A key to growing your market is reaching the people who influence the buying process. For many years, content marketers have believed that content needs one or more of four attributes to reach these people:
- Being accessible and easy to find.
- Containing interesting facts or anecdotes.
- Being easy to understand.
- Representing an expert view.
Recent research from the CEB Market Insights Leadership Council found these attributes are not statistically significant drivers of content effectiveness.
Content with Impact
So what kind of content does have impact with your influencers? The CEB research reveals that your content must do two things:
- Provide the customer with compelling reasons to take action.
- Teach customers something new about their business needs and challenges.
We think actionable content actually has a mixture of all of the attributes listed. It does need to be accessible, easy to digest and understand. And it needs to represent an expert view (which establishes your position as a trusted advisor). But we agree that to get the influencers to act, the content must present a compelling reason to do things differently than they are today and educate them about industry trends.
That is where market research comes in. Thought leadership research explores the issues and challenges your customers face, as well as industry trends. With solid data in hand, you can provide a compelling argument for why they should be doing something differently, and you can educate them about what is happening among their peers.
As you plan your content marketing strategy for 2016, consider ways you can develop meaningful materials that will truly reach your audience. For some ideas, learn about how these Market Connections customers have used thought leadership research to influence their markets: