitute for direct market research, and even this initial outreach demonstrates that’s your serious about pursuing thought leadership.
But here’s an even simpler rule of thumb: will your content send away customers who aren’t right for your product? It should.
If your content is written so broadly as to not exclude any category of reader, it can’t be written specifically enough to be useful to your actual target audience.
Why we would ever be concerned with helping people not buy our product?
First, direct advice on who shouldn’t buy provides powerful proof that your content is seeking to inform, not put on a hard sell.
Second, by directing poor-fit potential customers to a better option, you only promote your reputation in the marketplace—even as you filter out conversions that would ultimately result in a poor customer experience.
Third, you can frame this advice in a way that is attractive to customers that are a strong fit for your product or service. Imagine an integrated IT management software that’s optimized for enterprise-scale deployments. A statement like “our solution is built for larger companies growing beyond the capabilities of legacy solutions that can still be cost effective for smaller firms” sends a strong message to the target audience (in this case larger firms) that you’re serious about solving their specific business problems, not trying to be everything to everyone for the sake of making a sale.
You can contact Stage2 using the button below to learn more about developing a content strategy designed to build lasting business value through SEO results, operational impact on marketing and sales, and a runway to thought leadership in your market niche.