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Guest post by Aaron Ross


Content for marketing should be centered around the buying stages of your ideal customer personas.


Marketo uses three buying stages: Early, Middle and Late.


It helps to sort out what kinds of content you need and where you have gaps.


1) Early Stage: “Why?”
These customers are actively learning, but not buying (yet). Why should they care about your category? Why change? Your content should be entertaining and educational whether people buy your stuff or not — don’t make it about you, your product or features. For example, Marketo created content that taught people how to become better marketers.


2) Middle Stage “How?” 
Your audience is starting to do some proactive research into your area to figure out how to implement it. Your content should help educate them on their options and how to deliver promised results. It should help people thinking about a purchase to make better decisions. Marketo created content such as “structured evaluations,” to help marketers learn more about a category and the space, multiple “Definitive Guides” (such as the Definitive Guide To Marketing Automation), and analyst reports.


3) Late Stage “Which?” 
Your prospects are getting ready to buy, deciding “which path do we take?” Now your content should be heavily about you, why you’re better, different, how you can ensure results…including why you are better than the uber-competitor “do nothing.”


Where Marketers Go Wrong:


By creating too much “me me me” content for these Middle Stage buyers, and little or no content for the Early Stage ones.


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