A few weeks ago, I wrote about How to Tell a Better Story. My goal was to help you be less snooze-fest with your corporate stories.
I still get the question, “what should we talk about?” We sell catalytic converters, photocopy machines, paint for transformer boxes. We don’t have epic stories.
The following is a modified version of a post I wrote for Vocus blog.
What does it mean to be relevant and awesome and epic? And is it helping you achieve your business goals?
Heineken launched Departure Roulette this month. They invited people at JFK airport to ditch their travel plans at the last minute and push the red button to fly where ever the board tells them to. If you haven’t seen the video, you might want to check it out. It has all the ingredients of a good story. It made me smile. It gave me chills. It made an emotional connection.
I’d call it epic. But does it sell beer? That remains to be seen. Does it raise brand awareness? Sure.
More than likely, you need your content to do more than raise brand awareness. It has to drive business and tie back to your sales goals.
By gearing your content strategy around solving your customers’ and prospects’ obstacles, questions, and problems, you gain your ground on relevancy.
Let’s get more specific with four content types that drive leads.
1: Solve problems.
You are in business to solve a problem in the marketplace. Your audiences have different questions and issues at different stages of the sales funnel. They are turning to Google with those questions.
Create a matrix with your various buyer personas across the top and buying stages on the left. Brainstorm with the team from sales and marketing, to service and product development. Create an exhaustive list of all the issues and questions that arise. Each of those becomes content ideas.
2: Share customer stories.
How have you successfully solved others’ problems? Have you made their lives better in one way or another? Those make great stories and there are many ways to present them.
Conduct interviews, request video or written submissions and repurpose the stories on your owned assets or as part of your media and blogger outreach.
3: How much does it cost?
This is Marcus Sheridan’s stake in the ground. One of the first things your prospects want to know is how much it costs. For some businesses, it depends. Many of these businesses make people call a number. But your prospects don’t want to call because they are worried they will get hounded by an aggressive sales person. So they go elsewhere until they find their answer. And you risk losing that business. Including pricing is a huge opportunity and could be the number one driver of leads for your business. Provide price ranges and explain how the pricing is determined. Provide enough information to screen the prospect based on budget. It will not only save your sales team time, but will make prospects more than likely to pick up the phone to call and get a more specific quote. And I know. I don’t do that – but I do include a page on my retainer vs. hourly. Do as I say, not as I do.
4: Address the tough topics.
Is there a perception or myth about your business or industry that exists which might be hurting your business? If a prospect is concerned about an issue – faulty brakes, unreliable service, more expensive than the competition; you can bet they are researching the issue. Rather than ignoring the issue, provide content on your site that directly addresses these topics and share your side of the story. When your prospect looks it up, they’ll come direct to you for the answers.
5: Conduct an industry study.
This is a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader while providing helpful content to your audience. Conduct a survey about topic of interest in your industry and share the results in a white paper to current customers, prospects, and media.
Epic might be good for building brand awareness but being helpful and informative is going to pay the bills. What would you add to the list?