A content marketer and a product marketer can do really great work together when they make a concerted effort to integrate their specialized talents.
A well-executed joint product/content marketing plan can build more awareness and interest in a product than both counterparts could accomplish without the help of the other. Our product marketer, Geoffrey Gualano, has poked fun at me for throwing around “Teamwork makes the dream work” on Slack (and he probably should because it’s a painfully cheesy line), but it’s very true within this context.
Together, the two marketing counterparts can help target buyers understand their product within the context of what problem it solves.
Identify the Problems Your Product Solves & Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
Content marketing can (and should) impact buyers at every stage of the purchasing journey – starting from when they first become aware of your company/product to when they make the decision to buy. In order for content to be effective at every stage, it needs to be directly relevant to the needs and pain points of your buyers.
One of the biggest challenges in creating effective content is figuring out who you’re creating it for – and this is where product marketing shines. A product marketing team will be able to provide all of the information needed about who the product is for (and why), which will make creating content that resonates a whole lot easier. They’ll be able to provide hyper-targeted personas and information on the journey each persona takes to making a purchase.
Early stage content should not focus on the features of your new product (actually, it shouldn’t even mention your product). Instead, work backward with your product marketing team to understand the exact problem(s) that your product addresses to create content that – not only generates awareness and interest – but positions your company as a trusting resource/expert about the topic and problem at hand.
Identifying these problems will help you build the foundation of your product/content marketing strategy, and content can then be created to tackle these topics to first initiate a buyer to the sales cycle and move them through each stage.
Get Product-Specific Only in Later Stage Content
Early stage content (blogs, whitepapers, etc.) should be optimized for and distributed on channels of discovery. Using the right keyword, hashtag, etc., will make it possible for someone suffering from the problem your solution fixes to find your content – even though they may not know your product exists (yet). This is not where you want to scare them away with a sales pitch or any product-specific information.
Good, informative and educational content marketing will push buyers to seek that information on their own – but only once you have gained their trust and they are convinced that your company can help them. They’ll request a demo, contact sales, etc.
Content marketers should lean heavily on product marketing, or just hand the baton off, when it comes to creating content for the bottom stages of a buying cycle because this content will directly call out how the product solves the buyer’s problem. This can include product one-pagers, videos and other types of content that can easily convey a product’s features, benefits and use cases.
As a content marketer, I can wholeheartedly attest to how difficult it can be to work in a silo, separately from my counterparts across demand gen, customer, and product – particularly product marketing. They hold all the keys when it comes to product positioning and target personas. The combined effort of ensuring content aligns to the problem-solving capabilities of a product and also fits within the buyer’s purchase journey makes content more impactful and, in turn, performs better in terms of conversions.