How to Write Content for the C-Suite
If you’ve been tasked with writing content for the c-suite, you may be feeling a bit nervous and wondering how, exactly, to begin. How do you ensure that your messaging and value proposition are unique enough to capture your audience’s attention? How can you create an asset that’s compelling enough for your c-suite audiences to take time and pay attention? How do you ensure that your messaging is on-point with discussions related to budget cycles, new market expansion, and other high-level organizational goals?
Don’t let these questions intimidate you. Instead, follow these simple tips:
1. Craft razor-sharp customer personas
Executives within companies are heads-down meeting the needs of shareholders, ensuring that projects stay on track, minimizing risks, streamlining expenses, and determining opportunities to make projects more profitable. What’s important to keep in mind is that processes and needs will vary between companies. That’s why it’s important to create airtight customer personas that account for what’s happening in your target audience’s organizations. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Companies at similar stages have similar challenges related to operations, profitability, and group. Pay attention to whether your target audiences are part of large, geo-dispersed public companies or whether they’ve just raised funding. The more you can contextualize your messaging to the needs of evolving companies, the more likely your c-suite audience is likely to listen.
- Understand what each member of the c-suite needs to build successful teams. Chief information officers face different constraints than chief marketing officers and other members of the executive team. Make sure that your messaging is on-point with your readers’ specific decision-making processes and role.
- Evaluate educational gaps in the market, recognizing that c-suite leaders are looking to gain a competitive edge concerning the knowledge they’re amassing. When planning your customer personas, aim to uncover knowledge gaps.
Razor-sharp customer personas will help you identify the ‘bulls-eye’ with your value proposition, enabling your content team to prioritize the development of resources that streamline executives’ decision cycles—which brings us to tip #2.
2. Understand that executives’ decision cycles are complex
When it comes to choosing tools, partners, and vendors, you’ll want to keep in mind that executives’ decision cycles aren’t always straightforward. Multiple stakeholders are often involved in just one decision.
Let’s say that you’re on the content marketing team at a company that sells a SaaS solution, for instance. Your prospects aren’t going to be making an immediate decision when vetting potential technologies.
As a content marketer, your role is to support this buyer journey: recognize that c-suite leaders might be looking for guidance and support in tackling their organizations’ pain points. Be supportive and empathetic to this windy process.
3. Include a call to action (CTA)
Ensure that every piece of content passes a “so what” test with a clear takeaway for each of your readers. Remember that c-suite leaders have limited time and are looking for guidance.
A clear CTA with next steps will be a valuable addition to your content. For instance, if you publish a trends report, include an executive summary that includes ‘next steps’ to take. If you’re publishing a blog post about personalization technology, offer a free consultation for how your reader can bring a particular strategy or piece of new technology to his or her own business.
To the best extent possible, you’ll also want to make sure that CTAs map to particular case studies. If you’ve worked with a similar type of customer, share details into your company’s onboarding process and long-term results.
Your CTA should facilitate an entry-point into this long-term exploratory process.
Imagine that you’re writing to a specific individual. Understand what this individual’s role entails, what points of friction he or she may be facing, and what type of guidance he or she may need to be a more effective leader. This empathy will help ensure that your messaging and content are on-point.
No matter what, don’t let your c-suite audience intimidate you. At the end of the day, we’re all human. We all need guidance and a helping hand. As leaders, we stand on the shoulders of giants to see the road ahead.