Writing Content is Not a Job for Sissies


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Ken Rosen wrote a terrific guest post over on Mark Schaefer’s blog, {grow} – Five questions to help you choose your target market. It’s thought provoking in several ways. If you haven’t read it, make sure to take a spin through. It’s seriously good.

The gist of it is that building a foundation is important and not to be taken lightly.

There are two things Ken said that I’d like to expand upon here.

“You have to convert someone who needs your product into someone who buys your product.”

Although he meant this in a target market kind of way, I immediately think about marketing content – what else? – and how this shift is the main job a B2B marketer’s content needs to help facilitate.

We’ll get to more of that later, but Ken’s post also provides the answer to how this shift is accomplished when he’s talking about why and how he can get decision makers to speak with him for an hour at a time.

“Because they got to talk about their world and what matters to them.”

If you change the word “talk” to “think” – you’d be pretty close to defining the effect that good marketing content can create.

To get to great content, leave it as is and consider how to create content that actually inspires them to “talk” about it with their peers and colleagues because the ideas are so in tune with their world that they can’t help themselves.

This is actually a two-part bang for your content buck. First they think about the ideas you’re sharing with them, then they talk about them. And that’s what sets things in motion to shift from need to buy.

So, how do you get this to happen?

Here’s one way to think about it.

Write about your target audience – not to them.

Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

Here’s how this mindset will help. In order to write about someone, you have to:

  • Know them really well.
  • Learn what interests them and what they hope to achieve.
  • Discover what obstacles are in the way.
  • Find out what motivates them to take action.
  • Gain common ground.

If, instead, you write to your audience, you’re tempted to:

  • Talk about you, your company and products.
  • Try to convince them you’re the best thing since sliced bread.
  • Miss the mark by relying on assumptions.
  • Slide in that sales pitch, no matter how much you think you’re not doing that.

This is because you’re being you and saying what you think is important without realizing that it’s grounded in your world, not theirs. You’ve still got in the back of your mind what’s important to you, not what matters to them.

Create a Cheat Sheet

When I create content for specific target audiences, I make myself a cheat sheet. It includes things like what matters to them in relation to the topic and what factors in their lives/companies impact the thing that matters, along with a few other things like what I want them to do next. If I have that next action in mind, I can tease it into the content so that when I get to the end, I’m not just tacking on a link to contact the company for a demo or some other action that comes out of left field.

I keep my cheat sheet open in the background on my computer and refer to it often while I’m writing to make sure I’m on track. Sometimes when I don’t do this often enough, I find that I’ve veered off course and have to delete a bunch of work and restart. This usually happens when I start writing to them instead of about them.

To write great content requires a lot of attention, effort, stamina, creativity, research and tools – to mention just a few things. It’s definitely not a job for sissies.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist and the CEO of her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. She helps B2B companies with complex sales create and use persona-driven content marketing strategies to turn prospects into buyers and convince customers to stay. Ardath is the author of Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results and eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. She's also an in-demand industry speaker.


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