Strategic content is more urgent than ever. During this uncertain period of social distancing and isolation, digital channels allow us to reach customers anywhere. And besides walking and educating their kids, customers are taking advantage of found time to catch up with themselves and are consuming “quarantine content” that’ll help them keep moving forward.
Here are 5 things you can do to strengthen your content strategy and digital delivery. These are grounded in B2B approaches, but consumer-facing marketers can apply these too.
1. Meet with your sales teams today and often. No one is feeling the pinch more than your colleagues who are on the hook for revenue. When B2B sales cycles are already long and with many deals on hold and evaluations stalled, sales will need a steady stream of hyper-relevant, industry content to stay top of mind with customers and prospects for the foreseeable future.
2. Conduct a special content audit. Get ready to feed the digital beast. Look across your current assets through the lens of your buyer to see what can be reused, repurposed and resurfaced as blogs, social posts, emails, presentations and webinars. Buying criteria and hurdles may have changed. Your Sales and Demand Gen teams can help you identify messaging gaps and prioritize this effort. If you don’t have a centralized content library, issue a ‘call for content’ at your organization to build your content inventory.
3. Analyze the customer journey. B2B Buyers are already comfortable in self-serve mode and businesses will look for even more opportunities to streamline efforts. Is your product information clear and current? Do the links work? Is the messaging on target for all buyer types involved? These may seem like minor issues, but they are not. Don’t make a prospect work too hard to figure out what you sell. You need to identify the places your content and experiences either accelerate or impede the customer journey – and take steps to correct any shortfall without delay.
4. Recast your PR efforts. Go from a paid to an earned media approach. Pitch bylines or guest posts to key trade pubs and other industry news media outlets. In digital driven decision-making, buyers look to these channels as trusted sources of information — and you’ll likely save some budget. Authoritative content is useful to sales teams and can be high performing email content. Dust off your social media skills. Get back to building your networks and engaging with people organically. Share meaningful and high-quality, third-party content you think will add value. Refresh your social media listening. Paying attention to the conversation will help you strike the right tone with your customers and partners.
5. Write with context. We’ve been brainstorming with writers on how to be relevant and balanced. The challenge becomes how to create “evergreen” content when the future is far from clear, produce insightful industry content when everything is disrupted, or acknowledge the current situation without dwelling on the negatives. One suggestion is to reverse engineer: draft each piece as planned and then edit given the new environment your buyers are grappling with. What you’ve learned through any of these other steps like working directly with sales, analyzing the experience and listening will be tremendously helpful in ensuring your content is appropriate and effective.
Physical conferences and business travel will be back in the budgets eventually, but buyer behavior will likely shift even more toward digital driven decision-making in the long run. It’s the content that will keep the marketing wheels turning now and in the future.
Do you have any adds to this list? Leave a comment and be well!
Jenny is a digital content strategist, who leads customer-centric engagements that focus on understanding B2B buying behaviors and developing custom roadmaps.
Her expertise is creating buyer personas and mapping digital content journeys to assess the multi-channel user experience. She helps clients operationalize plans across workstreams and identifies processes to create efficiencies in marketing operations. Jenny also has extensive time under her belt developing and managing customer advocacy programs and community building.
She has helped a diverse group of organizations including Cisco, VMware, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, BMO Harris, Capital One and many others become more customer-centric.