This is the second installment of a five-part blog series that makes up The B2B Content Guide. In this series of blogs, Forrester used existing B2B marketing research and data from our 2021 Content Preferences Survey to provide marketers with best practices for creating content and content strategies.

Know Your Audience: The First Building Block Of A Successful Content Strategy

To meet buyer expectations, your content must provide the information buyers need at every stage of the purchase journey, from awareness and consideration to evaluation and purchase. Achieving this requires a content strategy built on an understanding of buyers and the way content must support their decision-making journeys. Use Forrester’s Buyer Audience Framework to understand:

  • Functional attributes: Job role, common titles, position in the organizational chart, buying center, and firmographics.
  • Emotive attributes: Their key initiatives, challenges, business drivers, buyer needs, and vocabulary.
  • Behavioral attributes: Their preferences on content assets, interactions, and trusted sources.
  • Decisioning attributes: Their role and engagement in the buying process, as well as vendor selection drivers and category perceptions along with questions buyers will likely have throughout their journeys. Ensure your content answers these questions.

Place Your Buyer At The Center Of Your Messaging

Once you map your buyers’ challenges, their purchase journeys, the roles they play in their organizations’ buying groups, and their content needs and preferences along the way, place your buyers at the center of your messaging. Messaging must bridge the gap between your buyers’ needs and your value proposition and mission. Use Forrester’s Messaging Nautilus® model to ensure your messaging:

  • Offers a compelling story to reflect your understanding of the buying groups’ challenges and needs.
  • Highlights why current approaches are not working and helps buyers see the value they can gain by choosing your solution to solve the problem in a different or better way.
  • Provides detailed storylines to deliver insights that individual buyers crave and signals that their needs are important and addressed by your brand.

Anchor Your Content Strategy In Thought Leadership

Thought leadership connects high-level corporate value propositions with audience-level messaging, and it positions your brand as a credible source of knowledge about the future of the industry. This is important for buyers; according to Forrester’s 2021 Content Preferences Survey, 82% think it’s important for vendors to have a unique point of view about the future of their category/market. But thought leadership is much more than showcasing industry knowledge and having a unique point of view. Best-in-class thought leadership formulates big-picture ideas and insightful points of view on the issues that buyers face. Use Forrester’s Thought Leadership Development model to differentiate your thought leadership content (see figure below).