This article was originally published the LinkedIn Marketing Blog.
When it comes to modern content marketing one key challenge is creating content that's relevant for each decision maker, at scale, without killing yourself. You’ve got your work cut out for you! Here's how to tackle the challenge.
One goal, many personalities
Understanding your buyer—how she thinks, her purchasing preferences, where she chooses to communicate and how—affects not only the type of content you create and share, but where and how you share it. As a marketer, it’s your job to have a strong grasp of each audience segment and be able to personalise the messaging for each. When you consider that most enterprise-level companies employ not one buyer, but an entire committee, it’s easy to see how difficult it can be to reach them all in the appropriate way. Research from CEB in 2017 found the number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.
Each professional on a buying committee comes with a different background—and if recent data has anything to say about it—different generations, who think and work differently. More than 80% of buying committees include at least one millennial employee, according to one recent study. And one in four millennial buyers don’t reach out to a brand until they know exactly what they want. In order to connect with each one, you have to understand their specific role and personal preferences. Buying committees are typically made up of a primary decision maker, a project manager, influencers and researchers.
Thankfully, we have digital tools to simplify and organise the process. But simplifying doesn’t translate to connecting. How can we do that in a meaningful, authentic way?
By providing real value to each influencer.
The content connection
When it comes to icebreakers, content is the new martini. Connecting, building trust, establishing thought leadership and adding value can all be done via content. Follow this simple three-step approach to crafting content that caters to the right audience and buyer persona.
- Search. LinkedIn is a vast network of more than 500 million members. Step one, then, is to narrow down your efforts to a manageable list of LinkedIn members to target. Identify and build out the team of decision makers within an organisation via their LinkedIn bios. Discover philanthropic interests, backgrounds, shared connections and more and save your searches so that you’re prepared to reach out at the right time.
- Listen. When potential leads publish a post, comment on or like a post, or contribute to a group discussion, use that knowledge to learn more about them, then send relevant content that answers their question, speaks to their concern, or provides more information about a trending topic. Pay attention to when leads are engaging so that you reach out at the most appropriate time, in the most valuable way according to their preferences and their role within a company.
- Tailor. Customise your content to the appropriate stage along the customer journey. When you have a clear understanding about where a potential buyer is along the customer journey, you can determine the types of content that will be most helpful. Early in the awareness phase, share high-level information that explains available solutions to meet common challenges. In the consideration phase, case studies, reviews, and deep-dive research can help your buyer uncover key details that can help them reach a decision. And once they do make a purchase, focus on building brand loyalty by creating and sharing useful, timely content that can help them succeed in their roles.
The proliferation of buying committees has made connecting with decision makers a challenge, but with the right initial content strategy and using the right digital tools, modern marketers can make valuable first impressions and continue to add value throughout the buyer’s lifecycle.
If you'd like to learn more we'd encourage you to check out the fully updated version of our Ultimate Guide to Content Strategy.