The best B2B technology content marketing clients are not necessarily the ones that shower me with cash and stroke my ego.
I like money and praise as much as the next guy, but what I crave most is clients who help me zero in on our immediate problem — figuring out how to put their technology into words and images that help sell it.
Savvy B2B technology leaders understand that content marketing starts with the fundamentals — a well-thought-out strategy and proven tactics to implement it — but doing it right also means giving writers, artists, designers and other content pros the tools we need to produce engaging content that inspires prospects to dig deeper.
Here’s what we need most:
Examples of what real prospects are really saying
This is huge: Give me actual statements salespeople are hearing.
- What are the prospects losing sleep over?
- What’s standing in the way of them getting what they need?
- Is it management, the competition, budget, disruption, lack of C-suite buy-in?
Often a prospect has a direct question in mind, like “How do I integrate my e-commerce platform with my CRM.” And many prospects will type that question into Google verbatim to see if it’s been answered.
If your company, for example, integrates e-commerce platforms with CRM, you can make that question the title of a blog post. Then I can produce a high-quality article explaining the nuts and bolts of e-commerce-CRM integration.
If we’ve been diligent in our SEO research, and we’re answering a question that has not been covered extensively in the past, something cool happens when prospects go googling for a reply. They find your blog post in the search engine returns, and they start thinking of your company as the expert on the topic.
This all flows from knowing precisely what’s on prospects’ minds.
Objections — and how you overcome them
We have to be candid: Not everybody wants what we have.
But a lot of prospects aren’t even aware we can fix the problem that bedevils them. Or they think our stuff is too expensive — maybe they’re right, but give me a chance to change their mind.
So please, dish: Send me a list of their main objections and logical responses to them.
Interviews with your sales team leaders
I have a buddy from childhood who sells high-end decorative concrete paving bricks for architectural projects. He has his products down cold (they’re concrete, after all) but his one regret is that he doesn’t know even more about the chemistry of these bricks. Do you really need to understand this stuff at the molecular level, I’m wondering?
He says it would help. The point is, in B2B tech, a lot of people who rise to sales leadership roles deeply understand how various tools and features can be stitched together in a precise technical solution to a customer’s needs, no matter how idiosyncratic.
And because the sales leader knows from experience what it takes to win prospects, they’re good at answering questions about what the solution, well, solves.
So, put me on the phone with your sales experts who do the best job of telling your product’s story. I can record the call, create a transcript and have written language to draw on when I start a white paper, blog post or ebook.
A concise description of your unique value proposition
This should be evident from your website or any conversation with a member of your sales or marketing team, but it should not be left to chance.
When you’re promoting a product, it’s mandatory to have a simple declarative statement describing how the product helps your clients get out of whatever fix they’re in.
Context. Lots of context.
It can be as simple as a link to a blog post you believe covers the most important points your prospects need to understand. Or it can be a series of ebooks you’ve written in the past, or a bunch of industry reports explaining the challenges every company in your sector faces.
Right now, nobody can shut up about digital transformation. Every B2B tech company with a pulse is selling a digital-transformation solution.
The trick is pointing me to the articles, white papers, videos and other kinds of content that will help me place your digital transformation solution in the context of the entire industry, major sectors, individual niches and your direct competition.
An outline we agree upon
This can go either way: I can do a bunch of research and send you an outline, or you can give me an outline that says “cover these points in this order.”
Either way, we need to be clear in advance what we’re going to write about and what it will look like, structurally, in its finished form.
An outline is a bit like a screenplay — it tells which parts of the story will appear where, but it does not tell the director how to direct the movie.
Getting outlines approved admittedly slows the process down on the front end, but it removes a lot of delays on the back end.
It’s all about streaming what you know into my brain
I can’t possibly know everything your engineers know. I’m not a trained technical writer, so I’m not the guy to write a how-to with step-by-step guidance for stitching a web of productivity apps together with APIs.
But I can figure out what you’ve got that other people need. With the right support on your end, we’ll end up with clients showering you with cash and praise — which is just as it should be.
Bonus: a couple B2B tech blogs posts I’ve written:
Digital Transformation — Peeling Away the Hype to Reach Real Business Value