By Robert Pease, Pipeline Performance Practice Lead for Heinz Marketing

Content marketing is a crucial component of any marketing plan but it is frequently misunderstood in terms of its execution and contribution to driving customer acquisition.

Consider this – how else are you going to start a conversation with a prospect? Give them a call and convince them to take a sales pitch meeting with you?

Hardly…

Yes, your product or service is amazing and your sales team very personable but are you speaking the language your prospects need and want to hear?

Spoiler alert: there is rarely instant gratification from content marketing.

It can definitely happen that a prospect reads a blog post, listens to a podcast, attends a webinar, or sees an article about you then calls you and signs a contract but that is the stuff of unicorns and rainbows.

So, why do it all?

Every day you delay investing in and executing a content marketing plan is another day that you are behind in reaching your prospects on their terms vs. yours. Odds are your competitors are already doing it and, if not, you have the opportunity to further differentiate yourself with content marketing.

Yes, it takes an investment of time, resources, and brainpower but without it you are not maximizing all the opportunities to reach your target audience and accelerate your business. It works as long as it is thoughtful and programmatic.

The format and channel are tactical questions. The message and audience are the strategic ones.

Content marketing doesn’t end when a lead is captured and handed off to sales. You must think about content marketing throughout the sales funnel and buying journey.

Map your content to the buying journey. What questions or objections does your sales team frequently face that content could proactively address? Do you have case studies and testimonials available that provide crucial “trust validation” from those who know you and have chosen to do business with you?

Your content should be written to and be in the voice of your target personas. The thing about marketing copy is that is sounds like marketing copy. Create it like your prospect would say it then get laser focused on getting it into their content consumption patterns. If your target personas spend time on social media then use it. If your target personas prefer breakfast seminars then use them. Creating content is just the end of the beginning so stay focused on the execution and distribution of the content you create.

Just make sure you don’t always talk about yourself. Good content about your prospect’s needs and desired outcomes draw the natural conclusion that your product or service is the best to deliver on that promise.

You can learn more about content that converts in our upcoming Modern Marketer’s Workshop. We’ll be digging into building a strategy to drive content that converts, tactics to increase the impact of your content marketing efforts, and ways to measure return on investment.

Click here to learn more and get signed up!