Once you’ve created your positioning and messaging doc, it’s time to create your collateral. When creating a plan for content, consider your target audience and how they primarily consume content. This will take some time looking into your current list of customers and evaluating their buyer and customer journeys. Here are a few things to consider to get you started:
What type of content is most popular as a first touch point?
What type of content is most popular as a means of pushing prospects to Marketing Qualified Lead status (according to your lead scoring program)?
What type of content is most popular as a last touch point before purchase?
The answers to these questions will set you up for your stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 pieces of content to focus on.
Captain obvious statement: Your plan needs to balance the amount of people, time, and budget you have.
A lot of companies vary in their definition of stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 content. Product Marketers influence all stages of content, but may only create specific stages of content depending on how big the team is and the resources that are available.
Let’s review the content stages. Keep in mind that each stage is part of buyer’s journey. The beginning, the middle, or the end of the decision. Remember as a product marketer, you typically live in stages 2-3 content, but I realize that isn’t always the case. Also remember, as part of your strategy, stage 1 feeds to stage 2. And stage 2 feeds to stage 3.
The following section outlines the definitions that I use to define stage 1, 2, and 3 content. You’ll read about varying differences of these definitions. It really doesn’t matter as long as you’re helping solve problems that are based on where the sales prospect is in their buyer’s journey.
Stage 1 content (I have a problem):
This type of content is educational in nature. It teaches about a problem in an industry and generally suggests solutions in the form of action lists, checklists, steps, etc., but not specific products.
This type of content is usually in the form of: checklists, infographic, blog article, white paper, webinar, third party article.
An example for our mock trade show display business would be a white paper about how to leverage marketing automation to get the most out of an event.
When you’re creating stage 1 content, think deeply and write about two things:
What questions do your prospects have? Find this information from online research, interviews, feedback forms, sales teams, and support staff. Here are some example questions:
How much does it cost to do something?
What is the process for purchasing a product?
How can you solve X problem?
What unique data could you talk about that ONLY YOUR business produces?
Product usage statistics
Before you begin your writing, make sure to do keyword research surrounding these topics to ensure your content is evergreen, or lasts with time on search engines.
Stage 1 content typically links to stage 2 content.
Keep in mind that when you create stage 1 content, it’s okay to mention your products or link to them, just don’t push them hard.
Stage 2 content (I have a problem and I’m looking for specific solutions to solve my problem.)
This type of content discusses your products and persuades prospects to purchase your solution. This type of content hammers on the pain points of your target audience and specifically discusses how the features of your product solve the target’s pain points. There are a lot of “so what” benefit statements throughout the document.
The types of content produced to satisfy this stage include: data sheet, brochure, pricing guide, product demo video, product video.
An example for our business would be a product demo video reviewing the key features and benefits of the Wowza display.
Stage 2 content typically links to stage 3 content.
Stage 3 content (I have a problem, I’ve found a solution, and I’m looking for some type of validation that the solution I’ve found is good.)
This type of content focuses on the experiences that your customers have had using your product. How did your specific solution aid your customer in solving their problem?
This type of content is in the form of: co-branded webinars, case studies (pdf, landing page, or video), testimonial statements, product reviews (G2 Crowd, Capterra, Trustpilot).
An example for our business would be a customer case study of how simple the product is to set up.