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Work Backwards to Create Great Content

The focus with content marketing is increasingly on the delivery channel, be it LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook. Much time is spent developing customer personas and identifying where, online and offline, potential customers go for information.

However, this focus on delivery often means that there is insufficient time spent on creating quality content that can engage an audience and solve potential customer problems.

All-too-often we see campaigns that are too sales-focused and fail to offer sufficient value. In short, the content is a brochure in another form, which fails to deliver its objectives because it has gone straight into conversion mode, bypassing awareness and consideration.

The key to good quality content is to take a problem/solution approach that identifies the ‘hot button’ issues for a customer segment, and then leverages those issues as a reason to prescribe a potential solution.

I like to talk about using a negative to sell a positive. The negative is the customer ‘pain point’, the problem that is keeping them awake at night, giving them grief from their own customers and generally making their life a misery. The positive is the solution that relieves the pain.

This approach is much more empathetic (“we get it and we can help”) and forces you to take an external view, concentrating on the end customer and their concerns, rather than internalising and focusing on yourself and your products (“how many do you want?”).

Below are three examples of the problem/solution in action that we have used with our own clients. Essentially, we have worked backwards from the product to identify the underlying problem that needs fixing.                                                                             

A Word of Warning

This approach can be a little uncomfortable for B2B marketers, particularly when they try to sell it to a sales team who need to launch a new product and have KPIs based upon how many units they can shift. It is more of an attraction strategy that warms up a prospect, gently pushing them down a sales funnel towards conversion.

But, the truth of the matter is that the best sales teams should be ‘solution selling’ anyway, spending their time understanding customer problems and issues, before prescribing an appropriate fix.

The Author: Tom Leatherbarrow is a Director at WPR specialising in B2B PR and marketing. His white paper, “Why Content Marketing Fails” can be requested by emailing