Demand generation marketers are heavily investing in content creation. It’s a trend that doesn’t show signs of slowing as these same marketers still struggle to create enough content to meet customers’ informational needs across the buyer’s journey. More critically, they often don’t know what kinds of content they need to invest in.
Take, for example, the following questions a client recently asked us:
- “What content will drive the most leads?”
- “I want offers that are cool and different. What do you think we should create?”
- “I’m not happy with the content we produce—how can we make it better?”
- “What kind of content do we need to support pipeline development?”
All valid questions. After all, marketers are under increased scrutiny to prove they are driving ROI. An unintended consequence of this increased scrutiny is that teams create demand generation content in a vacuum. Driven by product marketing or sales requests, marketers churn out an assortment of self-promotional assets that lack valuable insights or fail to address the concerns of the intended audience.
We don’t advise guessing what content you should create or running the same old play again and again (see: shrunken budgets, eventual termination, etc.). Here are three simple rules that will help you identify the kind of demand generation content that’s worth your investment.
1. Take Stock of What You’ve Got
Before you spend a dime on creating new content, take an inventory. Better yet, conduct a content audit. A quality content audit does the following:
- Shows content gaps in your buyer’s journey
- Identifies audiences your content is or is not targeting
- Monetizes existing assets by measuring their performance
- Highlights opportunities to leverage new formats
Just like the old marketing adage, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” think of this exercise as “Don’t buy more until you know what you’ve bought.”
2. Map the Customer Journey
Once you know what you’re working with, you need to know where your assets add value throughout the buy cycle. This requires understanding the informational needs at each stage of the customer journey. Mapping existing content within these stages illustrates gaps and will help you consider what assets are appropriate to make public and which ones should be gated with a lead generation form.
3. Quit Navel Gazing—Listen to Your Customers
There’s nothing as valuable as hearing from the people you want to reach. Sure, you need to talk to subject matter experts within your organization, but a company that only focuses on what it knows ends up creating company-centric, rather than customer-centric, content.
Listen to your customers and prospects. What do they want? What are their concerns? What keeps them up at night? Then document these insights in a content brief so that any future content creator can review the findings. Remember, don’t just create the shiny object you think you need without consulting the people you think will need it.
While these may sound like simple steps, executing them properly takes time, resources, and expertise. Once completed, these foundational exercises will help you identify content that will drive demand and impact your bottom line.
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