The key to need-to-know content

Relevant content is not enough

An insane volume of content is produced every year, and as marketing is becoming data-driven, a growing part of it is adapted to the target readers. They are flooded with ‘relevant content’ competing for their attention, time and energy. According to Content Marketing Institute, leads generation is the top goal to 85% of B2B marketers and creating engaging content is a top priority to 72%. Faced with ‘relevant’ content overflow, it is more important than ever that content engages potential customers throughout their buying journeys and converts them into sales leads. So we have a challenge. But there is a way to do it: to provide the specific knowledge your target readers need to be able to achieve their professional goals. And at the same time push their emotional buttons. This means you need to explore their challenges.

How is this possible? I mean, look at the symbolic glass in the picture. 

Well, there is a way: by providing specific knowledge that your potential buyers need to be able to achieve their professional goals. And, I should add: pushing their emotional buttons.

But doesn’t this require up-to-date insights into our customers’s challenges?  You got it. It’s the key. We need to move from nice-to-know to need-to-know.

Hit where it hurts

Studies indicate that less content can produce better business results if you put the effort into it. But how do you know what content to put your effort into? How do you know what buttons to push?

In a study by Coschedule, marketers who considered themselves successful were 242% more likely to conduct audience research at least once per quarter. Despite that customer insight is recognised as the key to success, many marketers already have more data than they know what to do with, and hiring a marketing research agency on a regular basis is not an option for everyone.

But what if there is a way to do it yourself?

Even better, what if there is a shortcut, a set of data variables that helps us predict what our target prospects would really want to read? Humans are not built to predict the future – with or without data mining – but good guessing can get us far.

Best practice content marketing indicates that if the content headline hits a so called pain point spot-on, it stands a significantly better chance of getting readers. A pain point, as I will define it here, is an issue that puts the target prospect in a mental state they really want to change or get out of. It can be a tough, top-of-mind challenge they really need to resolve, or a pressing need. Even an unfulfilled, strongly desired goal inflicts pressure and dissatisfaction and can be considered a pain point. They want something they don’t have and don’t know how to get. There needs to be an emotional component at play; they hurt and you offer pain relief.

Does this sound like a really unpleasant customer journey? In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s really about respect. Respect for the CEO, CTO, CMO or the expert you expect to take time out of their day to spend with your content. By knowing their key professional concerns and sharing something that is useful to them, you show that you are worthy of their confidence and trust – the core of any relationship.

Learn how to do it

Now, you may be wondering how this can be done in your busy work weeks where there just never seems to be enough time. Well, this is your lucky day! I’ve just launched a new ebook, How to Add Business Value Throughout the Buyer’s Journey, since I wanted to share my learnings on this topic. It guides you through a time-effective method for creating content that engages B2B prospects in five steps:

1 – Identify your key business opportunities

2 – Formulate your wanted leadership position

3 – Define your audience

4 – Map the buyer’s journey

5 – Turn needs and pain points into content ideas

Download the ebook here.


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