By Lenox Powell published March 17, 2011

Want Engaging Content? Answer These 3 Questions First

How do you know if your content is hitting the mark? Not only does it need to get you on your prospects’ radar, but it ultimately needs to compel them to engage with you. To keep things simple, I suggest B2B marketers focus on three questions.

Is it relevant?

First and foremost, your content needs to offer information that relates to the needs, concerns and interests of the audience you’re trying to communicate with. This is not the same old song and dance about how fabulous your product, service or company is; how innovative you think you are; or why they’d be nuts to not buy from you.

If you are not relevant, it will be a challenge to get your content on your prospect’s radar.

Here are a few ideas to help make your content more relevant:

  • Interview your target audience and those who frequently come into contact with them–members of the sales team, for example. Review analytics from your web site or blog. What pages get the most hits? What blog posts have been read most?
  • Conduct a poll or initiate a survey on your blog site, newsletter or social media channel (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). This can help you hone in on what information your prospects deem to be worthwhile.

The more relevance your prospects associate to your content, the more likely they are to interact with you. In B2B marketing, often the most relevant content is also the most educational.

This brings us to question number two.

Is it educational?

Educational content helps decision-makers make better decisions, think strategically about how to solve their challenges, and keep abreast of new opportunities to maintain a competitive edge.

For example, if your clients sell products or services to hospitals, you could:

  • Produce a blog post, newsletter or article about how hospitals’ purchasing processes have changed over the years
  • Write an article about how a new hospital budget requirement could help your client make sales more effectively.

Educational content highlights you as a partner who genuinely cares about your clients’ success.

Note that content that’s truly educational in nature is not a thinly-veiled attempt to make a sale. It’s first and foremost about offering useful and helpful information that is relevant to your prospects. When prospects can learn from you, you build trust with them. It’s a win-win for both of you.

So, relevant content often addresses specific needs and concerns of your target audience. Then educational content offers tips, strategies and concepts to help them address those challenges.

But doing this once or twice is not enough. To really contribute value to your prospects, you want to consistently offer relevant and educational content. Not just in the frequency of your blog posts, newsletter publications or Tweets, but also in your messaging.

On to question three…

Is it consistent?

Are you keeping the information your target audience may see on one marketing channel consistent with messaging they may see on another channel?

For example, let’s say a predominant feature of your product is that it’s ergonomic. Consistent messaging might look like this:

  • A blog post about carpal tunnel and the benefits of ergonomically-designed products (in general, not pushing yours specifically)
  • A supporting case study
  • An invite to a webinar addressing problems surrounding poorly-designed products and equipment and a review of how your ergonomic product could effectively solve those issues.

Content with consistent messaging can increase visits to your online marketing resources (web site, blog, LinkedIn page, etc.) as well as increased downloads of your white papers, brochures and case studies. It’s also more likely to get shared, re-Tweeted or discussed, adding credence to your company and other informational resources you offer.

The more you offer your target audience a consistent stream of relevant, educational information, the more habitual and frequent engagements will become. And the more prospects engage with you, the more opportunities you have to nurture a relationship toward a buying decision.

These are the three questions that I consider most important when evaluating content. Are there others you would add to the list? Share them in the comments below.

Author: Lenox Powell

Lenox Powell is a content marketing strategist helping innovative medical device and technology companies position themselves as thought-leaders and trusted advisors in their industry through relevant, targeted copy. Lenox shares her advanced medical marketing insights in her blog and via her newsletter, The Innovative Marketer. Invite her to connect on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter @LenoxPowell.

Other posts by Lenox Powell

Join Over 200,000 of your Peers!

Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive e-book Get Inspired: 75 (More) Content Marketing Examples FREE!

  • http://www.jeffmolander.com jeff_molander

    Hi, Leonx… While I agree, these are good questions, I’d like to add one.

    #4: Is it designed to create an action?

    Because in the end if it’s not it’s a waste of time in my humble opinion. I think this is an often-overlooked aspect of content marketing. Relevancy (hasn’t that always been necessary?), educational value and consistency (again, isn’t that an old idea?) — all good. But behavioral outcomes that plug into a lead generation system, for instance, are vital.

    I don’t mean to degrade your points. They’re valuable — action-oriented. But want to add my two cents. Thanks for considering.

  • Pingback: Copyblogger Weekly Wrap | Copyblogger()

  • http://www.facebook.com/sherrlyn.borkgrenphotographer Sherrlyn Borkgren-Photographer

    Great ideas. I am giving a photography “Telling the Story” workshop in a few weeks and I’ll be sure and share this infor. It’s great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sherrlyn.borkgrenphotographer Sherrlyn Borkgren-Photographer

    Can someone explain why this quote is written over so many times here? I’m afraid to click any one of those as it looks like spam to me. This is the repeated question…
    “Want Engaging Content? Answer These 3 Questions “

  • http://www.jeffmolander.com jeff_molander

    Hi, Lenox…
    Yes, Ardath is hitting nail squarely on the head. I read her often at Focus.com and hope to quote her on a book I’m finishing up with — that I hope will help marketers & business owners *design* social media to create leads and sales. I refer to the process you’re describing (writing “about not to”) as translating. The book discusses specific next steps marketers can take to prompt behaviors that continually indicate “what matters” to customers — so they can write/produce “about” as you say. Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

  • Pingback: Rapid Blog Sites » Copyblogger Weekly Wrap()

  • Pingback: Copyblogger Weekly Wrap | Boomeroo Web Resources()

  • Pingback: Top Five: Bits, News and Insights We Liked! | | The Advisor Upside()

  • Pingback: Copyblogger Weekly Wrap: Week of March 14, 2011 | Affiliateswizard()

  • Pingback: Copyblogger Weekly Wrap: Week of March 14, 2011 | Affaholic.com()

  • Pingback: Celebrity Blog()