This post is the first of a three-part series describing five steps to help you tame the content beast with consistency and purpose. I’ll begin with steps 1 and 2 by focusing on your buyer’s perspective and your organization’s existing content arsenal.

Step 1: Find Out What Your Buyers Want

“Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.” Those of you who’ve attended a Pragmatic Marketing class likely remember this humorous truth. It gently reminds us to take the time to do buyer research before creating a new product, developing messaging or going to market with a new solution.

It’s dangerous to assume what your buyers are interested in. The best course of action is to ask. Those who take the time to do their homework, talk to buyers and really understand their challenges will create high-quality content that buyers read, share and pass along to their colleagues and bosses.

To start the research process, consider asking your buyers questions such as these:

• What are your most important responsibilities?

• What are your top obstacles/problems?

• Why haven’t you considered a product like ours?

• What alternatives do you believe will help?

• How does your boss measure your success?

• Where do you look for new information?

Step 2: Inventory What You Have

It’s my experience that most technology companies already have lots of content lurking on network drives, laptops or rarely visited web pages. Granted, much of this content might be out of date. But often there are jewels, even just a paragraph or two, in these existing pieces that can be repurposed. Creating content from scratch is almost always more work than editing something you already have.

The challenge, however, is getting your hands on all this existing content. You’re probably aware of where bits and pieces reside, but unless your company has a great system for cataloging all content, you probably aren’t aware of everything that’s out there. That’s why the next step is to inventory all your content.

It likely sounds daunting, but you’ll save yourself an extraordinary amount of time by reusing existing content. Begin with a simple spreadsheet that lists key bits of information for each piece, including:

• File name

• Author/owner

• Type of content (white paper, video, case study, etc.)

• Target audience

• Sales cycle stage

• Where to find it

• Date created/updated

• Status (Current? Needs updating? Too old to salvage?)

Once everything is inventoried, it’s much easier to start re-purposing content. You can also identify scraps of content to pull together and old content to delete. With inventory in hand, you’ll save yourself a ton of work as you create content campaigns for a specific product or service.

Here’s a simple template you can use for inventorying content: Download Content Inventory Tracker

Next Steps

Steps 1 and 2 will save you time and ensure that your content resonates with savvy tech buyers. Next I’ll blog about effective planning and content scalability when I cover steps 3 and 4.

Navigating the content landscape can be perilous, but taming the content beast can make a valuable difference for your customers and your organization.SEO: How Technology Marketers can Tame the Content Beast (Part 1)