Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Creating Content that Attracts Prospects to You

Recently I had a conversation with Chas. Cooper about how important content is to capturing the attention of today's crazy-busy people. Personally, I believe if salespeople don't have quality content for all three stages of their prospect's decision process, they're fighting a tough battle that's hard to win. 

Good content is delicious. It makes your prospects want more. They can't wait to take another bite. Mmmmm good. 

Baby-watermelon
 That's why, when Chas posted the resulting article on his blog, I asked if I could share it with you. Here it is!

Maximizing the Time Value of Content

We all know about the time value of money. Getting money today is worth more than getting money tomorrow. But what happens when we turn the tables and look at the time value of content from the perspective of our prospects and customers?  

Answer: We find out that the further upstream a prospect is in our marketing funnel, the more the prospect places a heavy premium on the value of time. The implications of this lesson for content marketing professionals is profound.

In a recent post on aligning content marketing with your customer lifecycle, you may have noticed that every micro-transaction in a good content marketing plan requires a prospect to make some commitment in time and attention. The customer lifecycle begins with trading companies’ content for prospects’ attention and then gradually transforms into trading companies’ products for customers’ business.

In the early stages of the customer lifecycle, the prospect’s time and attention is the most important asset the company seeks to get from the prospect. This is the stage when the company needs to communicate its brand messages to convince the prospect that the problem the company solves really exists, that the company is uniquely positioned to solve that problem, and that the problem is a high enough priority that it should be solved now.  

All of this education requires the prospect to donate time and attention to the company’s messages. If the company’s content marketing cannot compel the prospect to spend the time and attention to get past the earliest stages in the customer lifecycle, the prospect will never become a paying customer.

At the same time, the early stages of the customer lifecycle are exactly when prospects are least likely to donate their time and attention. They’re already inundated with information overload from countless other companies pushing their messages. 

They don’t know your company from the hundred others barraging them every day. And your company has not yet established any credibility or trust to justify spending any time listening to your marketing messages.  

B2B prospects don’t make impulse buys. They’re not lounging on the couch or in line at the store wondering what to buy. They’re busy people with hectic schedules and they’re only willing to spend time and attention on something that will help them accomplish their missions. Everything else is noise.

So what’s a content marketing professional to do? The whole customer lifecycle depends on getting early-stage prospects to take that first step. A prospect’s time and attention is critical to achieving that goal. But the prospect places the heaviest premium on time and attention at this early stage in the relationship.

I was recently discussing this very dilemma with Jill Konrath, author of the blog Selling to Big Companies and the new book, SNAP Selling, which focuses on the topic of getting your message through to prospects whose scarcest asset is time and attention.  

So I asked Jill for a quick summary (yes, putting her to her own test) of what content marketing folks can do to break through to time-sensitive, early stage prospects. Here’s what she had to say:  

“You’ll speed up sales and convert more customer if you offer a simple message that’s aligned with your prospects’ top priorities, put high priority decision points in front of them in a timely manner, and become the person your prospects can’t live without.”

In case you’re still reading past the hook, she went on to offer more insights into exactly how you can put her advice to good use:

Today’s decision makers have less time than ever.  Their inboxes and smart phones are filled with useless marketing messages. Getting their attention is more challenging than ever. To stand out from all this background noise, pack as much value into every word as you can. 

Keep your message simple so it can be read quickly. Make sure it’s relevant to their top priorities. Once you’ve got their attention, don’t lose it. Make sure you’re always on topic with what matters to them most. That’s the  path to being the one person your prospects can’t live without.”

Although Jill’s advice seems like common sense in many ways, I’d be wealthy beyond all measure if I had a nickel for every time I saw a marketer fail to execute on what Jill is describing. 

Jargon replaces message simplicity. Product-focused marketing content fails to focus on the top priorities of prospects in favor of feature-oriented “show up and throw up” content. And sales reps rarely reach the status of trusted advisor.

So if you’re looking for ways to get early stage prospects to donate their coveted time and attention, I’d recommend listening to Jill’s advice.  She’s nailed the key points right on the head. 

In my own quick summary of her key points:

  • Keep the message short and simple.
  • Focus your content marketing from the point of view of the prospect (not your company or products).
  • Frame your content marketing within the context of solving the prospect’s highest-priority problems.
  • Create content that positions your sales reps as trusted advisors.

About the Author

Chas. Cooper, has over a decade of experience as a product marketing professional for cloud computing and software companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more articles like this, check out his B2B Internet Marketing Strategies blog.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath’s career is defined by her relentless search for fresh sales strategies that actually work in today’s business environment. She loves to work on tough sales challenges, big issues and unsolvable problems. Her first book, Selling to Big Companies, was hailed as an "instant classic." Fortune selected it as a "must read" and it's been an Amazon Top 25 sales book for 4+ years. Her newest book, SNAP Selling, was just released to rave reviews. She also writes a popular blog and publishes a leading newsletter. As an in-demand speaker an annual sales meetings and conferences, Jill helps sellers crack into new accounts, speed up sales cycles and win more business. Her clients include IBM, Microsoft, Hilton, Accenture, 3M and Staples. Her expertise is frequently published in top business media such as ABC News, Success, Inc., WSJ Start-Up Journal, Entrepreneur, New York Times, Business Journal, Selling Power and Sales & Marketing Management.

Latest Stories
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
Data scientists must access high-performance computing resources across a wide-area network. To achieve cloud-based HPC visualization, researchers must transfer datasets and visualization results efficiently. HPC clusters now compute GPU-accelerated visualization in the cloud cluster. To efficiently display results remotely, a high-performance, low-latency protocol transfers the display from the cluster to a remote desktop. Further, tools to easily mount remote datasets and efficiently transfer...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...