- In the eighth post in Forrester’s 12 days of Christmas blog series, we offer the eight B2B content best practices of “Contentukkah,” the annual holiday commemorating well-written assets
- These best practices cover content focus areas, editorial practices, and content management
- Given the key role content plays in major marketing milestones, organizations must consider how to implement these best practices
This is the eighth in a series of blog posts that provide demand and account-based marketing best practices in honor of the 12 days of Christmas.
In the festive spirit of Hanukkah, we present an imagined B2B holiday “Contentukkah,” also known as the festival of well-written assets. This holiday commemorates the rededication of content governance to content editors, who fight an everyday battle for content quality standards. For each of the eight days of Contentukkah, content editors should gift their stakeholders a best practice that supports the creation of great content.
Here are this year’s eight best practices:
- When it comes to content — whatever your topic — it’s not about you; it’s about your audience. Sure, B2B marketers talk a good game about focusing on their audience and understanding persona needs. But demonstrating that focus in content continues to be a struggle. The explanation we often hear for this is that loud product-centric voices tend to win the battle over what words appear in assets. We encourage content creators to join forces and push back on the company’s tendency to sing the praises of its portfolio when it should be waxing poetic about its audiences’ challenges.
- Eschew B2B jargon and gibberish and write like you’re conversing with the audience. Storytelling is great — but you should be telling those stories in the language (including local language) your audience speaks, even if that means using colloquial expressions.
- Practice modular content reuse, ideally early and often. Identify content modules that provide accurate and meaningful information mapped to your audience. When you have the right thing to say, say it and say it again in the same way, whether on your website or in an e-book, a customer case study, or a white paper. An added bonus: Modular content is a must for personalization, which requires marketers to find, tag, and dynamically combine content components.
- Avoid redundancy at all costs. Although reuse supports the proper use of the right content modules in multiple places, redundancy is the unfortunately common occurrence of creating multiple or duplicate versions of content intended to meet the same need (e.g., competing versions of a technical white paper covering the same topic with slightly different details). This is frequently the result of several content-producing teams failing to sync their content plans and editorial calendars. Cross-functional collaboration is crucial to preventing redundant content creation and optimizing resources and reuse.
- If you think it’s too long, it most assuredly is. Content creators should always aim to use as few words as possible for all content assets, especially given the increasingly short attention span of B2B audiences bombarded with content. Remember that you don’t have to say it just because you think it. You don’t need to include everything you know about a topic in your content. No one but you will miss what you left out!
- Self-edit to ensure your content is consumable. This advice might take you back to freshman English classes, but the approach is sound. First, scan the asset — does it make good use of elements such as white space, images, and subheads to entice the reader to dig in? Next, read the asset from the end to the beginning, paragraph by paragraph. The first time through, you’ll find opportunities to be more succinct. Then, read the asset aloud — there’s no better way to spot and eliminate bombastic sentences and histrionics. I could give you more tips, but I’ve just read this aloud and … well, you know where I’m going.
- The best writers should handle the content supporting your content. Too often, the task of crafting emails, banner ads, and social media text to promote content assets falls to the newest marketers or to a product marketer determined to include a bulleted list of every product feature. The highest-performing content creators should write these treasured bits: the keys that unlock the doors to those valuable assets.
- Implement service-level agreements (SLAs). Even the least mature organizations must at a minimum implement SLAs regarding content review and sign-off. No matter how great a piece of content is, its use may be limited if it isn’t released on time. Plus, organizations can eliminate so many issues with content dissatisfaction and delays if cross-functional teams understand and commit to their roles in reviewing and finalizing content.
Contentukkah is always a cause for celebration, but don’t play a game of chance with your marketing content. Stay tuned for more marketing best practices in the next post of the series!