We talked about the guardrails of good content last month, so today we’ll address the architecture of buyer engagement.

I like to follow a proven ideal framework:

  • Objective: Which area of the buying cycle are we influencing?
  • Strategy: From which angle are we most likely to interest readers/viewers?
  • Structure: How do we tell the most compelling story?
  • Style: What is the appropriate voice and tone?

The answer for each varies depending on stages and asset type. Here’s how the framework breaks down:

OBJECTIVE: The Easy Part.

Your objective should align with the buyer’s stage in the journey. For instance, if you create a “master” asset (e.g., a white paper) that addresses an issue, it can help the early-stage buyer understand their problem and structure a solution, but holds little interest for the late-stage buyer. Make sure that your objective is aligned to the mindset and needs of the buyer at the appropriate stage.

STRATEGY: The Hard Part.

Strategy is the unique insight you bring to the buyer to help them see the benefits clearly. This typically incorporates your strengths, or differentiates you from competitors in a way that drives interest. For example, we have a client whose asset will identify the impact algorithms have in projecting outcomes. Complex, yes, but we’ll illustrate it simply throughout the campaign. Make sure the strategy brings the buyer back to your solution’s advantage. NOTE: This isn’t an automatic sale; it just means that when a buyer begins seeking a solution with the benefit your asset highlights, you’ll end up making the considered set.

STRUCTURE: The Logical Content Flow that Ensures Readers Nod ’til the End.

For top sales execs, structure is a natural instinct. They know exactly what to say, and the order in which to say it, to keep a prospect engaged all the way through a presentation or pitch. That’s your goal. Make sure your structure forms a logical argument (for their stage of the buying cycle) that is easily followed.

STYLE: This is Driven by Multiple Variables.

Your style is a combination of elements: your brand’s voice and tone (established in your brand standards), the environment in which it’s delivered, and its optimal graphical (or typographical) representation. Make sure you approach style from the top down. Start with your brand voice/persona for tonal direction, use assets appropriate for the media surrounding it, and design with engagement in mind.

Next month, we’ll discuss research, and how marketers can use it effectively.

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Dan Hansen

Dan Hansen

Senior Partner

Dan Hansen is a Senior Partner with Red House and a 30-year veteran of the marketing industry. In addition to holding a master’s degree in advertising from Syracuse University, he works in a marketing consulting capacity with Red House clients such as McKesson, Elsevier, Equifax, and AT&T.