By Kim Gusta
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this three-part blog series, I covered four steps to set up a repeatable process for creating content easily. You’ll likely want to assign these items to someone on your team to be sure they get the attention they deserve. But no matter how well defined your process, thinking up interesting content ideas, poses a challenge.
To meet deadlines and creativity challenges, it’s imperative to leverage existing expertise and to work back from sales and buying cycles. In Step 5, I discuss content ideas to save time and maximize customer impact.
The majority of technology buyers (79 percent) say the quality of the information you provide as a vendor significantly affects whether they’ll do business with you (“What Your Prospects Want and Don’t Want from You,” UBM TechWeb, May 2012).
Here are some time-saving ideas to help you create high-quality content:
• Answer buyers’ 50 most common questions. Your own sales and marketing people are great sources of customer insight. In fact, anyone in your company who works with your buyers likely knows questions they commonly ask when considering your products or services.
• Follow the lead of marketer Marcus Sheridan and bring your salespeople and marketers together in a room. Brainstorm at least 50 questions your buyers commonly ask. Consider also including the “difficult questions” that most companies shun answering publicly, such as those regarding your pricing or how you compare to competitors.
• Create content that answers the common questions. If you address them in a series of blog posts, you’ll get great search engine results, as these are often search topics for buyers.
• Examine the sales cycle. Digging deeper into your sales cycle is another great way to come up with new content. What do people want to know at each stage? Early in the sales cycle, they might seek broader information. “How are my peers solving challenges like this?” “Can your product do x?” Questions later in the sales cycle may be more specific: “How does it integrate with our CRM?” “What’s the installation process like?”
• Curate good content. Fortunately, not all content you distribute needs to be created by your company. Buyers value quality external content too. You can quote an interesting research study by analysts in a blog post or highlight a great case study. As long as the content is useful to your buyers, consider sharing it (and, of course, giving credit where due).
It takes some up-front work, but your content creation process will become more efficient and strategic. You’ll end up with high-value content that resonates with your buyers and isn’t a load of work to create.
By finding out what your buyers want, conducting an inventory, creating an editorial calendar, repurposing your content and borrowing content ideas, you’ll establish a repeatable process and get that ravenous beast under control.
Want cool ideas for smart content? Sign up for my monthly newsletter and get my free report "How to Make Your Content a Strategic Marketing Weapon".
Find the right technology copywriter with this free checklist.