The best demand generation campaigns start with content that your prospects want. Even the best data, and sparkling creative, can’t save you or your campaign if your content and offer isn’t up to scratch. Here are 8 simple questions to help you decide whether that content is good enough.
1. Does it teach the reader something he/she may not already know?
Sounds obvious, but the best content provides information of value, information that the reader doesn’t already have. If you’re rehashing a topic that your audience already understands, even with some different spin or angle, that content will have inherently less appeal. (Tip: make sure that the title of the content communicates that unique value.)
2. Does the topic help to qualify the prospect as someone suffering from a problem or pain point your product/service can solve?
No one question will help you create content that drives quality leads – leads that convert more readily to pipeline and revenue – more than this one. The best demand generation content does more than attract a crowd; it generates engagement from, and dialogue with, prospects who at the very least have the specific pain or problem that your product or solution can solve. What’s the problem or challenge that your content purports to help address? Does that same issue translate inherently into someone who could ultimately use your product, whether or not he/she realizes it yet?
3. Is it aligned with where your audience is in the purchase process?
Content can work at every stage of the funnel – early, mid, late. But it’s important to define, recognize, and plan for content that appeals to the right prospects depending on the type of campaign or your marketing objectives. In broad terms, early stage content tends to work best for top-of-the-funnel lead generation, when not everyone is interested (yet) in ROI, case studies or vendor comparisons. In contrast, lead nurturing content – content designed to nudge a prospect along the sales cycle – is often tailored to answer questions for those further along in the purchase process.
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4. Are the topics and stats current—no more than a year or so old?
Clients often ask: “What’s the maximum shelf life for demand generation content?” There is no one, definitive answer. Personally, I’ve seen some white papers continue to generate leads year after year with only minor updates. In contrast, content that relies heavily on statistics or market data – an industry trends report, for example – will lose its appeal after only a few short months. Also, certain lead generation channels – notably native advertising like LinkedIn Sponsored Updates – need to be refreshed more quickly.
5. Does its title clearly convey a benefit or an intriguing, newsworthy topic?
To take the most cynical view, the title of your content may be more important that the content itself. After all, it’s the title that drives the prospect to click on your ad or fill out the registration form. The reason that titles with numbers in them (this blog post, as one example) is that readers respond to specific, concrete benefits. Does your title communicate specifically what the reader will learn or gain by registering for or downloading the content?
6. Does it use specific, accessible language rather than vague concepts and jargon?
Readers will derive more value from your content, and by extension, think more of you and your brand, if the content delivers practical, actionable insights in language that resonates with that reader. In contrast, content that is general, not specific, and talks in vague concepts, will lose its appeal rapidly.
7. Is it the right amount of substance — not so short that it feels flimsy, but not so long that it feels overwhelming?
Content length (like shelf-life) is a perennial topic amongst demand generation marketers. Some are convinced that our mobile-driven attention spans demand short, interactive content. Others insist that prospects demand substance, and more long form content (in the right circumstances) delivers a perceived value that drives engagement. One data point: the most popular content asset on our firm’s Website is a 68-page ebook.
8. Does it include a call to action or next step for readers to access additional information or get help with questions?
Let’s be clear here – we’re not saying you should convert your white paper into sales collateral. In fact, to the extent your content doesn’t explicitly promote your company or solution, the higher the credibility and the greater the perceived value. However, there’s no harm in including an “About Us” section at the end, pointing the reader to additional resources or related content, or instructing him/her on how to share the content with friends and colleagues.
Adapted from the eBook: “10 Great Examples of Demand Generation Content.” To download a free copy, click here.