The Real Value of Content Marketing is Your List, Not the Content

Stop focusing on dumb shit. Don’t be afraid to break things. Don’t be romantic. Don’t take the time to breathe. Don’t aim for perfect. And whatever you do, keep moving. Reread this a few times . . .

–Gary Vaynerchuk

If your content sucks, your brand will start to suck, your media will suck, your ABM results will suck, and unfortunately, some of that suck will rub off on you. Fixing or hopefully avoiding this daisychain of nightmares is one of the hottest topics in B2B. The world is clamoring for answers to the content conundrum, so let’s get to it!


Great Content Truth #1

The real value of content marketing is your list, not the content.

Good content comes and goes. Content, messaging and even branding can change as business priorities shift and evolve. That’s because good creative is simply a means to an end. The end result is a well-educated, trusting buyer who is knowledgeable about your company and enthusiastic about working with you. Content, messaging and branding are really just proxies for relationship building. Getting inside someone’s head. Literally.

You build relationships with the people and accounts on your list. So the content you create must be in service to that relationship. How can you help them buy your complex product? How can you help them see a problem is coming? What can you give them to help them influence the sale internally?


Great Content Truth #2

You must behave like a guide worth following.

It’s a strange thought, right? Behavior? You thought you were in the content business. You are not. You are in the behavior business. Relationships are forged via behavior, not just talk. Your company is either behaving like a brand who wants to make it easy to do business, or you are not. There is no middle ground here because your buyers don’t have the time or desire to think for you. You have a fraction of a second to get their attention and then hold it before it’s off to the next thing. You can ensure that you have their attention when your content is personalized to their needs, cuts through the clutter and grabs them by the hand to help them achieve their goals and solve a problem in their world.


Great Content Truth #3

Guides worth following create beacons for information-starved buyers.

Notice we said create beacons, not content. Beacons are prominent waypoints that help guide buyers safely from point A to point B. When was the last time you created a waypoint to help buyers navigate the sale? ABM requires marketers to stop talking about products and services and help buyers overcome needs all the way to a sale. That’s very different from creating another one-sheet or lengthy whitepaper. Great needs-based content should be leveraged at every stage of the buyer journey to enhance the relevance, the potential customer experience, and ultimately pull better-quality leads through the funnel.

This is where it all comes together. You’ve got your segments. You know what they want. And you know how to reach them. Now it’s time to wow them. Content and creativity are the real drivers of performance B2B. Creating beacons to help individual buyers is mission critical.

Content must focus on THEIR outcome, not YOUR sale. Not to say product content doesn’t have value – it does. But the trick is to put the buyer first. Educate them. Solve their challenges. Make them feel something. When you tell a great story and show them how much better their lives could be, if only they had your widget or thingamajig, they’ll seek out additional product details on their own.


Break Principle #5 and buyers will begin to realize all you care about is making the sale.

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