In the B2B world, when it comes to generating demand, Content is King. Not brochure-ware, but content that speaks directly to your prospect, propels the conversation, and advances the sales cycle. Authors Ann Handley and C.C Chapman, build a compelling case for content in their new book Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business.
This article is a crash course on how to create a visual content framework required for successful demand generation, in six simple steps.
The color-coded content grid will give you a clear and easy-to-understand picture of content priorities. This is now a document that is easy to share and discuss with others and allows you to set up a development plan for your content while also beginning campaigns based on content you already have.
Step One: Re-think the purpose of content
Content for the demand generation marketer is about inviting online behavior that shows where the prospect is in the buying cycle then allowing an automatic or manual response. For many companies prospects viewing white papers mean they are early in the buying process and are not ready to talk to sales. In contrast, a prospect looking at your “dry as toast” data sheets is deeper into the buying cycle and may be ready to talk to sales.
Content for the demand generation marketer is also about the smallest exchange of value that sets up the next behavior. Think about “chunking” down the content and re-using content as much as possible. A long white paper might be published in five parts and a key report might be released in three parts. You can also re-use any of these pieces in a variety of campaign types.
Step Two: Map a Basic Buying Cycle
In demand generation, the marketer is always trying to figure out where in the buying cycle the prospect is so they will know how to interact with them. Step Two is to map out a basic buy cycle. It might include stages like Awareness, Discovery, Comparison and Contract.
Step Three: Map your Key Personas
Different personas will interact differently with content and in each of the buying cycles. An analytical buyer will need content that provides more details, an executive is looking for content that shows what a solution can do for a business. Personas can be mapped out in many ways based on role, influence or personality. For the sake of this article, we’ve designated two personas: David the Decision Maker and Gail Get it Done.
Step Four: Add the Content Layer
The content layer is comprised of content types and the campaign types. Think BROADLY on what you need, what you have and map it out the best you can based on the stages of the Buying Process. Typical content pieces include white papers, data sheets, case studies, videos, blogs, calculators, reports, demos, podcasts, power points, studies, reports, etc. AND, any of this can be created by you or by a third party.
You will also want to line up campaign types on the next line of the grid. Campaign types include email campaigns, broad educational events/webinars, newsletters, co-branded marketing, banner ads, trade shows, etc.
Step Five: Assess through Color Coding
Take a look at your content plan and color code the asset types. Red means you don’t have that asset but need it, yellow means you have the asset but need to re-work, and green means you have the content piece and can use it as is.
By color coding the entire grid, you will be able to quickly see key content pieces you have and can immediately leverage in campaigns. This view also helps you assess the gaps and helps you plan your priorities for development.
Step Six: Establish Priorities
The color coded content grid will give you a clear and easy to understand picture of content priorities. This is now a document that is easy to share and discuss with others and allows you to set up a development plan for your content while also beginning campaigns based on what you already have.
By following these steps you will create a demand generation program to build brand awareness, generate sales ready-leads and drive revenue through the roof. At the same time you will catapult your career to the next level and become a real Revenue Marketer®.