Before you write a single word of content…STOP!!
The whole idea behind content marketing is to use content as a lead generation and sales tool. And in order to market or sell, you need to know who your target customer is.
The only way your content is going to have a positive effect on your target customer is if that customer connects with it. Your content needs to speak to your target customer in a language and voice he understands and relates to.
The biggest content marketing mistake B2B companies, particularly in tech related fields, make is that they don’t identify their target customer before writing their content. They write their content in their own voice, which might or might not resonate with their target customer. For tech companies, that voice is usually technical.
Let’s use 2 fictional companies as examples (I made up the names. Sorry if I got lucky and named your company!). ProtectoNet makes network security software for corporate networks. AppBuilders is an app development company primarily targeting small businesses.
ProtectoNet’s website content and blog posts are super technical. They often contain detailed information relating to network security issues and are way too complicated for anyone who isn’t a network administrator to understand. Their average blog post is guaranteed to cure even the worst insomnia cases for non-techies who dare attempt reading it.
Is ProtectoNet’s content marketing strategy on target?
Purchasing a sophisticated tech product like network security software is usually in the domain of the network or IT manager, since they’re usually the only one’s who can understand the problem and solution. So in ProtectoNet’s case, by writing complex technical content they are addressing their target customer and speaking their language.
AppBuilder’s website content and blog posts are also primarily technical in nature. They discuss the advanced programming techniques they use. They talk about databases, operating systems, coding issues and server maintenance. Interesting and engaging stuff if you’re a programmer. But are their target customers programmers?
Think about it. What small business is going to require the services of an app development firm? The chances are that their target customer is going to be a company looking to increase business by launching a mobile app or an entrepreneur attempting to launch a new app based business. There’s a good chance that person making the purchasing decisions is a business person, not a techie.
Of course it depends on the particular business, but unless the company is a tech startup the odds are overwhelming in favor of a non-tech customer looking for a way to improve business in some form. Technically oriented content is not what’s going to attract and engage this customer. What they want to know is how AppBuilder can help them increase revenue, expand their business and save money and time in the process. They couldn’t care less about how that happens. They don’t want to hear about the tech stuff. It’s not their thing.
Instead of writing about “how to structure database tables” or “the pros and cons of PHP vs. Python”, AppBuilder should be addressing “how to cost effectively build a mobile app” or “the pros and cons of outsourcing app development”. AppBuilder’s content should be appealing to entrepreneurs and business owners, who are the ones looking for the solution they’re offering.
Creating content that addresses your target customer isn’t confined to tech companies. It applies to any company using content marketing to attract and engage potential customers. For example, accounting firms or law firms need to determine whether they should post articles related to technical issues and problems they deal with that will appeal to other accountants or lawyers, or whether they need to address business owners with content related to cutting costs, managing liability and increasing efficiency.
Before you create your content ask yourself the question: who am I trying to attract and engage. Once you answer that question you’ll be able to create the type of content that will speak to your target customers.