Inbound Success Playbook

Create Content That Drives Revenue

Create Content that Drives Revenue

"What should we be creating content about?”

This is one of the most common questions we hear as companies begin their journey with inbound. To best answer it, we want to share a story.

After six months of publishing between four and five pieces of content a week that sought to answer the most common questions potential River Pools buyers had, Marcus Sheridan performed a deep-dive analysis of how their content was performing. Specifically, he wanted to see if there were any patterns as to which pieces of content were the highest-performing drivers for their business.

Through his analysis, he found there were five distinct categories of blog article topics that rendered the greatest amount of website traffic, lead conversions, and sales:

  • Pricing and cost
  • Problems
  • Versus and comparisons
  • Reviews
  • Best in class

In our experience, these topics (which we call “The Big 5”) have shown, time and again, to drive the best results for businesses in a way that transcends all industries -- B2B, B2C, nonprofit, and everything in between.

However, there is a paradox that exists with The Big 5.

As buyers, we are obsessed with finding answers to the questions that fall into those five categories, more than any other. But as companies, we often want to completely avoid addressing the topics that fall into those categories, more than any other.

Talking about our problems, pricing, etc., makes us uncomfortable. Your challenge as you work through this playbook is to put aside that discomfort.

In the following steps, we will show you how to effectively address each of The Big 5 topics, but you will only see the results you’re looking for if you fully embrace the role of the teacher, answering any and all questions as honestly and thoroughly as possible.

Step 1: Create a "How Much Does It Cost?" Article

Think about the last time you tried to find the pricing for something -- anything -- online, and you couldn’t find any information on pricing whatsoever. It’s frustrating, right?

Of course, there are very valid reasons why you may think you can’t write about pricing.

Maybe there are a lot of variables that go into the pricing of what you sell. (Particularly if you’re in a service-based business or consulting field.) You might also be worried about tipping your hand to the competition about how much you charge for what you do.

No matter what the reason may be, know this -- the more upfront you are about your pricing, the more likely you are to build trust with your audience.

Putting It Into Action

  • Make a list of all the major products and services you sell. 
  • Next, identify those products and/or services that generate the most revenue for your company.
  • For each, produce at least one blog article and video explaining the factors that dictate cost, what the buyer can expect to see in the industry, where you fall as a company, and so on. 
  • Include "(Pricing/Costs)," "(Cost/Fees)," and so on, at the end of the content title, as appropriate, or "Cost" somewhere in the content title.
  • Publish this content on your website. We also strongly recommend you have a pricing page or tab on your website's homepage. 
  • Start using this content in your sales process. 

Pricing & Cost Article Examples

Learn how we can help you make creating great content easy for your company.
Step 2: Create a "Problems" Article

Your buyers are performing as much research online as possible before making a purchase, because they don’t want to later regret their investment. More to the point, your buyers want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly -- especially the ugly.

For example, if you’re in the market for a new Jeep Cherokee, you would more likely search for “jeep cherokee reviews” or “jeep cherokee bad reviews” than you would for “jeep cherokee good reviews.”

Knowing this, we only have two options as businesses.

We can allow our buyers to discover our flaws and problems on their own, meaning they will ultimately trust us less. Or, as soon as they walk through your virtual “front door,” you can say, “Here is our elephant. Do you have a problem with it?”

Putting It Into Action

  • Make a list of all the major products and services you sell.
  • Next, identify those products and/or services that generate the most revenue for your company.
  • For each, create at least one blog article and video that addresses the problems associated with that product or service. 
  • Include words like "Problems," "Challenges," and "Issues" in the title. You can also tease that you will also be sharing solutions to those problems in the content title.
  • Publish this content on your website. 
  • Start using this content in your sales process.

Problem Article Examples

Learn how we can help you make creating great content easy for your company.
Step No. 3: Create a Comparison (“X vs. Y”) Article

Hundreds of thousands of comparisons are searched for online every day. That’s because buyers are often choosing between two or more products or services. So, for these articles, you'll want to focus on the questions you’ve received from customers and prospects that specifically deal with a comparison between two or more options they can choose from.

Depending on your industry, you may need to address many different types of comparisons in your content.

Putting It Into Action

  • Make a list of all the major products and services you sell. 
  • Next, identify those products and/or services that generate the most revenue for your company.
  • For each, think of at least one product-specific comparison you can address in a blog article and video -- although depending on the topic, you may want to do more than one comparison over time. (For example, HubSpot has a number of competitors, including Marketo, Pardot, and others.)
  • Then, for each, also think of at least one nonproduct-specific comparison -- e.g. conceptual, strategic, or vendor-based comparisons.
  • Include "vs" in the blog article title. Adding something like "What's the Difference?" or "Which Is Right for You?" to your content title can be helpful, as well.
  • Publish this content on your website. 
  • Start using this content in your sales process.

Comparison Article Examples

Learn how we can help you make creating great content easy for your company.
Step 4: Create a "Reviews" or "Ratings" Article

Buyers are obsessed with reviews.

That’s why websites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and so on, are so popular. Again, if you fully embrace the notion of being the best teacher in your space you can create reviews and ratings articles that establish you as an expert.

But you have to be honest.

Putting It Into Action

  • Make a list of all the major products and services you sell. 
  • Next, identify those products and/or services that generate the most revenue for your company.
  • For each, think of at least one rating topic and one review topic you could write, and then create a thorough and honest blog article and video for those topics. 
  • Include "(Reviews)" or "(Ratings/Reviews)" at the end of the blog article title or "Review" in the blog article title, if it's purely a review. 
  • Publish this content on your website. 
  • Start using this content in your sales process.

Reviews & Ratings Article Examples

Learn how we can help you make creating great content easy for your company.
Step 5: Create a "Best in Class" Article

Similar to reviews and ratings, buyers across all industries are constantly searching online for rankings and “best”-focused content -- the best products, services, vendors, or whatever they may be searching for.

One word of caution, however, before you proceed with creating your “best in class” content. You shouldn’t include yourself in any content in this category that addresses providers in your industry. You will lose all credibility with your audience if you do.

Putting It Into Action

  • Make a list of all the major products and services you sell. 
  • Next, identify those products and/or services that generate the most revenue for your company.
  • For each, think of at least one "best of" topic -- this could cover product types, service providers, product vendors, solutions, etc.
  • Keep in mind that a "best of" topic can be any kind of superlative -- "most reliable," "most cost-effective," and so on.
  • Publish this content on your website. 
  • Start using this content in your sales process.

Best in Class Article Examples

Learn how we can help you make creating great content easy for your company.