Three Things Outperforming Content Strategists Do Differently
- B2B content strategy is often not consistent, and is rarely aligned to initiatives
- SiriusDecisions’ research points to three things that high-performing content strategists do differently
- High-performing content strategiests are audience specific and realistic, and focus on how content meets audience requirements
B2B content strategy is a lot of things – trendy, cool, important, high-priority, etc. But guess what it’s not: consistent. Today, very few organizations have standardized on a methodology for aligning content to initiatives – though, with the launch of SiriusDecisions’ new content strategy methodology next month, that will change. But for now, most organizations struggle with inconsistent quality and approaches defined by the preferences and insights of key individuals. Emerging from our research on this topic, here are three things high performers do differently:
- They are audience-specific. Most if not all organizations today strive to be audience-centric in most of what they do – claiming that the customer is at the center of their business. But when we come to help organizations build a content strategy, we often find them they are stuck before they start. Someone has told them to build a content strategy with great, interesting, relevant content – but no one has identified the prioritized target audience for that content. If someone comes to you and asks you to build a content strategy for a generic audience, you need to ask them to be more specific. Audience-centricity is just a philosophy. Audience-specificity is a best practice.
- They are realists. The ability of a marketer to authentically identify the psycho-intellectual needs of a target audience (and then deliver against those needs) is the absolute “make or break” moment in the development of a content strategy. Truly excellent content strategy isn’t rooted in what we hope people care about, or what we want them to know about us. It’s rooted in an authentic analysis of what they actually need to know or are concerned about. This is sometimes more painful than carrying on the happy delusion that our audiences crave our brochures at all stages in their decision making process – but, as they say, no pain no gain.
- They focus on the guts. The vast majority of content strategy work I see happening today is totally asset-myopic. Marketers are mapping the buyer’s journey, and then plugging in asset formats against that journey. “First we’ll give them infographics! Then white papers! Then gated white papers!” And so forth. This approach gives us permission to skip another “hard part” of content strategy, which is the true consideration of the “guts” of our content and the way it does or – more often, sadly – does not meet the requirements of the audience. Content strategies that knock it out of the park may be informed by strong expertise in various asset formats and delivery mechanisms, but also deeply consider the qualitative dimensions of the content and whether or not they are truly delivering on both an audience need and an internal objective.
What do you see top performers doing differently in your organization when it comes to aligning content for marketing, sales and product initiatives? Share your thoughts and comments below and join the conversation.