Content is still king. We keep hearing it, we keep saying it. It forms the basis for almost all PR and marketing campaigns and is one of the most important ingredients to set a brand up for success in terms of building awareness, saliency and generating leads. But there’s a big caveat. To get your business messages across, impress your customers and prospects, and reach your communications objectives, it needs to be the right content.

Getting the basics right isn’t enough

Of course, it needs to start with good content — well written or spoken, cogent, relevant and smart — but that’s no longer enough. With so much content out there, being well scripted isn’t much of a differentiator. Yes, it’s important, and yes there’s a certain skill in doing it, but creating engaging content encapsulates so much more.

In the context of planning for a campaign, the variety of content must reach the right audiences with the right messages through the right channels. It’s about understanding their pain points, the industry they operate in and what they’re trying to achieve as a business.

Not all of this insight comes from desk research; in fact, your communication strategy is doomed to fail if this is your sole method. Instead, a critical part of campaign planning comes from talking to the people who know the audiences best. And that’s the Sales and Marketing professionals.

Different sides, same coin

The rivalry and discontent between the two teams has been well documented in the past — with much of it anecdotal. After all, it’s a better story to write about two groups at loggerheads.  Yet, our own independent research into the collaboration and understanding between Sales and Marketing leaders, ‘A Perfect Match: ABM and ABS’, yielded some contradictory results; 87% of the Sales and Marketing decision-makers we spoke to said they believed they were aligned with their counterparts. Catch the main findings from the research here and download the full report in the link above.

A Perfect Match: ABM & ABS – research by Whiteoaks International from Whiteoaks International

And that’s critical when putting together your content plan as part of an account-based approach to Sales and/or Marketing. Marketing adds value when it comes to the company messaging and the wider industry outlook; Sales on the other hand has the deep insights into customers and prospects in terms of their challenges and requirements. Both outlooks influence your content strategy and help you understand the audiences and personas that are being targeted in the overall campaign.

Down to tactical business

From strategy to tactics, the right content and understanding of personas helps shape the assets you’re creating; articles for thought leadership to educate and demonstrate knowledge; customer success stories for reinforcing proof points; blogs and vlogs to show both thought leadership and personality.

Related: Unleashing the power of buyer personas and account-based marketing

It also helps in determining which assets are better suited to the different stages (and aims) of the campaign journey. Long copy, like whitepapers and eBooks, is great for education and awareness, while shorter copy, such as blogs and social media posts, is ideal for reinforcement and attracting interest.

Don’t settle

Ultimately, having the right content (in terms of messaging, type and length) in place means you can start off your campaign on the right footing. And it’s worth remembering that good (ahem, really great) content doesn’t have to have a short lifecycle. It can be repurposed into other assets, used in different campaigns and can seed complementary social media plans. So while good content is… good, having the right content is even better.

In our recent webinar, ‘Partnering with Sales: A Marketer’s Guide’, I discuss much of this guidance as part of the broader content for marketers designing integrated marketing plans. You can watch the webinar anytime to suit you, here. I hope you find it useful.

Susan Richter, Head of Marketing Communications

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