Marketers and business decision makers agree on one thing: When questions are sought, content can—and should—be the answer.
How content strategy should position itself is another matter. According to a recent study from the Economist Group, three-quarters of business executives said they primarily seek content in the course of researching an idea or issue. Meanwhile, 93 percent of marketers relate their content directly to a product or service.
In other words, executives value originality in content. Marketers, on the other hand, are primarily concerned with sales as the main metric for content success.
Although this seems like a point of disconnect, this difference in viewpoints is actually much more subtle. Both sides see content as an issue-driven campaign, with consumers using it to find solutions. The trick is creating content that appeals to multiple points of view—not just general consumers or high-level executives, but both at the same time.
“While most marketers do indeed connect their content to a product or service they offer (can they be blamed), the full survey results show that they are in fact most focused on ‘connecting with issues our intended audience is already discussing/cares about,'” writes MarketingCharts.com.
Commercial interests must be served, but a personal touch is ultimately the best tool content campaigns have in connecting with all parties. Emotional appeal is a highly persuasive component of any successful marketing campaign, but many digital content efforts take an approach that is too explicitly commercial in nature. The emotional connection with consumers can be lost, and the result is content offering little persuasion.
The most successful content has a populist flair, aligning with widely held outlooks and using emotional resonance to build a relationship with consumers. Even in the B2B world, customers are typically won or lost based on whether the individuals involved make an emotional connection with a brand. One recent study found that when buyers feel this connection, they end up making a purchase 71 percent of the time.
It’s easy to look at those buyers as organizations made up of mechanical moving parts. But the components of each brand are the people that comprise it. Content isn’t speaking directly to the brand—if it were, content strategy wouldn’t lean so heavily on the powers of persuasion. But because buyer battles are won and lost with individual people, the same principles behind connecting with private consumers can be applied.
Relatable content will open doors to conversions, even with B2B customers. When an emotional connection is established, both marketers and executives get the results they want.
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