If you’ve followed my last couple of posts about the two main categories of content, you might get the idea that I don’t think there is a time and place for product related content in B2B technology marketing and that everything should just be educational. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The main point I was trying to raise in the last couple of posts was that too many companies only do product related content and when more than half of your prospects journey happens before they contact sales, this could be a big mistake. And even in those organizations that produce lots of product content, it doesn’t help move the prospect along the journey. It’s not persuasive!
So let’s explore not only what will make your product and solution content better but also when this content should be used. In terms of the first question, a few months ago, I wrote about The Most Important Elements of Compelling Content. A couple of the points I raise there are definitely relevant to making your product content better, plus one more key one:
- Relevant: your content must be written for your audience. The content must also be relevant to the problems your audience is facing or need to solve.
- Interesting: even product content needs to be well-written and interesting. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a story or example to explain a concept.
- Persuasive: And clearly, this content needs to convince the prospect that you have the right solution for their problem and that it is better than the competition. This is done by making sure you communicate your simple, differentiated messages in it. In even the most technical document, it needs to be very clear why choose your company.
Much of what I just wrote may be obvious to many but I think it’s worth repeating and I agree that many companies produce product content that is persuasive but the issue then becomes when they use it.
For many, they use it throughout the sales funnel which I think is where this type of content starts to lose it’s effectiveness. The use of persuasive content needs to be carefully mapped into the sales funnel. A prospect at the top of the funnel does not need a deployment guide. In fact, they likely aren’t ready for a data sheet either.
But more importantly, even before the content is developed, you should talk to your sales team and look at where the buyers are stuck in their journey. Producing content that addresses the questions raised will be very effective at not only persuading the prospect but moving them along.
For example, if they are struggling with a business case, then build a document or tool that helps them present this info to their management. Whoever helps them get over this hurdle stands a good chance of having their product chosen or make the final list.
I’ll admit the right, persuasive content is not always obvious or easy to produce. But continuing to just build product content will not help the situation. Your product content needs to be relevant, educational and persuasive. And then, it needs to be used at the right time in the sales funnel (hint: much later on) and answer the questions your prospects are facing.