What Not To Wear: Styling Advice For Your Content
You would never wear a bikini to a corporate job interview. You’d definitely think twice before donning a three-piece suit to shoot some hoops. And you’d be caught dead before you’d ever, EVER wear a white dress to your best friend’s wedding (unless it was the Pinterest bridesmaid’s dress trend du jour, of course).
It looks just as tacky when your content doesn’t match your buyer’s journey. Demo video after the first click? Throwing up a form on a link from social? Come on! You know you need to look better than that in front of your customers.
Even if your side hustle isn’t fashion blogging, like mine, you intuitively know which pieces in your wardrobe are appropriate for which social situations (and which ones aren’t). So why do most B2B marketers have such a hard time delivering the right content to the right person at the right time?
The biggest mistake is treating all content equal – or at least all content by type or distribution channel. A blog is a blog is a blog, right? No way. Like your wardrobe, each piece of content in your resource center has a purpose. Some pieces are more versatile than others, but they aren’t completely interchangeable in every situation.
As I’ve written before, content and fashion are one in the same. If you apply a little style thinking to content, you’re on your way to some seriously fashionable results at every stage of the funnel.
What Not To Wear: Your Content Style Guide
1. Get noticed: The vibrant, vivacious ensemble
Bright colors, bold prints, interesting textures, and fabrics that move.
Now this is how you make an entrance! People can’t help but stare – it’s just human nature. In The Attention Economy, where the average attention span of your buyers is only 8.25 seconds, big and bold is exactly what you need to get noticed.
This is where your short, easy-to-consume content comes in. The more emotional the better. Tease your audience with a juicy little taste, then lead them to something with a bit more substance at the top of the funnel. Maybe it’s a well-designed infographic with a clickbait headline or a short explainer video with a cliffhanger ending. Whatever the format, the goal should be to cut through the noise and get your buyer’s attention so you can help accelerate them through the buying process.
2. Establish trust: The sophisticated suit
Sharp lines on tailored fabric in classic colors.
While trust in white collar professions like lawyers, sales representatives, and executives continues to decline, there’s still something powerful about bespoke pieces that look like they were designed and made to fit you. Nothing looks sloppier than sending an executive content that was created for someone more junior, or firing off content to the wrong industry or vertical.
It’s impossible to completely customize every piece of content for every potential customer, but the content you send each person and each account should signal to them that you have what they’re looking for because you’ve targeted them with the right content for the right persona in the right industry. Even better: “Designer” content from well-known analysts and influencers that lends third-party credibility to your brand.
3. Roll up your sleeves: Ready to ‘werk’ wear
Simple, casual separates that you don’t mind getting a little dirty.
Just because you’re doing some heavy lifting doesn’t mean you can’t look good. Pull-on layers in durable fabrics will keep you cool, comfortable, and cute so you’re ready to get down to business. At this point, you should also be layering your prospects with useful mid-funnel content, such as how-to articles, templates, maturity models, and strategy guides.
In the fashion media world, we call this “service content”. It serves two purposes: To help your potential customers win at life, and to prove you and your colleagues know your stuff. You’re not just a software or service provider – you’re the experts in your space.
4. Seal the deal: Show off your best assets
Revealing numbers that leave nothing to the imagination.
Now, there’s no point in playing coy. You’re ready to cut to the chase and seal the deal, which is why you need something sexy that will show off all of your best features. It’s time to put your product marketing, competitive analysis, and customer success stories on full display at the bottom of the funnel. A little forward, I know, but they’re ready for it.
Like your wardrobe, your content library is always changing as your content team is adding, recycling, and retiring pieces of content. These four scenarios should get you started, but don’t stop there! As you learn more about how people engage with your content and campaigns, mix and match to get the best results.