1. Understand product-driven growth
  2. Tempting examples of product-driven content marketing
  3. Product-driven content marketing step by step
  4. Summary

We all have them: those SEO articles that bring in a lot of our traffic but never convert.

SEO pros joke about Hubspot's articles like the shrug emoji.

Or how about writing a letter of resignation?

While these articles are in the top 3 and attract thousands of visitors every month, the move to marketing automation software and CRM is likely to be a bad one.

And so with these articles comes a focus on vanity metrics. Yes, even organic traffic can be vanity if the traffic is not qualified.

In this article, let's look at how you can achieve the opposite.

We'll talk about realizing business potential, finding your core content, and how to make your customers' problems and problems the core of your content marketing strategy.

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The advantages of this approach are:

  • Position your tool or software as an irreplaceable solution to your customers' problems.
  • Let potential customers know how to use your tool and what benefits they can expect.
  • Support the acquisition by qualifying prospects, as the parts improve the level of awareness and understanding of the users.
  • Improve retention while informing existing users how to use your tool creatively.

Let's talk about generating qualified traffic that is ready to be converted.

Understand product-driven growth

Product-oriented growth means that your company's strategy for finding and converting new leads and customers is focused on your product.

Your growth comes from customers who love (and talk about) your product, not e-book downloads or whitepaper views.

Instead of focusing on the three main funnel stages (top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, bottom of the funnel), focus on the business potential of each marketing activity.

It's an approach that works. Companies known for their product-driven growth strategy include Slack, Dropbox, Typeform, MailChimp and Loom, among others.

Dr. Fio Dossetto defines product-driven content marketing as:

"Content where the product is woven into the narrative to illustrate a point, solve a problem, and / or achieve a goal."

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Product-driven content marketing is at the interface of content marketing, product development and customer success.

Remember: These are still blog posts and pillar pages. It is not a conversion optimized sales page.

In the SEO space, Ahrefs is a company that has become known for product-driven growth and content marketing.

CMO Tim Soulo says:

“We only care about the business potential. In order to evaluate the business potential of each keyword and topic, we have developed a so-called Business Potential Score. And we're only trying to address issues where our product is an almost irreplaceable solution to the problem. "

The three levels of business potential assessment are:

  • Your product is an almost irreplaceable solution to the problem.
  • Your product is helpful, but the problem can be solved without it.
  • Your product is hardly relevant to the problem.

As you might have guessed, the piece "Shrug Emoji" is hardly relevant to Hubspot and the problems it tries to solve.

So let's look at some examples where content marketers got it right.

Tempting examples of product-driven content marketing

The SEO tool Ahrefs has an article on the topic (keyword research). The article explains the process in detail and gives lots of creative ideas on how to find new keywords.

But of course they illustrate the process with their own tool. It's the perfect combination of a helpful article and one of the software's key use cases.

The tool is woven into the narrative very smoothly.

Of course, Ahrefs isn't the only keyword research tool, but they do show how effective you can be at using them.

Using Ahrefs for Keyword Research

Coschedule uses a similar approach targeting the term (annual content calendar) in its article.

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You can create a content calendar in a spreadsheet (and they'll show you how), but they also point out the challenges Coschedule can solve better than a spreadsheet (clutter, different views, ownership, deadlines, to name a few).

Example of a coschedule content marketing

Similarly, Thrive Themes show us (how to create a landing page) using Thrive Themes.

When you're ready to take advantage of product-driven content, follow the step-by-step instructions.

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Product-driven content marketing step by step

The process for creating product-driven content is as follows:

  1. Research problems and problems.
  2. Define your content core.
  3. Assess the business potential of each idea.
  4. Outline the article and weave your product into the narrative.
  5. Choose a call to action.

Let's dive in!

1. Start with the problems and problems

Your product exists because you solve a problem in your target market.

Your customers' buying journey always starts there: your problem.

Most potential customers are aware of the problem.

They know they want to increase employee engagement, share files online without creating duplicate versions, or create a landing page without knowing how to code.

The marketing funnel

At the beginning of the research, they switch from pain / problem-conscious to solution-conscious (internal communication tool, storage of cloud files, WordPress page builder) and finally to product-conscious (Slack, Dropbox, Thrive Themes).

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To get started with product-driven marketing, first consider your customers' problems and issues.

There are several techniques that can help you with this:

  • The SEO classic: Carry out keyword research and determine the search volume as a proxy for interest in the market.
  • Customer-centric: Start with customer interviews and analyze your support tickets to find common problems.

At this stage in the process, every idea is a good one. We want to collect as many content ideas as possible without filtering ourselves too much.

We will refine the ideas in the next few steps.

This week, find 5-10 problem-related content ideas by using one of the techniques.

2. Define your content core

The term "content core" was coined by Garrett Moon from Coschedule in his book 10x Marketing Formula.

The concept focuses on connecting your content ideas to the value propositions of your company and your products.

“Your content core connects the dots between what is important to your customers and what you have to offer them. Notice that I said "what your customers care about", not "what your audience is about". There is a difference. Because if you're really good at generating leads and converting traffic, you need to have a deep understanding of the customers you're already paying for.

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The purpose is to understand this interface between what you do and what you need to talk about, he explained. In his book this is shown in the picture of two overlapping circles below.

What to cover in your content

Write down the characteristics and value propositions of your product.

Now compare your content ideas from step 1 with the suggested values.

Is there a way to naturally incorporate the features and value propositions into the item?

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Make a simple "yes or no" note for each article idea.

3. Assess the business potential of each idea

In this step, we will focus on the articles that you have chosen for your content core.

We'd like to further explore how well this article can support your growth.

Remember the Ahrefs Business Potential Scale?

  • Your product is an almost irreplaceable solution to the problem.
  • Your product is helpful, but the problem can be solved without it.
  • Your product is hardly relevant to the problem.

For each idea, select the importance of your own tool.

By the way, it's not about making this 100% perfect. Of course there will always be marginal cases and this scale is very subjective.

The goal is not to spend too much time picking the right business potential.

Instead, separate those content ideas where your product is irreplaceable from those where you are barely relevant to the problem.

Basically, we refine your content core and prioritize your content calendar.

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Our top priorities are those where your tool is a unique and irreplaceable solution to the problem.

Now add a priority rating to your content ideas. This should take less than five minutes.

4. Sketch the article and weave your product into the narrative

When creating a table of contents for my clients, I add the following information:

  • Focus and supporting keywords.
  • Content type and estimated word count.
  • Heading outline.
  • Recommendations for internal links.
  • The best performing website on page 1 for comparison.

With a product-driven article, you want to focus on how to get your product into the narrative.

This is best done by refining your headings.

Here are some tips:

  • If you need examples, make sure they fit your target audience.
  • When explaining a principle or concept, always add a use case that is relevant to your customers.
  • When creating a step-by-step process, be sure to include screenshots, videos, and examples of how this can be done with your tool.

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Make sure that you do not switch to a pure advertising copy.

This is not your sales page, and the article needs to be search intent and relevant to your audience.

Long-form retail copies aren't what we're looking for here.

You want to create an educational article that is really helpful. Be careful, however, that your tool can do this more easily, faster, or more effectively.

Let the features and value propositions speak for themselves.

Start a table of contents for your article with the highest business potential.

5. Select a call to action

Product-driven content is a great opportunity for inline CTAs (sometimes called native advertising). Who reads a CTA that doesn't appear but is only part of the copy?

Well, the person reading the copy!

Make sure your articles have an inline CTA and a popup or button after the first and last paragraph.

These CTAs should always lead to your product. No, not a white paper, e-book or template.

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Make sure the CTA leads to the feature or product that matches what you were talking about.

In her article on keyword research, Ahrefs referred to the "Keyword Explorer" feature. It would not make sense to send people to a general sales page or the "backlink checker".

A CTA works when it matches the article and the issue just highlighted.

Add a note to your table of contents as to which CTA to use now.

Summary

In short: Product-driven content marketing is your opportunity to support acquisitions, inform potential customers, increase customer loyalty and achieve qualified conversions.

Make your product part of the story and focus on your customers' problems in order to successfully implement product-driven content.

Have fun with the ranking!

More resources:

Photo credit

Image 1: Ahrefs
Photo 2: Coschedule
Photo 4: Coschedule

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