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Tips for Creating Customer-Centric Content

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Joan Boyce

x min read

Aug 26, 2021

This is the second article in a two-part series orginally posted by our friends at s. Last week we discussed how to become a customer-centric marketing organization. This month we delve into creating customer-centric content—the type of information your customers want and need to make informed and confident buying decisions.

Customer-centric content focuses on meeting the needs of your audience and potential customers at each stage of their buying cycle: recognition/awareness, exploration, evaluation, and final decision. The key point is the focus on creating content that addresses your potential customers’ needs as the top priority.

The supplier that is tuned into its customers’ buying cycle and can provide the right content at the right time is the supplier that increases its likelihood of winning business.

Unfortunately, many suppliers and vendors have not yet adopted this customer-centric approach to their content marketing strategy. Content that is too promotional, highlighting products’ key features and benefits, has its place, but it is not early in the buying cycle.

So how do you find the balance between educating your audience and selling to them? When is the right time to send them educational content vs more product-specific content? Here are some tips to help answer these questions.


Audit your library of content

Take a close look at your current content. How much of it is promotional? How much is focused on educating your audience and meeting their needs at the various stages of their buying cycle?

Examine everything. Web pages, datasheets, articles, white papers, eBooks, infographics, videos, webinars, even your e-newsletters.

What content is most popular with your audience? Examine your statistics to determine what web pages get the most views, what gets downloaded the most, what emails get opened, what links get clicked, what webinars hold the attention of your audience.

This audit can serve as the foundation for improving your portfolio of content.

Match your existing content to the buying cycle

In the early stages of the buying cycle, scientists are focused on solving a specific problem that has led them to their search. Effective content for this stage might explain a process, how something works, or how to perform a task. It might compare different approaches to problem-solving.

The most important concept to keep in mind about early-stage content is that you are trying to educate your audience rather than sell to them. Offering this type of valuable information can help burnish your brand and keep you top of mind with your audience as they continue on their buying journey.

Consider different audience personas

You might have only one type of customer, or you might have many. Often there are three types of buyers involved in a significant purchase: the economic buyer, the technical buyer, and the analytic buyer.

The economic buyer is concerned with return on investment. The technical buyer is concerned with products fitting into their company’s current environment. The analytic buyer is usually the end user and is focused on whether the product will do what it says it will do.

A winning strategy is to create content that addresses each of the personas you identify.

Fix and fill

After you conduct a content audit, match your existing content to the buying cycle, and identify your personas, any content gaps should be easy to identify. You can also talk to your salespeople and even your customers to ask them what might be missing or what they wish they had.

Some existing content that is intended for the early-stage buy cycle but comes off as too promotional can be edited to become more educational and solution-focused. That’s easier to do with web pages and digital content than with a printed brochure, so devote your resources where you can.

Other pieces of content you might need to create from scratch, whether it’s an educational article, a short how-to video, or a side-by-side checklist comparison of approaches to solving a problem.

Repurpose content

One endeavor that offers a high return on your effort and investment is to repurpose your best content into different formats.

Different scientists have different preferences in how they want to access and consume content. Some scientists like to read; others prefer to watch. Some want print; others use only digital resources.

If you have a foundational white paper, webinar, or other important and popular piece of content, you can repurpose it for use in other formats and buying cycle stages. For example, a white paper can be segmented into several shorter and focused articles. Or a presentation given at a conference can be turned into a webinar. Repurposing educational content saves time and money, plus helps you maintain consistency of message.

Use the right channels to distribute content

Having the right content is only one aspect you need to consider. You need to get the content into your customers’ hands.

From product directories to email, from webinars to videos, your customers rely on multiple digital channels throughout all phases of their buying journey.

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