Tailoring Content for Decision Makers

The Content Marketing Institute has just released its latest report B2B Content Marketing:2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America and it makes interesting reading.

The report outlines various stats including a projected increase in marketing budget spend on content marketing and the development of new channels including an appearance for gamification – the new kid on the block.

The part of the report that really interested me however, was the fact that 91% of the respondents said that they tailored their content in some way, with the overwhelming majority (71%) tailoring that content to the profile of the decision maker. First of all – what the heck are the other 9% doing? How is it even possible to write something without tailoring it to your audience, or the stage in the buying cycle or something, anything? What does that kind of content even look like?  But moving on, what does it mean to tailor to the profile of the decision maker?

In essence, what it means is understanding your audience and the purpose of your content. If you know who you’re writing to, and the action you want those people to take, then you’re half way there as a writer. By tailoring your content, you’re setting out to educate and persuade a particular audience and present yourself as a trustworthy educator and adviser to those people.

As a writer, my process would then look like this:

  • Who is making the decision?  – Have a discussion with the client about what customer profiles they have, what they hear from their customers, who they think really holds the power in the purchasing decision.
  • Research their issues – Ask the client for their perspective, check out online forums and groups on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook etc. to see what those people are talking about.
  • Answer their questions – How does the product solve the problems that the audience discusses, or what do we know that could help them with an issue (even if not directly related to a product – it goes to creating a context of problem solving.)
  • Use their language – what jargon do they use, how do they abbreviate things, what are common metaphors or idioms in this community? Always bear in mind the excellent advice of brilliant copywriter, Eugene Schwartz : “One hour a day, read. Read everything in the world except your business. Read junk. Very much junk. Read so that anything that interests you will stick in your memory. Just read, just read, just read… There is your audience. There is the language. There are the words that they use.”

Really, content marketing is about educating so you have to think about what your audience wants to learn or might enjoy learning, or at the very least, needs to learn.  And then you have to give that to them, over and over, in an engaging, entertaining, relevant way.

Well, I never said being a writer was easy….

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