By Stephanie Tilton published June 10, 2010

5 Disconnects that Can Derail B2B Content Development

There’s plenty of discussion about the lack of alignment between sales and marketing. But less is said about the smaller misalignments that threaten to derail content-development projects – or at the very least, greatly minimize the ultimate impact of content assets such as white papers and eBooks. Here are five I’ve come across.

Topic focus

At the risk of beating a dead horse, too many companies put out content focused on themselves. I’m not sure why it’s hard to understand that a reader’s eyes will glaze over if you go on ad nauseam about your company’s products or services. It’s the equivalent of being stuck at the party listening to the egomaniac talk incessantly about himself. What a turnoff!

It’s basic human nature that we’re interested in those that are interested in us. Roll up those sleeves and develop buyer personas so you can get at the heart of your prospects’ concerns and aspirations. Then you’ll be able to craft content that actually grabs and keeps their attention.

Topic scope

The ideal content asset reflects an intersection between your prospect and customer concerns and your organization’s expertise and knowledge. However, some companies overreach in their attempt to publish interesting content, especially thought-leadership pieces. Make sure there’s clear alignment between what you plan to convey, what you’ve got a firm grasp on, and what will interest your audience.

Content objectives

It’s becoming increasingly important to document the objectives for every piece of content – after all, you don’t want to waste cycles producing content that doesn’t address your organization’s needs, or prospect and customer concerns. Unfortunately, too many marketers still think of content development in a vacuum, focused only on how it ties to a specific marketing campaign. Instead, figure out how the content maps to prospect and customer issues at each stage of the buying cycle, as well as to your sales reps’ needs throughout the sales cycle.

Development process

Part of ensuring that your content hits the spot is to engage the right subject matter experts – whether in-house or external – to contribute to the development. That means the same people should provide initial input, feedback on the outline review, and feedback on each draft.

Corralling people at the last minute to review a content draft is a setup for failure. If these people weren’t involved in initial input or outline approval, they won’t apply proper judgment in determining whether or not the content is meeting its goals.

Development schedule

Developing high-quality content requires an investment in time – and proper planning. If you’re developing content with the goal of adding it to your library of resources, an uncertain finish date might not be an issue. But if your content is needed to support a specific initiative – for example, as part of a product launch, for a Webinar follow-up, or as a trade-show giveaway – you have a hard-and-fast deadline to hit.

Create a project plan with milestones and clear due dates. Hold all participants – the writer, reviewers, and designer – to these dates. This will help ensure that reviewers set aside time to review outlines and drafts, instead of rushing through their evaluation. Plus it will ensure you build in the time needed to get your content laid out and printed.

Have you encountered other misalignments that threaten to derail content development?

Author: Stephanie Tilton

Stephanie Tilton is a content-marketing consultant who helps B2B companies craft content that engages prospects and customers, nurtures leads, and advances the buying cycle. You can follow her on Twitter @StephanieTilton or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B Marketing.

Other posts by Stephanie Tilton

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: 40 Examples That Are Driving Content Marketing Forward FREE!