There is a oft-sung refrain in the content marketing world: the point of content marketing is to generate leads by building an audience through the creation and promotion of valuable content. Not very catchy, but it pithily sums up what content marketing is all about. By pithy, I mean glib, because it elides some important points, including what constitutes value to our audience. For B2C marketing, there are as many answers to that question as there are audiences — that’s why we build diverse personas that attempt to capture who we are trying to provide value for.
Developing personas for business-to-business content marketing personas involves answering many of the same questions, but there are a couple of additional factors we have to consider because B2B leads aren’t buying for themselves. They are buying for their organization or a department within the organization. Different incentives are in play, and we need to incorporate those incentives into our model of who we are writing for, and eventually into the shape of the content we create.
Who Is Your Buyer?
The answer to this question can be radically different depending on the type of company you are targeting. If you offer services to small businesses, it’s more than likely that the buyer is the owner of the business. If you sell manufacturing equipment to large corporations, the buyer is almost certainly not the person who will actually be using that equipment. It might be a C-Suite executive, or it might be a department head, or it might be a mid-management employee specifically tasked with buying for a project.
Each of these groups need to be approached differently because each has a different conception of value. Each will respond best to a different voice.
Ask Current Customers What Their Pain Points Are?
One of the best ways to identify what a future customer will find valuable is to ask current customers. It’s all too easy to design content strategies that cover all the bases in theory, but in reality address nothing of much interest to potential buyers.
I don’t advocate for a slavish adherence to the information gathered from current customers — it’s entirely possible that they are unable to articulate or conceptualize what they may have found valuable had it been offered to them. But as a first approximation, surveying customers is useful.
Mine Customer Support Interactions For Content Topic Ideas
Customer support interactions will frequently provide much-needed data that can be used to shape content. Don’t substitute creating an FAQ or knowledge-base for content marketing, they aren’t the same thing, but do use support data as an input to the persona and content design phases.
Business2Business content marketing is not more difficult than B2C, but you should ensure that you’re asking the right questions and incorporating role and position information into your personas.Posted in: eCommerce