Six attributes of successful, lead-generating content


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This is the second of a four-part series on B2B content marketing best practices, highlighting and expanding on points made during the SiriusDecisions Summit last month. The breakout session on B2B content marketing in particular featured a ton of great ideas, best practices and reminders. This series highlights a handful of them, with commentary on each. Part one outlined three ways content marketing can make your sales team happy.

If you pull together some of the most successful, lead-generating examples of content across the B2B world, and looked for what they all had in common, I bet the following six attributes would be in place for most of them. It’s no guarantee that your content will go viral and generate buckets of qualified leads, but the more of these you nail the more likely your ongoing content development investments will pay off.

1. Brief
The SEO expects say that a blog post should be more than 500 words, but less than 1,000. But viral content doesn’t have to match that format. In fact, some of the most viral content you’ll find is little more than a picture with a caption, or a short but powerful idea written well. When you write, look through your first draft and find entire sentences you can delete, that don’t really add to your main point. If you’re thinking about creating a three-minute video, make it two minutes or less. The more efficiently you can communicate your story or message, the more likely people are to read it and share it with others. This isn’t an attention span thing. It’s a we-are-all-busy-so-get-to-the-point thing.

2. Valuable
Goes without saying, perhaps, but there’s a ton of content out there that is little more than an excuse to publish some keywords to get Google’s attention. Just because you achieve the magical 5-8 percent keyword density doesn’t mean your content is compelling, or teaches your prospects something new, or compels them to want to share it with peers, colleagues and respective networks. Great content makes your audience think, then want to do something. Is your content that valuable?

3. Targeted
Who are you talking to? What do they care about, what are they thinking about or struggling with right now, and how can you help them? You aren’t likely going to create content that appeals to everyone, and if you try it might just be too diluted that it doesn’t catch fire at all. If you’re going to go viral, do so with a targeted audience. If you’re writing for sales executives, create content that they can’t wait to share with their peers. Or they’ll want to share with their managers and/or board to better understand what they do. Worried that your content is too targeted? That probably means you aren’t creating enough content. If you have more than one audience you care about, generate enough diversity and volume of content to impact them all (vs. trying to talk to them all at once).

4. Broadly Appealing
You’d think this conflicts with the idea that you want content to be “targeted”, but there’s a difference between speaking to a unique audience, and speaking to so narrow of a topic that others won’t relate. Great content doesn’t catch fire if it’s written for one. And your initial audience won’t pass it along if they don’t think others will also find it valuable. So, yes, there’s fine line between staying targeted and keeping content broadly appealing.

5. Unique
Some of your best content ideas will come by consuming the content of others. But if you focus on writing or creating mostly reactions to what other people create, you’ll have already missed the boat based on someone else’s content that has already gone viral. What makes your content unique? Your voice? Your perspective? Can you take an opposing view on a popular topic? Sometimes content goes viral specifically with those who disagree with you.

6. Findable
How are you seeding your new, great content so that others can find it? Are you sharing it in your social networks? Seeding it directly to influencers and other bloggers who already have large networks and will get the fire going for you? If you create a great PowerPoint slide deck, for example, have you posted it on SlideShare and added the right keywords to the description to help it get discovered? Findability, though last on this list, is at least as important as the quality and value of the content itself.

There are far more attributes to great lead-generating content, of course. What criteria do you use when creating new content? What criteria do you notice present on the content you most often read, retweet and pass along?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.


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