B2B Content Checklist: The Four “V”s that Power Content Strategy

May 20, 2016 | Norm Schrager
B2B Content Checklist: The Four “V”s that Power Content Strategy

4 Vs of Content - Brainshark Blog

We often talk about what it takes to improve sales productivity in today’s challenging environment. Aligning sales and marketing efforts is a must. Employing a sales enablement solution is compulsory.

But for this conversation, let’s say you’re already there or well on your way. That means you have:

  • content creators targeting personas, industries, and points in the sales cycle
  • a healthy demand generation program, to attract interest via marketing assets
  • a sales enablement technology that tees up the right material for your sales force
  • analytics to better understand your big hits – and your strikeouts
     

Good stuff, you’re well prepared for sales success. However, your content is tanking.

Those marketing assets may contribute to sales wins, but engagement numbers are running low – or lower than you’re expecting. Now’s the time to examine the strategy behind your content development.

I like to develop short checklists to get things right, a famous Atul Gawande concept that I’ve always admired. This checklist’s very short – just 4 points, which I call “The Four ‘V’s" – but it serves as a basic set of content strategy reminders, whether you’re plotting out a series of blog posts or six months’ worth of marketing assets (both are very useful exercises, by the way).

1. Variety

No matter the size of your intended target audience, you can’t spread a wide-enough net if you’re catching only blog readers. Or only video watchers. Or just infographic junkies. The key is to offer enough variety to attract people with different tastes in media consumption. Each of us has natural preferences in this area, more instinctual than anything else. Your audience does too.

Try to deliver a multitude of media. If your resources are lean, come up with different executions from a single original asset – for instance, the information from that research whitepaper can yield a short summary video and an insightful infographic.

2. Volume

No, your content doesn’t need to be loud, not that kind of volume. I’m talking about frequency – also known in business-speak as “cadence.” You need to understand yours when pushing out marketing content intended to drive top-of-the-funnel interest. How often are you blogging? How many YouTube videos will you release this quarter? What’s your publishing schedule for business research briefs?

When it comes to marketing content volume, there are differing opinions on what’s best, and what’s too much. Some say that less is more, but I disagree.

Imagine if other areas of the media took the minimal approach: A niche television network – let’s say HGTV or The Golf Channel – decides to air only three really great TV shows a week. That leaves a ton of exposure and engagement opportunity on the table. Not to mix metaphors, but if you don’t take shots, you can’t score.

If you have content creators in-house, you already have economies of scale on your side. Develop a steady volume of material, see what works, and rethink your balance for the next quarter based on what you learn.

Related Article: 3 Big Reasons Why Your Sales Content Isn't Working

3. Value

This is the simplest tenet of the Four Vs: No matter what you develop, make sure it has value for your audience. Want to create a dynamic configurator that determines which wines the reader is likely to enjoy? Excellent. But there’s also value in a simple tweet or two that summarize a keynote address.

Here’s a great 2-question litmus test you can put to each asset: 1. Will the viewer learn or enjoy something new? 2. Do you feel the viewer is likely to share the content with others?

If the answer to both is ‘no’, the content doesn’t have value. Keep plugging away for a topic, approach, point-of-view or execution that does. Never do content just for content’s sake. Today’s sales forces are trained to deliver value to the buyer at every engagement; marketers and content creators should be held to the same standard.

4. Velocity

Here’s one that never goes over too well with content and creative teams (and I’ve been part of a few): The demand to work faster.

But “velocity” doesn’t mean getting stuff done at lightning speed – more like the right speed. Well-organized content teams will spend the most time creating assets that a) require the most time to execute AND b) have a high potential for viewership and conversion.

There’s no use spending months on a landing page experience that will have a short shelf life. More important, there’s no use spending weeks on an asset that can be developed in days. When you think ahead and get the velocity right, it leads to the first three Vs – in other words, a healthy selection of highly engaging, high-quality content.

Find out how easy Brainshark makes it to create and share engaging, video-based content – fast.

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