It’s time for a new approach to content marketing – Product-Led Marketing.
Now, you might be thinking – what is product-led marketing? To explain it in simple words, it is content marketing in which the product is placed front and center. It is about identifying the pain points of your target audience and then showing how your product can help in addressing those pain points, without sounding promotional or salesy. It subtly nudges your potential users to try out your product(s) and also helps in establishing trust with the audience.
Product-led content marketing is basically the business equivalent of good storytelling. If you are interested in learning more about this art, this article will tell you everything you need to know. We’ll explain how product-led marketing works and how you can tie in your products with your content without coming off as salesy. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
What is the essence of product-led content?
Many marketers often confuse product-led content with sales copies or product descriptions. This type of content is made specifically to provide more information about your product to the readers. Product-led content, on the other hand, is not a direct sales pitch. With it, you can provide something of value to the readers, while tying in your product with that value. Product-led content marketing involves weaving your product into the narrative of the content to –
- Solve your target audience’s problem.
- Illustrate an important point to your audience.
- Help your audience in accomplishing their goal.
So the main idea with product-led content marketing is to –
1. Highlight a problem that your audience faces.
2. Provide some solutions to that problem.
3. Demonstrate how to implement the solution(s) using your product.
Your audience will be able to better understand how your product can come to their aid.
Benefits of Product-Led Content Marketing
1. It can help you acquire new customers
A mistake that many companies tend to make in content marketing is not tying in their products with the content, for the fear of sounding too salesy. The problem with this approach is that even when the audience is reading their content, they have no idea that you have just the tool they need. This is lost opportunity. Letting your audience discover your product through content increase your chances of conversions.
With product-led content, you can use SEO best practices to make sure your content ranks on Google. In this way, when your target audience seeks out answers to their problems, they’ll be able to come across your content and find that your product offers a solution to their problem. So, you’ll be able to acquire new customers while actually providing value.
2. It can support customer retention
Besides helping you acquire new customers, product-led content marketing is also great for supporting customer retention. Just because your customers have already bought your product does not mean that they are familiar with all its features. They might not be using it to its fullest capability. With educational product-led content like how-to guides and case studies, your existing customers might come across new use cases they didn’t know of before. When they find more value in your product, they are likely to stay longer.
3. Gain a competitive advantage in your industry
The truth is that product-led marketing is still somewhat a well-guarded secret in the world of marketing. Coming out with product-led content can actually put you in an advantageous position, since your competitors would be churning out the same kind of content that everybody else is producing.
So, to sum up, product-led content marketing can be beneficial for –
- Educating your prospective customers on using your product.
- Positioning your product as a useful solution for the problems your customers are facing.
- Improving your customer’s understanding and awareness of the product and its various features to support the acquisition.
- Improving customer retention by educating users on creative ways to use your product.
- Stand apart from the competition.
- Establish your brand authority and make your product more memorable for the readers.
Creating Product-Led Content: A Step-by-Step Guide
Now, it’s time to put the theory of product-led content marketing into practice. Here’s how you can create product-led content –
Step 1: Understand your product’s full range of capabilities
The first step to creating product-led content is developing a better understanding of your product. Your product might have multiple use cases and capabilities, some of which you may not be familiar with yet. You need to understand your product inside out, so that you can create product-led content that meets the various needs of your audience. It’s a good idea to get your marketing and product development teams together here, so that they can discuss the product features in detail.
Step 2: Identify the pain points of your target audience
As we’ve stated before, the main purpose of product-led content marketing is to present your product as a solution to your prospects. So, the next important step is identifying the major pain points of your target audience. One way to find out your audience’s pain points is by asking your existing customers some relevant questions. For instance, if you are offering a SaaS tool that helps them in their marketing efforts, some questions that you can ask are –
- What are your biggest challenges with marketing?
- How are your marketing campaigns performing?
- What are some tools that you’ve tried before? Why did you stop using them?
Questions like these will help you identify the pain points and problems they are facing currently. It’s also a good idea to collect some relevant user insights like –
- When and where your product is being used?
- How are your customers engaging with the product?
- What are the product trends that are resonating the most with your target audience?
Step 3: Define your product to establish its value
Before you get started with creating product-led content, it’s important to define your product. This step is about defining the usefulness and value of your product in relation to your audience’s problems. Through this exercise, you’ll be able to find out new ways to pitch your product as a solution to the audience.
For instance, you found in your audience research that a major pain point for your audience is streamlining internal communication and cross-functional collaboration. Your product might have a feature that helps address this issue, so you can weave a narrative around this feature to present your product as a solution to their problem. To do this, it’s crucial to have a well-rounded definition for this feature. A similar exercise is to be followed with all the relevant features of your product.
Step 4: Creating product-led content
After you’ve identified the audience’s problems and defined your product, it’s time to create product-led content. This step contains further substeps, which are –
Agitating the problem: In the introduction section of the content piece, agitate the audience’s pain points that emerged from your research. It’s important to explain to your audience how their problems are preventing them from achieving their goals. If we continue from the last example, let’s say you’ve identified that many of your customers are having trouble with streamlining internal communication in their business. You can agitate the problem by showing how challenges with communication and collaboration can result in missed deadlines, conflicts, lack of productivity, etc. In this step, you’ll be setting up a narrative so that you can introduce your product as a solution later.
Outlining potential solutions: After reading about their problems, the audience would be interested in learning solutions that can address these specific problems. It is very important to resist the urge to market your product right off the bat here. You need to provide your audience with useful and actionable solutions to their problems that they can try out. This exercise helps in establishing the trust of the audience.
Weave your product into the narrative: After you’ve gained the audience’s trust, you can look for ways to weave your product into the narrative. You can show your audience the various ways your product can help in addressing their pain points. Consider using screenshots, illustrations, videos, and more. You can also show real-life examples in the form of case studies to show how someone else benefited from using your product. This will allow your readers to get a better understanding of your product and its features.
*Don’t forget to use SEO best practices and experiment with product-led content types while creating product-led content.
Step 5: Content promotion
So now that you have crafted a good product-led content piece, it’s time to distribute and promote it on the right channels. This step is crucial for ensuring the success of the marketing campaign. Look for communities, forums, and platforms that would be best for reaching out to your target customers, and get started with content promotion. When you choose the right promotion and distribution channels, you’ll get an opportunity to generate more conversions.
Content marketing is not just about establishing brand authority. An equally important part of it is customer acquisition, which is where product-led content comes in. It is a great way to promote your product naturally while providing something of value to your customers. Now that you are familiar with all the steps you need to take to craft good-quality product-led content, you can leverage this marketing strategy to increase your conversions and grow your sales.