One of the biggest areas of confusion (or maybe it’s frustration) when it comes to content is how to effectively speak to several targets with a single piece, whether it's a blog post or ebook or video…whatever. Few companies have just a single target audience; most are hoping to attract no fewer than four distinct targets, each with its own set of expectations, challenges, questions, etc. But because they have different needs, you must tailor content directly to each if you want to demonstrate that you understand and can help him or her. That means that if your company has 4 targets, you need 4 versions (or more) of an ebook, for example.
That’s a heck of a lot of work. But we’re going to make it easier by sharing a method that truncates the process of creating valuable, focused content for each of your targets – instead of creating pieces diluted by a “something for everyone” approach.
Let’s say, for the sake of this post, that you make commercial moisture measurement equipment used in the papermaking, food, and plastics industries. In addition to these 3 vertical markets, let’s assume you want to talk to different people within each organization: engineers, operations managers and purchasing managers. Three vertical markets, 3 specific roles: that’s a total of 9 distinct targets.
Here’s how to create an ebook about your XYZ equipment for each:
First, forget about your equipment sales targets (for the moment).
For your ebooks you’ll start by writing a draft—or, at the very least, a detailed outline—of a single piece that would apply to all targets in all markets. That means you’re going to tell your big, overarching story, talking in general terms about capabilities, performance, features and benefits, and how your XYZ piece of equipment compares to competitors in these areas if that’s relevant. Once done, this version becomes the base template from which you develop ebooks specific to each target.
Next, take that base content template and begin creating tailored versions for each target.
Here are the areas of content within that ebook that will differ for each target:
- Overall message. Your primary message should be uniquely meaningful for each target; each has a need distinct from the others that will influence the entire piece. Answer their question “What’s in it for me?” – engineers will want to know about performance, accuracy, skills required to use the equipment, user experience and repeatability of results, while the operations manager and purchasing manager will want to know about the equipment’s impact on productivity, expected life of the equipment, ease of maintenance, cost in use, and ROI
- Who needs what information? Keep in mind as you tailor your ebooks that you’re talking to both influencers and decision makers. While the engineer has a great deal to say about the equipment his or her team uses in the plant, he or she may function as an influencer to the ultimate decision maker, who in this case is likely to be the purchasing manager (who needs to be convinced about the purchase from the engineer and/or plant manager but ultimately makes those decisions). How does that affect your content? You’re going to want to craft the ebook for influencers in a way that helps the influencer convince the decision maker that the purchase of your equipment is a smart one. Influencers are looking for ways to make the “sell” easier to the decision maker, so the versions to influencers should also contain some of what we said were interests of the decision maker, like productivity and ROI
- Images. What you show each of your targets will be different, too. Operations managers will be most interested in images showing how the machine works – is it inline, at line or in lab? How does it integrate with existing equipment? What’s the overall footprint? They’ll also be interested in images that show ease of maintenance and repair. Engineers, on the other hand, will want to see the reports the equipment generates, the dashboard it shares information with, the control panel and other technical aspects of the equipment
- Length. This is a consideration, too. While all your targets are busy and few people have time to read volumes about any equipment no matter how critical to the company’s success, an engineer may have more interest in the details related to your moisture measurement products – the fine print, you could say. The operations and plant managers, on the other hand, are not as interested in the kind of data you’ll need to present to the engineer and will be more focused on proof points that demonstrate the equipment’s effectiveness
Why not just say everything you want to say in one content piece and be done with it? For the very important reason that when you say everything to everyone, you’re not demonstrating that you understand, empathize with and can help solve a target’s unique problems. With their own version in hand, featuring relevant examples and facts, your targets will see that you’re keenly aware of their challenges and have the solutions they’re looking for.