A recent PMA study found that 93% of PMMs think product positioning and messaging is a product marketer’s number one responsibility. That’s some overwhelming agreement for a job description that varies so much from company to company. But it’s clear why: a product’s positioning and messaging can impact the success of its internal promotion, its launch, and its adoption.
One way to better support your product launches is to make sure your messaging is included in your company’s content. Here are four ways to effectively incorporate product messaging into your content:
- Document and distribute your messaging
- Explore the problems your product solves
- Leverage your buyer personas
- Keep your content marketing leaders up-to-date
But first, let’s talk about why including product messaging is good for content—and good for potential customers.
Why include product messaging in your content?
Content marketing works with lots of different goals, from creating brand awareness at the top of the funnel to generating revenue for the business to building loyalty with existing customers.
Content marketing works towards these different goals by appealing to different stages in the buyer’s journey. And this is by design: 77% of buyers want different content at each stage of the product research process.
When content marketing appeals to buyers in the consideration phase, it makes sense to include product messaging. However, product messaging can be incorporated into content that appeals to multiple stages throughout a buyer’s journey. Let’s talk about how.
Document and distribute your messaging
This is by far the most important tip: In order to ensure that your product messaging is included in the content, you need to document and share that messaging.
Even more though, you need to make sure you’re sharing the messaging in the right format. Asking your writers to reference product pages? Not enough. Telling content marketers to review a product presentation? Not the most helpful. Instead, you need to create a message map for each of your products that is informative, up-to-date, and easily accessible.
There are lots of formats you can use to create and distribute a message map, but a living document like Google Doc works well. Your message map should include:
- A description of the product
- A list of key product features
- A list of key benefits for each feature
- All target buyer personas
- All value propositions for the product
- All taglines for the product
- Any screenshot or images of the product
- Any design guidelines
If that sounds like a lot to you—well, you’re right. But this is work that, as a product marketer, you’re doing anyway. Creating a message map and sharing it is essential for making sure your positioning is included in the content.
Explore the problems your product solves
Identifying and talking through the problems that your offering solves is crucial for product marketers. If that information isn’t included in your messaging document—and, really, even if it is—make sure you’re talking through these details with your content marketing leaders. These problems are a great place to start brainstorms for related content ideas that can incorporate product messaging.
Some of the best ways to brainstorm blog post ideas according to content marketing experts is to start with a problem. This could be a recurring complaint that customer support tosses to content; it could be an industry dilemma that bugs everyone; it could even be a problem that your own marketing team struggles with.
Content that starts with a problem is successful because it presents a goal for the piece, an audience for the final product, and real-life stakes. Take advantage of this formula by suggesting the problems that your product solves for content ideas, and letting your team run with it.
Leverage your buyer personas
Your company’s buyers personas should be well-known to everyone in your marketing team—or, ahem, your company. Make sure you’re using these personas to ground your product messaging and make this copy more accessible and more transferable to other marketing channels.
For instance, while product marketers might use buyer personas to define value propositions and craft messaging that compel these users to buy, content marketers consider these buyer personas as ideal readers. They’ll take their motivations and interests as inspiration for content.
Let’s consider this buyer persona example:
If I were planning content for a software product that marketed to audio professionals like this persona, I would focus on audio education, audio software, and time management. And I might also create content around Tobi’s social motivations, like collaboration and working alone, both with industry-specific tips and more general guides.
To ensure that product messaging appears in your content, make sure it’s grounded in your personas. That way, it’ll be clear where, when, and how to mention your product.
Keep your content marketing leaders up-to-date
When I started working on content strategy, one of the first things I was tasked with was setting up a regular, standing meeting with our product marketing team. The agenda was simple: going over any product updates and reviewing the product roadmap.
In this case, I could use the product roadmap to start assigning broadly related articles early. That way, when the time came for a product release, our blog would already have multiple pieces of content offering more information on a topic, providing opportunities to plug the product, and gaining authority in the rankings.
Keeping your content team in the loop ahead of time—and even way ahead of time—helps you establish your blog posts as educational well before you start promoting, which is a significant influence on the decision to purchase.
Include product messaging throughout the content process
It’s simple to include product messaging in blog posts or whitepapers appealing to buyers in the consideration phase. These readers are looking for solutions, and they already know your brand and its offering. But with these tips, you can start incorporating product messaging into content brainstorming and content planning to help better support product launches—and to help better position your product for readers throughout the buyer’s journey.