Content plays a prevalent role in the product marketing process. Not only does it answer key questions your target personas may have about your product, but it also helps you establish trust, build relationships, boost your conversions rates, and generate further leads for future campaigns.
Additionally, well-executed content plays a significant role in helping you build brand awareness, ensures the credibility of your brand remains intact, and solidifies your reputation within an increasingly competitive market. This trio of factors combines to reduce customer churn and help you retain more customers.
Effective content presents itself in a range of guises, and in this article, we’ll discuss:
- What good content looks like
- How to use content to appeal to your personas
- How to create unique content
- How to create appropriate content for your market
- Common mistakes when creating content
- How to create an effective content marketing strategy
- The role of content in go-to-market strategy
- Why is video content important in product marketing?
- How to acquire users through content marketing
Emily Dumas, Content Lead for Product GTM at ZoomInfo joined us on Product Marketing Insider, where she provided indispensable insights and information on the role of content, why it’s important, and much more.
What does good content look like?
Q: What do you think good content looks like? And why is it important and relevant to the world of product marketing?
A: “I guess it depends on what kind of content you're actually working on. Because good content’s subjective - it can be anything from a good blog post to a stronger datasheet.
“I feel like a lot of product marketers focus on technical content, and good content from a holistic point of view, encompassing the technical stuff: the value, and resonating with your prospect. That's what you want to do.
“I think good content comes down to a story; you can't just talk about, ‘These are our features, this is what it does’. Instead, you have to tell a story and be educational - your content has to be easy to consume, especially for new people that are entering such a complicated space.
“Your audience is going to be looking for a solution, but they don't know what they're looking for. If the content you're providing is easy to consume, it'll be much easier for you to build content that resonates with them.
“I also think having some competitive differentiation is important when you’re producing content because no matter what, you have competitors. Whatever you create, someone else is creating something very similar, and you need to make sure that you're leading with that competitive differentiation in your content without directly calling out your competitors.
“I think those are some of the key elements that make good content when it comes to product marketing. But again, there are so many different types of content you're creating like blog posts, pitch decks, datasheets, etc. and good content can vary between the various collateral.”
How to use content to appeal to personas
Q: How can PMMs utilize content and storytelling to reflect the human experience, and should products have one story with one message that motivates buyers? Or should it be a multi-faceted approach that can be incorporated to appeal to target personas?
A: “I actually wrote about this in my last piece for PMA about product messaging and I think what's important is product marketers are coming up with that core narrative. They're providing the rest of the organization with the messaging and the positioning and all of the information they need to take that product and translate that into different types of assets.
“I think the core message always stays the same. Maybe it's not word for word, but the value that you're portraying with your core message should translate well into blog copy, ad copy, social copy, and email copy.
“It’s one core message that's just getting a slight makeover when it goes to a different media. And so I think the one message should be a core message, but again, just tweaking it a little bit to tailor it for the medium that you're using.”
How to create unique content
Q: How can product marketers differentiate their content to stand out and convert more prospects into customers?
A: “Competitive differentiation is so important. It doesn't matter what you're selling, or what industry you're in, everyone has competitors.
“When I worked in competitive intelligence, I would often hear things like, ‘Oh, we don't have competitors, we're just gonna share what our product does, and everyone will come to us’.
“But realistically, you do have competitors, so you need to craft a strong narrative around what your product does. Leading with value is so important and I find that many product marketers will lead with the features because of course, that's important, that's what makes your product the product.
“What is the feature? What can it accomplish? How does it work? But you need to be able to differentiate that from the other players in your market. Telling your brand story through that product marketing messaging is also very important and I think that makes a difference when you're trying to connect with customers or potential customers in your market.”
How to create appropriate content for your market
Q: Content presents itself in a range of guises from blog posts, presentations, digital media, video, and so on. What do you consider to be the most effective medium for a company to use to communicate this brand message?
A: “All of them. I think all mediums are important, but it hinges on a few factors: it depends on what your industry is, where your customers are, and where your prospects are living. For example, it doesn't make sense to invest a lot in Facebook if all of your prospects are on LinkedIn.
“Similarly, it doesn't make a lot of sense to invest in TikTok if none of your prospects are using TikTok. So, you have to find where your customers are and figure out what kind of content they prefer to consume and then invest in that.
“I think all content is equally as important as one another, but as far as reaching your target prospect, piquing their interest, and getting them to convert and providing them with more educational content through the process, you have to meet them where they are.
“That's where understanding your customers and your market comes into play. Because if you're investing in content that nobody's reading, watching, using, or sharing, then you're not using your time effectively. I think all content is important and I will keep saying that forever but you have to meet your customers where they are.”
Common mistakes when creating content
Q: What are some of the most common mistakes you've seen product marketers or professionals in general make when creating content? What advice would you give them to PMMs to help them improve the execution of their content strategy?
A: “There are two things to consider here. One thing that I keep bringing up is that product marketers are geniuses. I love working with PMMs because I'm always learning from them. But when they are creating content, they often do lead with the feature, not the value.
“So I think that’s one common mistake that I see a lot of people making - not even product marketers, any sort of marketers, or anyone creating collateral, sometimes they lead too much with features.
“And they don't lead with building that connection with customers to say, ‘Hey, we understand this is what you're dealing with. And this is what you need. And this is how we can help’ without being like ‘You need feature A and feature B’. I think that's definitely one.
“Another common mistake people make is they use the wrong medium or create the wrong content. If your customers want to read articles, then don't invest in video, or if your customers do want more video, maybe they don't have a lot of time - create snappy videos, one minute, two minutes, something short that walks through everything they would need to know that your product can help them.
“It’s all about understanding your customer and understanding what they need. This can help you craft strong content.”
How to create an effective content marketing strategy
Q: What would you consider to be the quintessential steps that product marketers need to take to create an effective content marketing strategy?
“I think it depends on what the goals are and what kind of content you want to invest in. Content marketing’s often viewed as, ‘Okay, the content marketers are responsible for the blog, they're responsible for ebooks, white papers, stuff like that.’
“But when you think about a holistic content marketing strategy, it does include product content, which is what my team focuses on now, it does include the blog, ebooks, white papers, guides, social media, and podcasts. It all falls under content marketing.
“First, you need to figure out what your goals are. You need to analyze your current content, and you need to figure out what you have, what you don't have, what works, and what doesn't.
“You have to set goals to build on what you currently have, or what you're hoping to get. That doesn't have to be like, ‘we want to get 1000 subscribers’, or ‘we want a million downloads of this ebook’, you have to be realistic and that classic SMART goals approach (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based) can be used when you're creating a content marketing strategy.
“I think it's also important not only to include content for your audience when you're creating a content marketing plan but for your internal customers as well. For me, that's the sales team. That's our onboarding team. It's our marketing team.
“The content that we're creating, we also have to serve to our internal audience. I think when you're building out that content strategy, take into consideration everything from an internal and external point of view so that you can make sure that you're covering all of your bases and serving your entire market.”
The role of content in go-to-market strategy
Q: Where do content and go-to-market cross paths and align with one another? What role does content play in facilitating a successful go-to-market strategy?
A: “I think sometimes content can be an afterthought when you're going to market. Whether you're bringing a completely new product or feature to market, content can sometimes be an afterthought when it needs to be baked into the process from the beginning.
“When you're thinking about bringing content to market, maybe you're a product manager, and you're like, ‘This is what we need, this is going to market, this is the roadmap, etc’. The product marketer will then bring in the messaging, the positioning, the market intel, everything like that. But throughout that, you need to make sure that you're thinking about what content you need.
“Again, you need to consider what content you need to distribute internally and what content you need externally. I think that's important when you're building out your whole GTM strategy because your launch process can be repeatable.
“So whatever it is, make sure that you're building in content at every stage so that for every launch - your current one and future ones - you have the right content you need to fully support as you go to market.”
Why is video content important in product marketing?
All too often, there’s an assumption that content creation ends with blog articles, whitepapers, social media posts, and reports. However, video content is being used on a grand scale, with 86% of businesses using video as a marketing tool, increasing slightly from 85% in 2020.
Sonduren Fanarredha, Director of Product Marketing at Airbase, explained why product marketers need to embrace video marketing and incorporate it into their strategy:
“I think every product marketer needs to think about this because lots of people are consuming video content right now. Two billion people view videos on YouTube every single month; it’s the second most visited site on the internet besides Google, so lots of people get their information and consume that information through video content.
“We've been consuming content via text in the format of articles and blog posts for a long time, but a lot of people find video much more engaging. And it's a great way for your company to connect with your customer.
“When I think about incorporating video in a strategy related to a product launch - or anything else - I think about how we can bring video to all those different channels and how we connect to our customers.
“If it's on a landing page for a certain product, we're gonna have our text, we're gonna have an engaging video to describe the feature functionality and the value proposition to benefit our prospect.
“Alternatively, we may be doing a workshop; maybe it’s a series for our customer base where we bring them in on pre-recorded webinars, to go ahead and engage to make sure we drive adoption and consumption of our products.
“The great thing about video content is you can create a video and splice it up and repackage it in different form factors and use that video to go ahead and drive demand, enable the sales team for outbound activities, and enable your customer success team. So I think video is very malleable, it can be used for lots of different purposes.
“Just like anything, you need to have different mediums of content to stay relevant and engage your audience. If you're only creating written content, i.e. blog posts every day, you're not engaging with a broad list or scope of audience members that like to consume content in different ways
“Personally, my favorite way to consume content is video. A lot of people like the video for an assortment of reasons to consume content - especially B2B buyers.”
Given the nature of the platform, it needn’t come as a surprise that Vitaly Shter, General Manager at Vimeo is also a strong believer in the power of video content. He explained why he believes that video represents the future of marketing:
How to acquire users through content marketing
Content marketing opens up a window of endless possibilities.
Product marketers are spoilt for choice when it comes to the selection of content they can use to generate additional leads and revenue, from landing pages, social ads, PPC, to guest blogs.
Richard King, CEO & Founder at Product Marketing Alliance, explains why you’d be a fool to neglect your content strategy - and offers 18 stellar tips on how to lure in new customers for your company.
How to improve your messaging
The principal aim of producing content is to communicate to your audience in a clear, concise manner.
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📩 Be a pro at drafting, layering, and reviewing your messaging
📩 Understand how to work more effectively with copywriters
📩 Know how to validate your messaging with prospects and customers
📩 Understand message synching and why it matters
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