To succeed, you need to have a goal. Is your goal to get companies to buy your product or service? Then you need to provide them with information that will help them do so. Information that has a substantial impact in their decision-making might be called ‘killer content’. But what makes it ‘killer’?
In our recent posts asking whether your content is missing your mark, we looked at how companies aren’t always providing information that will resonate with the C-suite and with B2B buying committees, and how to fix that. Those posts, especially the first one, were inspired by the excellent talk James Harris, of the UK’s Seraph Science, gave at a recent Marketing Profs virtual conference. That talk entitled “How customer insight fuels killer content” also inspired these thoughts.
There is no accepted definition of ‘killer content’ according to James, but he offered the following. To be classed as ‘killer’, the information you put out needs to be valuable to your audience of decision-makers (i.e. the C-suite). And James’s C-suite customers have defined ‘valuable’ as credible, factual, and providing insight, where:
- Credible = referencing third parties, not just your own – obviously biased – opinion
- Factual = based on actual research
- Insight = adding something new that hasn’t already been said before
Below, we take a look at how you can make the information your company puts out valuable.
Quote for credibility
We’re all familiar with the power of someone else speaking up for us. From Michael Jordan to Angelina Jolie, celebrity endorsement shows us the impact a third party can have on everything from sales of sports shoes to awareness of the plight of refugees. When those third parties can be trusted because of their reputation, the effect is multiplied.
In these examples, Michael Jordan’s track record as a great basketball player, and Angelina Jolie’s personal dedication to the cause of displaced persons lent greater weight to the projects they were promoting. But, obviously, you can’t get celebrities to support what you have to say. Or can you?
Let’s go back to the example of “improving customer experience” we used in previous posts. Here are some relevant celebrity quotes:
- "Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves." – Steve Jobs, Founder and CEO – Apple (Thanks to Forbes.com)
- “If there’s one reason we have done better than any of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word of mouth is so very, very powerful.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO – Amazon (Thanks to Inc.com)
- "The customer experience is the next competitive battleground." – Jerry Gregoire, Former CIO – Dell Computers (Thanks to Fast Company)
When industry influencers say something, executives take note. But they’re also interested in what their peers have to say. Testimonials from your customers, especially when they’re companies of substantial repute, provide backing to the ideas you’re putting forward.
Systematize for facts
When the Internet was young, it was sometimes hard to find research to back up the image you were painting of the future. And it was always expensive. Even huge multinationals would prefer to use slightly older market figures to save some money.
Research and analysis is much easier to find in today’s information-overload world. We don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a complete report which might only provide us with a couple of relevant figures. Business journalists kindly summarize reports for us, quoting salient points and showing us relevant graphs. Academic research is also often available for free on line, and can be particularly useful in an emerging market.
Taking the “improving customer experience” example again, here are some facts:
- Only 29% of firms with Voice of the Customer (VoC) in place systematically incorporated insights about customer needs into their decision-making processes, and nearly 75% found their VoC programs ineffective at driving actions, in 2015 – Gartner group report “Customer Experience Is the New Competitive Battlefield” (Thanks to CMO.com)
- 70% of companies were not yet operational in implementing customer experience management in 2015 – Temkin Group Q1 2015 CX Management Survey (Thanks to Temkin Group)
- Eighty-four percent of brands got "OK" scores or worse from their customers in 2015 – Forrester's US Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) (Thanks to Forrester)
But finding the figures we can use can take time. Every day, your management team peruses a ton of information to keep abreast of trends and developments in your industry. Some of that information cites facts and figures your company can use to illustrate and back up what you want to say. You need to make your team into a machine for extracting that information. A simple repository system of quotes and links can make it easier for your marketing people to tag and later locate the information that will help them craft killer content.
Collaborate for insight
Insight is trickier than it might seem. To add something new to the conversation, you need to gain understanding from multiple sources. You need to read between the lines and see what might be implied by the conjunction of several trends.
The good news is you’re a smart person who’s part of a smart team. And, like I said before, each of you is already reading a ton of information every day, and formulating a vision of the market. This is where you, in your key position of influence, need to bring your management team together to agree on one single vision that is your company’s, your brand’s.
This is important. This single vision will become the central point around which you articulate your communications, providing focus, coherency and consistency, and building your reputation. If your team doesn’t come together, your company runs the risk of generating and conveying disparate messages, linked but different, almost the same but not quite, that will evoke a sense of confusion among your audiences.
In the world of “improving customer experience”, your team might have noticed that several experts have been commenting on the lack of action taken on the actionable insights offered by VoC programs. You could decide, for instance, to make it your mission to provide real-life examples of the types of action companies have taken, the insights they based them on, while simultaneously investigating the processes they use to go from one to the other.
Whatever your field, and whatever information you decide to develop, remember that a truly authentic message bears the stamp of the leaders of your company. It is a strategy that either stems directly from them, or has been considered, approved and adopted by them. And it involves the systematic creation of information that is valuable to your customers.
What are your challenges for creating killer content? Let us know in the comments below.
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