Good things seem to come in sets of three: dramatic structure, Star Wars (before 1999), and your B2B sales cycle content strategy. Okay, so those first two are clear, but let’s talk about my third set of three.
Managing a writing service for marketing and SEO agencies, I’ve gotten a lot of practice in breaking down strategies and concepts into bite-sized pieces. Hang with me as we go through the three elements that your content strategy needs in order to turn window-shoppers into buyers.
#1: Thought Leadership Stage
The first type of content that your B2B company has to establish is thought leadership. “Thought leadership” is not just a buzz phrase thrown around by inbound-marketing-loving gurus. It’s been going on for decades, but with today’s blogging platforms, thought leadership is something that everybody needs to get in on.
What is it?
I like how Michael Brenner at B2B Marketing Insider puts it:
“Thought Leadership allows us to define the category of our solution.” Similar to branding, “it’s all about being associated with the questions our buyers are asking.”
To start on the road to becoming a Thought Leader, you don’t have to have all the answers all the time. You just have to become associated with those questions. Consider driving a consistent content strategy with the help of a writing service if you can’t do this alone. They can take down your big ideas in a brief interview and then expand upon them through finely crafted blog posts. You stay busy doing the real work, while your writing service turns you into a Thought Leader.
Thought Leadership isn’t exclusive to the blogosphere by any means. It should permeate your brand. Demonstrate your thought leadership in newsletters, social media pages, live Tweet chat sessions, and more.
#2: Real World Problem Solving Stage
As you establish yourself as a thought leader, B2B companies that could become your clients are going to naturally start consuming your media. (Sure, an SEO strategy is important, but I’m a big believer in the theory that good content trumps all other strategies.)
Now that you have people tuning into you and your blog, it’s time to start offering them practical solutions. This is the second stage. Take your readers’ problems, and show them solutions.
You probably already read a client, partner, or competitor’s blog that does this. But if you want to see an example of what I’m talking about, check out Pardot’s blog. Pardot is a B2B marketing automation company that runs a first-class blog, which highlights real problems that real readers deal with.
The bottom line: in the world of blogging, fluff isn’t going to get you very far. If you want to keep those leads moving through your sales cycle, you’d better be up to the challenge of writing informative content. If you don’t have someone in-house who can commit to this, then consider a writing service. It could turn out to be your best friend – not to mention provide great ROI.
#3: Hard Sell Stage
By the time you’ve reached this third stage, you and your writing service are ready to hit the hard sell. Don’t let those two words mislead you. A “hard sell” doesn’t mean it’s time to start talking like a telemarketer.
Rather, hard sells should be your chance to talk about yourself. Really, this is the first time in the three stages where you’re talking about yourself. Everything up to now has been all about the prospective client.
Content to create and share with prospectives in this stage includes:
- How-to guides
- Case studies (of results you’ve achieved with clients)
- Content that shares why you’re the best
- Detailed pricing plans
- Information about the way your business operates/is structured
You thought we were done? Well, there’s just one last thing. In order to keep your sales cycle running smoothly, you must have “the magic.” The magic trick to all of this is pushing all three stages simultaneously. That means you have different pieces of content that:
- Demonstrate thought leadership
- Solve real world problems
- Push for the hard sell
All the time.
It’s the only way to reach every type of lead that visits your company’s site and interacts with your content. It may sound overwhelming, but consider a professional writing service to support you. This kind of content strategy can have an enormous ROI.
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