By now, everyone knows they need to invest in content. It’s not a matter of if, now, but when and how. Marketers are transitioning from selling the concept internally in attempts to secure budgets to figuring out how to execute on their plans.
This is proving, for most, to be somewhat challenging. A lot of marketers are struggling to find a place to start and ways to make content engaging and relevant while also scalable. Content is such a big topic, that it is hard to focus on a simple, practical way to make content work for both the business and the customer. Most marketers, then, default to telling their brand stories from their perspective because they can control the output and more easily promote the business across all channels.
The problem is, customers just don’t care about your brand. You might not be as interesting as you think.
“If I want a long boring story with no point to it, I have my life.”
― Jerry Seinfeld
Customers are people (shocking!) and, like you and me, react to what is interesting to them in the moment. And, regardless of whether they are working for a business, buying from a business, or acting on their own behalf as a consumer, they generally act as their emotions lead them.
Whether you recognize it or not, you are in the process of buying something…right now. It could be something complex like software, or simple like a new pair of running shoes, but you are already in the process of buying.*
Not interested in those shoes right now? I bet a review on Facebook could pique your interest. Have you heard about all of those Social Relationship Management tools on the market but don’t know which one is the best? Chances are that infographic on LinkedIn will get you to at least visit a provider’s website. There is always something that you see that shapes a decision to buy.
So, that’s great…here’s another post telling you to consider the buying journey. How does the buyer journey translate into content that doesn’t look like everyone else’s?
Nope! This is much more FUN than that.
Content + the buyer’s journey = FUN!
FUN & FUNny Content
In the EARLY Stages of the buyer journey, you are simply looking to engage with a customer and start to build a relationship. Getting people to emotionally connect, is a matter of getting them to laugh and providing them with something interesting to attract their attention. The funnier, the better. Some examples:
Colorful infographics and comic strips? Bring it!
Short and sweet? I gotta show my friends / co-workers.
A Video??? Where’s the SHARE button?
A datasheet or product page? YAWN. It’s the dating equivalent of someone showing you family pictures from grandmas scrap books on the first date. Eventually she’ll / he’ll be interested. But now? The only thing we’re flirting with is a creepy reputation.
In the MIDDLE Stages of the buyer journey, you can start to focus on what you do. At some point, the rubber has to meet the road and you need to differentiate your message from others in your industry. This is about explaining the fundamentals of your solutions and industry as well as, fundamentally, how you’re different. If your buyer is to this point, they’re probably more likely to want information that takes it to the next level and lets you prove your worth (value).
White Papers? I’m gonna know stuff my boss doesn’t know.
Testimonials? Does anyone believe in this stuff?
Product briefs? Is this solution right for me?
Break out that scrap book big guy…that picture of you taking a bath as a baby is gonna be SOOOO cute.
In the LATE Stages of the buyers journey, content that sells is critical. Anticipating and giving sales the information they need to close the deal is as important as any other kinds of content. Marketing is as involved in the revenue process as sales is and should take responsibility for their role as much as their counterparts.
ROI Calculators? You CAN afford this!
Case Studies? How have others done this?
Engagement rings and wedding bells!
So, remember, the buyer’s journey dictates that type of content you create. You just have to know how to add the right FUN.
What are some examples of FUN content you’ve created?
*The point is, everyone is buying. All the time. Understanding the buyers journey is always going to be step one to figuring out what content you need to create.
For the sake of your attention span as well as the words in this posts, let’s assume all of those complex buyer journeys you can imagine can be boiled down to three stages; Early, Middle, and Late.
And we quickly define the Buyer Stages as:
EARLY: Customer doesn’t know they have a need, are not yet interested in solutions or are peripherally checking “stuff” out during their free time.
MIDDLE: Customer is aware of their need, knows of solutions, and is trying to figure out what is the right solution for them.
LATE: Customer is working on finalizing a purchase decision or, in more complex instances, working with a sales team to progress to and through the contract process.