My grandmother was not a business woman. She was mostly a mom, a grandmother and a homemaker. She passed away when I was only 16, but I still remember (nearly every day!) some pearl of wisdom she passed along in the form of an old saying or another.
One that I have been thinking about A LOT lately is “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”
It seems like in B2B we are always in a rush. The next trade show, the next product release, the upcoming networking event. And unfortunately, it seems like content is always the last thing on the to-do list for these events. That results in a rush job that stresses everyone out (from the sales person to the print shop) and all that effort frequently ends up getting scrapped after the event because the content was done in a rush and doesn’t quite hold up to scrutiny.
How can you ensure that you always have quality content to back you up when you take your B2B products and services out for a spin? Yep. Grandma had this one covered to: “Plan your work and work your plan.”
You see, content shouldn’t be created for events. It should be created for products and services. It should be as much a part of the creation process as coding, manufacturing and packaging. Making content a part of the process results in better content that connects more effectively with prospects. So how can you work content into your product and service lifecycle?
1. Plan ahead
This can be as simple as having a list of every piece of content needs to be developed to accompany a new product or service launch. Maybe services only need web copy, solution briefs and sales presentations while products require case studies and white papers on top of that, but encoding content requirements is a big step in ensuring your content library stays current.
2. Get it in the workflow
When does content creation need to start? Perhaps not from the very beginning, but certainly once the launch date is set. Be sure to start with high level messaging that gets approved up and down the chain of command – that way you can create individual pieces of content with greater confidence – and fewer review cycles.
3. Refresh often
Product update? Brand re-launch? Time to go through your content with a fine tooth comb to make sure it always represents the latest messaging. Do not, I repeat, do NOT send your sales people out with content they have to qualify.
“Clean as you go along” grandma always said. And this is the one content item that is the most likely to get overlooked. If you just keep stacking up content without keeping track of it and culling it down once in awhile, you will end up with a big mess that no one can navigate. Creating (and sticking to) an iron-clad versioning system and cleaning schedule can help a lot here.
5. Send out content with confidence!
About the author: Kate Headen Waddell is a strategic copywriter specializing in web copy, white papers, case studies, blogging and other B2B marketing tools. You can visit her website at www.smartb2bmarcom.com.