It takes a lot of time and energy to produce thoughtful, interesting white papers, ebooks, briefs, webinars, blogs, videos, and more to educate buyers and move them through their buyer’s journey. That’s what lead nurturing is all about — providing prospective customers with helpful information that maps to what they've already shown an interest in and where they are at the buying process.
According to IDC, the average sales cycle for a B2B technology purchase can take up to five months and involve up to seven people. 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 and suddenly you need an expansive library of high-quality content at the ready to do lead-nurturing right.
How can you keep up?
One answer is to curate content in addition to creating your own. In an earlier blog post, we explored content curation as a way to reduce content development costs and add credibility. But curating content specifically for lead nurturing requires some additional considerations.
Build a Curated Content Library
Here’s the process we've been using to fill in the gaps in our own content library while continuing the conversation with our own prospective customers.
- Identify gaps. Begin by pinpointing what kind of content you’re looking for. Know your buyer personas and what questions and concerns each role has as it moves from awareness, research, and consideration to decision. Audit your existing content to identify gaps and then document what’s missing.
- 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. Keep in mind that you can leverage content from many sources, but you should steer clear of direct competitors. The last thing you want to do is take one of your leads and channel them to a competitor through a hyperlink. Sure there is a chance that your reader may not reach out to your competitor after reading their content, but who wants to take that chance?
- 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 short cuts — read all the way through to review for quality and accuracy and 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.
- Provide context and add value. Make sure the buyer understands why you are sending them this content. It should support their goals and be appropriate for their stage in the buying process. Explain why you are sending them this article, report, or blog post, and add value by analyzing, summarizing, or commenting on it.
- Mix it up. Send a blend of created and curated content to your leads. If you only use curated content to nurture leads, they will see that you don’t provide any thought leadership or original ideas.
- Keep track. Create unique URLs (such as bitly’s) to track the click-throughs on the content you send. 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 for lead nurturing can help you remain relevant to your prospective buyers as you travel with them on their buyer journey, but the content you choose should always be complementary to 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.
Interested in learning more about how to choose the right content for lead nurturing? Download The Right Content at the Right Time to help evaluate your own content needs and choose material that helps you demonstrate your value to prospective customers.
Image credit: Deborah Fitchett