One of the reasons to create personas is to develop a tool that guides your content strategy to develop content that they'll find interesting. In fact, I'm not quite sure how B2B marketers without personas actually decide what content to develop. But, from what I've seen, I'm guessing it's based on what they want to talk about, what's hot and happening at their companies, and what new product feature they figure their prospects can't live without.
Hmm. If that's true, then maybe some new research will help dispel the idea that you don't need to know your audience to publish content they'll find relevant.
The latest research by UBM TechWeb asking Tech buyers what they want from content finds:
Content Has a "Use By" Date
- 58% said they wanted content that was timely and current
- 41% said they would only consider content that was less than 1 year old
- Only 11% said they'd consider content more than 18 moths old
So for all of you who are relying on that white paper published in 2010 to do the trick, it's time to produce something fresh. Things change fast. I hear marketers tell me that their industry hasn't changed much in the last couple of years as rationale for relying on dated content, but I'm not buying it. At the very least, update it for new statistics, terminology and references.
Right clicking in a PDF to view document details will tell me in 2 seconds how dated your content is. But worse than that, the message it sends is that your company is out of touch and isn't focused on looking forward and being innovative. When choosing a vendor to partner with, is that who you'd pick?
Content Must Walk the Talk
- 64% said they want facts and figures to support claims
- 65% said they want best practices
Your buyers are no dummies. They're looking for expertise and education and they want to know they're getting it from a credible resource. This means that fluff won't cut it (Yep - 77% of respondents said that).
Making ambiguous claims isn't going to fly, either. Nor is general content that doesn't get to any depth of insight. It's time to really think about the expertise your company brings to the table that your prospects and customers don't have and start sharing it. Incorporate customer scenarios to back up what you say, and/or do your research to provide the backup for your ideas from other trusted resources, such as my reference to this research.
Irrelevant Content Causes Damage
- 86% said that vendor information that doesn't meet their needs has a negative impact
- 79% said that the quality of information received significantly affects whether or not they'll do business with the vendor
I think that pretty much says it.
Creating content just to create content and check the box isn't the answer. So start getting to know your buyers and building content that they'll find valuable. Ignoring what your prospects want is not a viable option.