What exactly is content creation? Who is content creation for? How do we do content creation? Why should we care about creating content?
Today people are doing tons of research on search engines and social media to try to solve their problems before they're willing to talk to a human being. Yes, people use search engines, social media, and apps on mobile devices as a substitute for human contact if you haven't picked up on that yet!
70% of the Decision Making Process
With many buyers, 70% or more of their mind is already made up before you get a chance to know that somebody is a potential client of yours. 70% of their decision-making is already done.
How do we make sure that we influence how they look at the world? How do we make sure that we’re considered? How do we make sure that the criteria that we use are the same criteria that they use when they evaluate their different options?
It all comes down to understanding your potential clients, building buyer personas around them, and making sure that we invest in the right kind of content creation with the right level of investment relative to the digital world where all of this is going on.
When I think of content creation, it needs to be grounded in two basic principles:
- Different people care about different stuff. The CFO of an insurance company cares about very different things than the head of sales at a software company. The head of sales at a software company cares about very different things than the IT director for a K - 12 school district. If we mess that up, and we try to talk to all three people as if they're one person, we would come up with something that doesn't resonate with anyone. It's too bland. When you have just a couple seconds to catch their attention before they back button out and leave for good -- and by the way, Google knows when they back button out quickly and leave for good.
- We need to make sure that we are hyper-relevant. The way that we do that is we start by developing buyer personas. And we make sure that we have content created for each of our buyer personas. But that's not enough. In order to intercept people early on in that first 70%, before they know that your company exists, before they know that your products exist, and in many cases, before they even know that the category of your business exists -- we need to focus on what is driving them nuts and their problems, not your problems.
Most companies are doing this completely wrong.
What ends up happening is a complete stranger lands on your website and the first thing that they see non-stop is you talking about how wonderful your company is, all of the awards you’ve won, all your certifications, how wonderful your people are, and you know what -- to a complete stranger they just don't give a crap!
They might care later on when they start to realize that you're a good go-to resource and an expert in an option that they should look at when they’re much further along in the buyer’s journey.
But early on, they care about their problems. They care about their questions. They care about their challenges.
If you can provide helpful, vendor-neutral, product-neutral advice on how they can solve their problems and answer their questions -- again, it's all about them -- the more likely it is that will resonate with them and capture their attention.
Early on, when that stranger hits your website, we need that two-pronged emotional reaction of, “Wow, this is really helpful. I've been looking for something just like this for hours. I can't believe I finally found it.” That’s deep, visceral emotional reaction number one that we absolutely, positively need to get.
Reaction number two that we need to have is “What else do they have to say? This stuff was so good, they must have more information -- blogs, podcasts, webinars, eBooks, checklists, or downloadable special reports. Yes, I will give my business card information for what’s on the other side of that landing page. They’ve already started to educate me. They’ve already started to build up trust.”
That's where content creation is not only effective at attracting strangers who've never heard of your company before, but it can also be very effective at converting those website visitors into leads. The leads then begin a relationship with your company and give you permission to educate and build trust with them over time.
Content creation doesn't stop there either. To continue educating and building trust, we now know which buyer persona they are, who they are, and what they care most about, we know where they are in the buyer’s journey, and we know they're pretty early on. We’re going to continue to provide additional content in the right context of them now being in the middle of the process and the consideration set.
- We might send them a buyer's guide.
- We might send them additional related blog posts.
- We might send them a calculator or some other kind of worksheet that can help them compare their different options.
Now they're starting to give their potential problem a name, and they're starting to uncover the category of your company, the category of your products and services. We continue to send them even more content that's contextually relevant -- again, content creation that accelerates those leads into sales opportunities. So by the time they get to your sales team, they are already extremely well educated on the issues that matter most. Their worldview aligns with yours; you're on the same page, and they've invited you to their side of the table to have a trusted advisor relationship with them.
Now the question for you is
- Are all of your competitors doing this?
- Are some of your competitors doing this?
- Do you have an idea of who your competitors are online?
- Who are your direct competitors?
- Who are your indirect competitors?
- Who are your non-business model competitors that are creating content around similar topics?
The more we can differentiate our companies and gain leverage, the better -- so we're seen as subject matter experts, trusted advisers, gurus, educators, and resource people. That is a complete game changer for our competitive positioning. It's a complete game changer for sales cycle acceleration, revenue growth, and overall just a healthy business.
This all starts by recognizing that in a digital world where people are doing tons of self-directed research before they ever get to you, content creation is extremely important. It needs to take into account all the different expertise and institutional knowledge within your company. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking this is a marketing-only initiative, and they kick it down to the marketing team.
The problem is marketing isn’t that close to your clients. So it's critical to involve everyone in the company that has one-on-one contact with different kinds of stakeholders. Your sales team is incredibly important -- get their input. Get input from customer service. But even in finance, accounting, engineering, and product -- everyone gets different questions and has a different perspective and different types of knowledge to share.
The Bottom Line
The best way to be able to scale this to attract more of the right clients that are a great fit for your company is to invest in content creation that's aligned with your buyer personas and where they are in the buyer’s journey.
What type of content have you created for your business? Share your thoughts in the section for comments below.
To learn more about content creation, enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.