The average sales cycle for a B2B technology purchase can take up to five months and involve up to seven people—or more. Consider that each of these roles can map to a different buyer persona with its own lead-nurturing track and that, according to IDG, IT decision-makers download an average of nine pieces of content during their purchasing process. That’s a lot of high-quality content needed to do lead nurturing right.
When you look at your buyer persona content map and see 100 ideas stretching to the horizon, the tough choices begin. You probably have budget for only 20, or just a handful. You can repurpose existing content to fill in the gaps—or you can curate third-party content.
Curating isn’t stealing; in fact, it’s turned into an honored and respected social practice (and even job title). Here are some best practices to get you going:
Identify gaps. Begin by pinpointing what kind of content you’re looking for. Which buyer persona are you trying to reach, and at what stage in the buying process?
Find the right content. Put together a list of potential content sources. This could include—but is not limited to—analysts, journalists, researchers, and subject matter experts. Use hashtags to identify which topics are driving the most conversations for your target audience. Keep in mind that you can leverage content from many sources, but you should steer clear of material from direct competitors. The last thing you want to do is channel one of your leads to a competitor through a hyperlink.
Review it thoroughly. The content you pick should validate your company’s point of view and support the products or services you offer. Don’t take any shortcuts—read all the way through to review for quality and accuracy and to make sure that the concepts are current. A good rule of thumb is to avoid content that is older than six months, unless it provides data that has not changed or universal truths that still resonate.
Mix it up. Use a blend of created and curated content. If you use only curated content to nurture leads, your prospects will think you lack thought leadership or originality.
Keep track. Create unique URLs (such as bitly links) to track click-through on the content you use. Use the click-through data to compare the performance of created content to curated content, and to gain insight on the subjects, titles, and formats that readers find useful.
Using curated content can help you remain relevant to your prospective buyers as you travel with them on their buying journey, but the content you choose should always complement your own content assets. One good way to look at it is that curated content can help provide credibility to your firm and highlight industry best practices, while owned content should highlight your thought leadership and showcase your ability to serve your buyers.
This is an excerpt from The Modern Guide to B2B Marketing. Download it now to get more recommendations about how to be a better B2B content marketer.