For content to successfully engage and convert B2B buyers, it must tell the entire story of a company. Only then will content connect with buyers in all the ways they need to be throughout their long buying journey. But there are multiple layers to effectively telling the entire story of a company, and that’s why B2B marketers must leverage multiple classes of content.

5classesIn fact, there are five essential content classes, and employing them altogether is the most successful way to tell the full story. Think of these content classes as a pyramid with five layers moving from the base to the tip. Each content class in the pyramid is defined by its purpose, or the specific effect on the buyer that it is aiming to achieve. Defining content classes by purpose will help ensure you’re engaging the buyer on all levels, which will ultimately keep them moving through the buying cycle and on to conversion. The pyramid, therefore, acts as a framework for content with a purpose.

  • At the base of the pyramid is content class #1, Informational, and its purpose is to build confidence and knowledge in your product. Informational content highlights the facts and figures of a company and its offerings and includes data sheets, product pages, and press releases. It helps your buyer understand how your product fits their needs, how it works, and how it resolves their problems, resulting in “You’re product is great.”
  • Content class #2 is Contextual, and its purpose is to build confidence in your company and its position in your industry. Contextual content highlights best practices and market insights and includes blogs, whitepapers, webinars, and contributed articles. It proves to your buyer that your company is the industry expert and that they can trust you for the best innovations and advice, resulting in “You’re company is great.”
  • Moving up the pyramid is content class #3, Emotional, and its purpose is to create feelings of goodwill and affinity in your buyer. Emotional content highlights anecdotes of everyday life that people can relate to and includes images, videos, and blogs. It causes buyers to connect with and feel good about the company, resulting in “I feel connected.”
  • Content class #4 is Motivational, and its purpose is to incite your audience into taking a desired action. Motivational content highlights stories of courage to pursue the new and take on big challenges and includes case studies, research reports, and industry stories. It propels buyers into motion by showing them the impact they can make, resulting in “I am going to take action.”
  • At the tip of the pyramid is content class #5, Inspirational, and its purpose is to influence your buyer’s beliefs on what is possible. Inspirational content highlights novel perspectives and stories of visions, changes how we think, and includes videos, blogs, and microsites. It drives the buyer to think beyond their direct role to how they can bring significantly larger benefits to their company and customers as a whole, resulting in “I am going to change the world.”

Especially in the B2B world where long buying cycles mean that the role of content is stretched over a wide length of time, it’s absolutely essential for marketers to employ all five classes of content, each of which has its own specific purpose, or desired effect on your buyer.

Read part two of this blog, Content Purpose in the Buyer’s Journey.

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Originally publishing in the Content Marketing Institute blog.