The Journey into Content Marketing

By Doug Rock  |  March 9, 2016

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Doug Rock is the publisher MSP TechMedia and MSPC’s Director of Strategic Growth, Business & Technology. Here, Doug explores getting started with content marketing basics of aligning content to the buyer’s journey.

If you’re like me, you wouldn’t shed a tear if the term “buyer’s journey” ventured onto an unmarked trail and miraculously disappeared for a day or three. But that’s not happening.

No, the “buyer’s journey” isn’t about to leave the grid. It’s incessantly analyzed, deconstructed and recalculated. Recently, the amount of time buyers spend on their journey before contacting a supplier has come under scrutiny. Some sources report 57 percent of the buyer’s journey is dedicated to product research. Some say it’s less. Others maintain it’s more.

Do these debated fluctuations in percentages really matter? Few of us would argue that the vast majority of buyers engage multiple channels to perform in-depth and inexhaustible research on products and services they are interested in purchasing. How much time they spend on research depends on the buyer, the market, the product, the demand and the price.

Understandably, the increasing amount of time (whatever percentage) buyers spend on research has raised concerns among sales professionals. However, this evolving buyer behavior doesn’t diminish the importance of your sales staff. Delivering the appropriate message to the buyer remains critical, whether they are actively (through a sales call) or passively (through a website) engaged.

That said, there’s no question buyers discover and evaluate the value of your products and services by consuming content found on myriad websites and social channels, including your own. The question is, what type of content are they finding?

An Editorial Approach to Content Marketing

When first embarking on their browser-based journey, buyers are on a quest to discover solutions to the challenges that plague them. From the very onset, the buyer is focused on not succumbing to the worst-case scenario, which, by the way, isn’t failing to purchase a new product or service. The worst-case scenario for the buyer is investing invaluable resources (time and money) into a relationship with a supplier whose product or service fails to address their persistent challenge.

To avoid this consequence, buyers aggressively seek objective analysis in an effort to pinpoint a solution to address what they perceive to be their unique pain point(s). Generally, buyers identify multiple suppliers who claim to offer the solution they seek. The buyer then must decide which supplier is the best “fit” for his or her organization, a decision that invariably involves price, but often starts and ends with trust.

Content posted on the supplier’s website must deliver on all of these points. At MSPC, we believe an editorial approach to content marketing best serves our clients, their customers and their prospects.

Our company’s heritage is rooted in magazine publishing; however, we also have decades of experience as a content marketing agency. Today, we work with a diverse set of clients. The content teams assigned to these various accounts include subject matter experts from a variety of content-related disciplines, but those teams are always staffed with writers and editors, regardless of client size or industry.

An editorial approach to content marketing is informative. The objective of the content is to showcase the expertise of the seller and accurately and adequately differentiate their solutions from the competition. Ideally, through that informational exchange, trust with the buyer is established. Once trust is accepted, credibility can follow.

Although establishing that type of relationship between buyer and supplier doesn’t guarantee a transaction or sale, it does place the relationship between buyer and supplier on a path toward that possibility. And that’s a journey we’d all like to keep on the grid.

Contact us to learn how an effective content marketing approach can assist in the buyer journey of your customers and prospects.

Read next: Content Marketing vs. Advertising: What’s the Difference, Again?

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