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If you already have a content marketing strategy in place for determining what to write about, that's great. (If you don't, stop and read this first.) But the work doesn’t end once you decide what to write about. You’re always going to need more content. And you need an unbiased way to evaluate the quality of that content.

Take a close, critical look at your library of existing content and your plans for new content. Plenty of seemingly sound content marketing strategies get caught in these four traps.

1. Don’t write about what you want the customer to know about you.

Your customers can (and will) research that information on their own before they ever engage with your sales team. Content that is all about you can’t help a customer solve a problem that is entirely about them. Know the difference between writing about what your company does well and writing to help your customers overcome their challenges. For example, if you’re a contract research organization (CRO) who wants to be loud about your global footprint, don’t write about your global footprint. Instead, write about how a pharmaceutical company running a global trial can do X, Y, and Z to be successful with that trial. 

2. Don’t write about what everyone else is writing about.

Of course, if you have a unique and compelling stance on a topic, then it’s fair game. But just because your competitors have a white paper on a hot topic doesn’t mean you need to follow their lead. If you follow the crowd your content will get lost in the noise.

 3. Don’t write about "themes."

Write about pain points instead. A theme is data quality. A pain point is helping a customer understand (and solve) the problems poor data quality has on their business. A theme is payment security. A pain point is helping software companies and resellers monetize new payment security solutions. Writing about themes doesn’t build up your credibility, but providing a solution to the pain caused by that theme does.

4. Don’t write about things that are "interesting" to your customers.

Content about interesting topics might generate a lot of clicks. Your SMEs might love talking extensively about what they’re interested in. But those clicks don't help uncover purchase intent and therefore won’t win you more business. Helping your customers solve their challenges is what helps you win more business.

It will take time and hard work to build a list of customer challenges and relevant industry topics. Once you have that list, decide how you’re best positioned to add unique, educational insight to that topic in a non-promotional way that is different from what your competitors are saying. Then, write about that.

About the author

Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer

You might know me as a writer, coach, content marketer, dog lover, editor, golfer, sales strategist, Diet Coke enthusiast, speaker, Allegheny alum, project manager, feminist, networker, or St. Louis Cardinals fan. 

We will not be great by what we accomplish, but by what we help others accomplish.

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Learning to follow your buyer is a change in mindset

A transition from selling buyers on what you do to helping them accomplish what they do.