Long Form Content, Near Term Results
Hi! I’m a specialist in long-form B2B content. Most of my clients are SaaS and marketing companies. Typically, I’m writing blog posts in the range of 1,500 to 5,000 words. I mention this because this is the content that gets the most shares and best rankings online for the industries I work with.When I create content for my clients, I’m highly intentional about what outcome I’m hoping to achieve. I’ve developed my own process for creating my content so I can stay on track and hit on all my criteria and resonate with the audience.
I trust my process because once my content is picked up by Google, it results in high quality traffic that converts. It’s not just a bunch of page views, but it’s actually leading to more signups, opt-ins to free trials, and even sales.
There are five separate steps to my process. Using this process saves me time and also streamlines my overall workflow so I’m not jumping around from place to place on my projects.My five steps are planning, researching, writing, editing, and optimizing. I don’t sit down and do all five steps in one go, each piece requires different creative processes that take time and energy. When I go through this process, I can make sure my pieces deliver solid value to the audience and don’t just run through the motions to fill out the content calendar. I’d rather my clients produce 1 or 2 pieces of content a month that’s thoughtful than 30 pieces that are blips on the radar.
Each step is comprehensive so, for now, I am going to walk you through how I tackle planning for my pieces.
Step 1 is planning, you shouldn’t sit down and just start writing without thinking about the topic and what pain points you’re addressing. I like to place myself in my audience’s shoes so I can picture myself going through their buying process. How familiar are they with your product? Are they educated about your solution or are they still unsure of what options exist in the marketplace? Generally, I divide my audience into three stages – Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
In the Awareness stage, you want to make sure your buyer is aware not just of your product, but the overall offering. Do they know the general timelines to be up and running with your solution? Will they need to hire a new employee for this part of the business? All these are key pieces of awareness they need to be educated on.
When they move to the Consideration stage they are now fairly educated on the process, but they are still unsure which solution will be right for them. Your job at this stage is to highlight the benefits of your solution against your competitors.
In the Decision stage, they are close to making a purchase so the finer details of features and pricing become even more important.
Once you know what stage your audience is in you can begin mapping out questions they’ll be likely to ask at each stage. I then map out those questions onto different pieces of content.
Vague content that’s intended to be one-size-fits-all misses the point of content marketing all together. Each piece I construct has to have a strong WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?); otherwise, there’s no compelling reason for them to spend time on the content.
The content I create isn’t always targeted to the same subgroup within the buyer audience. Some pieces are geared towards managers and others towards salespeople or technicians. By having a thorough plan going into my process, I’m able to become deeply responsive to their respective needs as buyers.
- Consider what stage your audience is at in the buyer’s journey – Awareness, Consideration or Decision.
- Map out what questions each subgroup of buyers would need answers for at each stage.
- Turn these questions into different pieces of content.
- Give each piece a strong WIIFM so it’s worthwhile for the audience to spend time with the content.
Result You Will Achieve
Content marketing that takes buyers needs into account and helps to move prospects along the buyer’s journey.
This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.