How-To: Develop the Right Content

We’ll focus on the two key aspects of developing the right content for your B2B prospects and customers…

1. What content to produce

2. How to actually produce it


What content to produce

1. Understand the needs of your prospects and customers. (is this sinking in yet?)

Don’t just dive-in! Follow these steps before developing any content:
Get Data Right
Know Your Customers
Develop Strategic Plan
Get Your House in Order

Follow our guide Know Your Customers to research your customers, create a manageable segmentation B2B content marketing strategy and develop useful personas.

The keys insights are:

  • Understanding their problems.
  • How they talk about these problems.
  • How they go about researching and selecting a solution.

Content Mapping

Ideally these insights are broken out by by phase of the buying journey and by segment or persona.

  • Review our Content Needs by phase to help orient yourself.
  • Identify and focus on one or two high-priority issues per phase.

A BtoB Content Marketing Segmentation Grid helps you build a high-level view of your different audiences, what content you have that meets their needs, and where your gaps are.

Learn more >

BtoB Guide to Online Content Marketing

Source: study, “Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field,” was based on an online survey of more than 400 b2b buyers, conducted in April 2013 by new study by the CMO Council
Read More >


2. Say something new (or at least better)

Analyze data to help you identify topics that are ‘underserved’. Rather than making subjective guesses about what to produce…

  • See what topics customers are actually seeking via:
    • Search keyword data
    • Social Media listening tools
    • Popular topics in industry media and blogs
  • And then compare that to what’s currently available in the market.

Avoid repeating what others have already covered – unless the material is really poor and you can do much better.

Lastly, try to stay focused on topics that you’re an expert on and ideally have an authoritative voice.

Business to Business Guide for Online BtoB Content Marketing

Source: study, “Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field,” was based on an online survey of more than 400 b2b buyers, conducted in April 2013 by new study by the CMO Council
Read More >


3. Focus your bsuiness to business marketing effort based on what’s working

Optimize based on data to avoid becoming a content publisher vs. content marketer and sucking up all your resources in a treadmill of content creation. Use content consumption data tied to impact on your higher level objectives.

  • Content consumption analysis: Closed-loop look-back analysis helps determine what content topics and even which specific assets are actually driving sales.
  • Analyze metrics ongoingly to discard or ramp up all dimensions of our B2B content marketing plan: topics, assets channels, formats, etc.


How to Produce your B2B Content

“Business buyers don’t buy your products and services; they buy into your approach to solving their problems.”
-Laura Ramos, Forrester, VP, Principal Analyst Serving CMO Professionals
Forrester Content Marketing for Marketing & Strategy Professionals
Read More >

1. Dig around

Once you’ve prioritized the gaps in your content segmentation grid, do deep research to get insights and data from industry analysts, colleagues, reports and search engines. You’re especially looking for uniques points of view and data points to quote.

  • Interview experts and customers – individually or in round-table discussions
  • Interview your customers’ customers
  • Commission original research
  • Conduct Web surveys

2. Choose formats

Overall, you want to make your B2B marketing content easy to digest (bulleted copy, infographics and videos). Certain topics lend themselves better to one format than another. For example…

  • Use infographics to visualize complex relationships like an ecosystem
  • Use videos to walk people through a complex process or demonstrate a product

Stretch your potential reach by reformatting and repurposing your core content across a variety of channels. A for example, an idea expressed in a whitepaper could be also introduced in a podcast, webinar, video, slideshare, or blog post series.

3. Get started (and get some help)

Now you’re finally ready to start producing some content.

  • Write an outline
  • Get feedback from your team and industry influencers
  • Find the best help you can – professional writers, designers, editors, etc.

4. Get attention (and keep it)

You can’t buy attention these days. You have to earn it with the most impactful information your customers could ask for.

Think of yourself as a consultant, advisor, analyst and journalist. You have to build credibility and overcome the skepticism that prospects have towards vendors.

Here’s how to be “impactful”:

  • Don’t talk about yourself
    • Set your agenda aside and be balanced and objective
    • Prospects want to learn about solving their problems – not you
    • Talking about your vision, your company and the features and benefits of your offering will probably hurt you more than help you… especially in the Explore phase.
  • Grab attention
    • Focus on key topics
    • Have an interesting POV and opinion
      • Support this with data
    • Use intriguing, punchy headlines and sophisticated design
  • Keep attention
    • Build an emotional connection with your readers
      • Show them you’re human (most of the time)
        • Don’t be afraid to use simple, conversational language
      • Show them you care about the topic (if you don’t care, fire yourself)
        • Don’t be afraid to use strong, passionate language
    • Make it fun
      • Show some personality (dig deep, it’s in there somewhere)
        • Don’t be afraid to be funny and take risks