Content marketing is a popular way to generate traffic and grow your business. And it's fitting for today's environment, as more than half of all B2B buyers don't want to talk to a sales rep at all. Or if they do, they do the majority of their research before jumping on a demo or discovery meeting.
And that's the role content plays.
Anywhere that people go to learn more about how to solve their problems, find product recommendations, get the facts and more about their current situation would be considered "content marketing." This is not just reserved to blogs, but it's any content online - from blogs to videos to social, to yes, even 140 character tweets.
But not all content is created equal. Just because a customer sees your content doesn't necessarily mean they're going to move forward in the sales process.
So how do you create content that your customers actually want and care about?
In setting out to create your customer centric content program there are two variables you have to keep in mind: topic vs. context.
Think about two overlapping circles to establish a Venn diagram. On one side is the topics your audience cares about. On the other side is the business value you provide. The content that will drive results for you and solve problems and create a good experience for them is right smack dab in the center.
Sounds easy, right? Not so fast. Executing on this requires a deep look at customer needs, far beyond what you *think* they may want to interact with. And selecting the wrong topic comes with a whole mountain of problems.
- Problem 1: Should you find you only have a good topic, you will end up with loads of traffic and little to no conversions.
- Problem 2: Conversely, should you only have context, you’ll find you end up with little to no traffic. After all, no one likes the person that only talks about themselves.
Your sweet spot is right in the middle. The crossover between content that is contextually relevant to your audience while also topically relevant to your brand.
Research and observe
To find the sweet spot that's unique to you, start with a competitive audit. The first step to crushing your competition is understanding what they are doing and how they are doing it, and how that relates to your company. A competitive audit will lay the landscape for where your content can shine by highlighting areas that your competition already has covered.
Tools like SEMrush offer a clear picture of the landscape with insights like:
- What other domains are doing and what keywords they are ranking for
- How many keywords you have in common
- The overarching SEO strategy
- The map of your content online
- What these tools offer (that you can’t do on your own) is an objective view of how you stack up against your competition and vice versa.
Look at the content that's out there through a new lens
Additional questions you should be asking as you conduct your audit:
- Why type of content is your competition creating?
- How frequently?
- What stage of the funnel does the content serve?
- What’s their SEO strategy?
- Do they have a strong point of view?
- What does their sales approach look like?
- What is their web traffic makeup?
- Are they leveraging thought leaders?
Seeing what's happening in the space first, and observing the behavior of your target audience will create a much better opportunity for you to win. It's the same way football teams will watch film from their games as well as the competition - so they can see what they're doing and how it's working, as well as what plays and strengths the other teams have.
By referencing the Venn diagram to find your sweet spot - and then doing the necessary strategy work to nail down your topics, you're destined to create content that readers actually want to read (and hopefully share with their network).
For advice on how to write content that gets read (once you know your topics), check out 12 Fool-proof tips for better web content.