Develop content your buyer might actually scan…

a kind of magic
Image by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via Flickr

There is no shortage of stuff to write as marketers and nearly everyday someone is looking for a new piece, email blast or other “tweak” to content from us as product marketers.  So we either edit, proof or create content daily so it is important we create something which might actually get read.  Research indicates folks have 8 or 9 seconds to grab the buyers attention to keep them reading or get them to click on another web page.

When people are looking to solve problems they are more than likely real busy, just like you, so to get them to read your email, move through your website or to even scan a piece of collateral provided by a sales person is no easy task.

Which takes me back to the 7 Expectations of a Buyer which I’ve been working…. #3 is I don’t want mass communications and generic content.   Even though we probably know this 3rd expectation of buyers intuitively, it’s not what we do.  More often than not, we write to our own personal comfort levels and make sure we feel good about the content – it’s got the right buzzwords, the right images and just the right amount of boxes and arrows to show that we know our stuff.  In fact, we spend so much talking about us, that it’s difficult to get even a couple of sentences in around the needs of the prospect/buyer.

Whether it’s the corporate website, a blog, an email campaign or onsite presentations/demos, buyers want content that allows them to buy your product, but we have spent a good deal of time “optimizing” our CRM implementations over the last decade and processes for OUR needs and we created content which drove the automation.

Yup, we spent the last decade focusing on getting contact information and routing leads automagically which is definitely at odds with content the buyer needs and when the buyer needs that content.   The first attempt at CRM in many companies was to track and automate the sales process.  Another way to look at it was to do everything possible to not have a customer talk to us.

Content as a task.  Asked for, Delivered, Done?!

A equally challenging as developing content for our CRM needs, many of us create a good part of the content we develop as marketers is project based – reactive.  We all get these projects – perhaps you have a web site refresh, a given email campaign or even an all-in re-branding exercise which is lead by a peer or different group all together which need you to complete your tasks by a certain date.

So what do most of us do?   We create/edit/proofread the content as requested and move on to other 75 really urgent items in our inbox.

There are always going to be tasks to do and content which is needed, but finding a way to provide focus for your content is critical.  What is really needed for sales?   Why do some pieces get read and others get tossed/not used by sales?

The main reason for this is the increasing importance of content to how buyers discover you and your products – a search term, a link from a friend or the subject line on the 1 of 400 emails which are unread in their inbox.

Ok, maybe that’s just my inbox….

With this flurry of content available in everyone’s inbox and everything just a Google search away, you can’t see developing your content as check-box tasks which just need to get done, it should be based on a strategy grounded in an understanding of your market’s buyer personas and their expectations.

Curious if your content is interesting or relevant to a buyer?  Here are a couple of tools to check out:

The We We Calculator – An online tool to see if your text is about your products or services or the customer/buyer.

Gooblygook Grader – this is from the folks at Hubspot you created website grader and twitter grader.  This tool analyzes if you’re writing content which is effective.

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  • Reply jon gatrell August 2, 2010 at 6:35 am

    Develop content your buyer might actually scan…

  • Reply Joshua Duncan August 2, 2010 at 6:53 am

    excellent RT @spatially: Develop content your buyer might actually scan…

  • Reply jon gatrell August 2, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Thx josh! "@joshua_d: excellent RT @spatially: Develop content your buyer might actually scan…”

  • Reply Emily August 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    The right content is required for your buyer

  • Reply Emmy August 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    You can't grow your business if you don't know your buyer or what they want to read.

  • Reply Jeremy Epstein August 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    RT @joshua_d: excellent RT @spatially: Develop content your buyer might actually scan…

  • Reply W. Alejandro Polanco August 9, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Attention marketers – Words to learn from "Develop content your buyer might actually scan…" ( )

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    […] probably the same checklist they used at another company. After all it’s just another sales tool […]

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