Content is king. Clichéd but undeniable. Isn’t it?
Not really. It’s not all that royal, if all it does is tell people what they want or need to know without actually doing anything to help them act on it. Not exactly data versus information or theory versus application, but something like.
Now, it was obvious a long time ago that buyers are getting smarter. The role of the consultant is not quite what it was – these days folks do their own research, which many trust more than they trust you. Many in B2B solutioning, for instance, find they are doing more nudging than educating:
“It’s actually like this.”
“I know. So is this.”
“So, your professional opinion? Should I do that?”
“No, because this is better for you. And here’s why.”
“But compared to this and this, doing that…”
Consultants are becoming advisors. And that’s kind of different.
Ditto for content marketing. Quality is still the number one factor as far as it’s concerned: stuff that matters to the reader, and makes a difference. But in the context of the buying process, it’s not all it can be without that one step more. Advising. Guiding.
Imagine you are a personal trainer. You know a lot about your field (and have the experience to go with it). But how much of this, by itself, is useful to the people who hire you? You can teach them about muscle action and cardio and physiological theory, which is good to know… but like lecturing on the chemical compositions of gunpowder at a shooting range.
It’s not really going to help until you actually show them how it fits in with the training, what they have to do to utilize it, and above all, how it helps them achieve what they set out to do when they hired you.
What separates good content from great is covering all the angles, and what they may lead to. Consider: what would it take for the customer to put you’re proposing into play? What issues might arise from those? The more you address these, the more credibility you give your content, and the more value it gains in readers’ eyes.
And, most importantly, the more they ‘get your drift’, as we say. Because the fact is, people don’t look at your content for what you want them to see, but for what they want to see. Simply telling it like it is for the reader to interpret it their own way can be a wasted opportunity at best, an unintentional blunder at worst.
It could, of course, be argued that such an approach is ‘leading on’ the reader into a pigeonhole, and that really good content is meant to be taken on its own merits by different people, but the whole point of content marketing in B2B is to resonate and ultimately convince. You’ll have more trouble accomplishing that if you don’t make it clear what you’re driving at, in every possible way.
So, don’t be a pedant. Know the audience and create content with advisory in mind. A combination of high-quality, educational content and a guiding approach will be not just informative, but insightful to readers. And they’ll agree with you more.
They say every journey begins with a single step. Your customers may be more than capable of taking that step themselves, but it’s better if you point the way. Not everybody’s got a compass. Right? Let us know what you think below.