Content — whether it’s a blog post or a white paper — is the message about your products and services you want your customers and prospects to receive. Content has a big job to do: It must attract the right visitors to your website, convert them to leads, and nurture prospects through your sales funnel. It may do that by establishing your team as thought leaders or by providing interesting offers.
Given the importance of the message, it may surprise you to learn that creating good content is only partially about the actual content. It’s also about the content strategy and the processes you use to measure results. HubSpot created a content process flow, and it’s a good one to follow. It’s about planning, creating, distributing and analyzing.
The first step is the content plan. According to Hubspot, only 44 percent of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy, which includes these four elements of creating content with a purpose. If you are one of the 56 percent who do not have a content strategy, now is the perfect time to start.
Building out the content plan takes time, but it pays off in the long run. When developing the plan, answer three questions to make sure you are creating great content:
- What is its purpose? Getting more people to your website is different than converting them to leads and both are different from establishing one of your people as a trusted advisor. Knowing the purpose will help you answer the next question.
- What is its format? Content can be a white paper, a video, infographics, slideshare decks or anything else. Some formats are better suited to different audiences and where they are in the sales funnel. If you want to drive traffic to your website, blog posts may be ideal. If you want to establish thought leadership, white papers or slideshare decks may be best.
- What is the topic? According to HubSpot, there are only two things you need to know to come up with great topics: your buyer personas (whom you’re trying to reach) and the buyer’s journey (what content will be most interesting or helpful for them). The best topics are those that your buyers care about at that stage in their journey.
Plug these topics, along with the format, into an editorial calendar. It will help with planning and scheduling to put everything you want to do in one place where you can visualize it. Once you have your editorial calendar set, stick to it. It is easy to let content creation slip. Creating content is necessary, however, for every stage of the buyer’s journey, and creating content with purpose ensures that the journey leads to your door.