Christopher Yeich

Director of Global Content Marketing at TransUnion

Christopher Yeich on Creating Niche Content

Content creation is a critical component of any successful marketing strategy. However, different target markets may require different approaches to content creation, depending on the specific audience's needs, interests, and behaviors. Understanding the unique content needs and preferences of different markets is essential for creating effective content strategies that resonate with the target audience and achieve business objectives.

In a conversation with Rishabh Shekhar, Co-Founder and COO at Pepper Content, Christopher Yeich, Director of Global Content Marketing at TransUnion, talks about how content differs from selling a product to selling a service. 

Here are some excerpts:

1. Tell us about your background and journey in content marketing. 

I am the head of the TransUnion B2B content marketing discipline, which primarily focuses on US markets. We serve numerous lines of business, vertical markets, and solutions groups. Our philosophy on the content team is to have an outside-in view by truly understanding our audiences through data-driven insights to provide them with valuable expertise, counsel, advice, and direction, and serve as a partner to help them overcome their challenges. We want to maintain long-standing relationships with our clients by giving them something meaningful through content storytelling that helps them do their jobs better, smarter, and faster. Building long-standing valued relationships with our customers is foundational to our beliefs.

2. How does content differ when it comes to selling a service versus selling a product?

As someone in charge of content marketing, I believe that providing a broad range of content is essential. We create content for each stage of the customer journey, from top-funnel thought leadership to mid-funnel practical guidance and lower-funnel services and solutions. However, we focus on building relationships with our customers through top-funnel content that features subject matter experts who can speak our audiences’ languages and provide valuable insights. We then create practical guidance content that addresses the challenges customers face and offers recommendations to overcome them, without heavily promoting our products and solutions. I see that more as the service we provide, as it’s more consultative than anything.

For example, for top-funnel thought leadership content, we may write an article about our subject matter experts’ perspectives on industry challenges. For a mid-funnel practical guidance piece, we may create a checklist covering the top 10 things that you would need to be mindful of when you work to solve a problem. Content that helps sell a product then would be the content of the lower-funnel solution that touts features and benefits of a particular type of tool or platform, for example. Whether it's a video, an article, an infographic, a blog, a webpage, or a webinar, it doesn't matter what format it takes. The asset is meant to provide value by saying, “We understand the challenges that you face in your industry, and our experts can help you with  key recommendations.” Again, that top-funnel content has nothing really to do with heavy product and solution selling at that point. It's all about understanding challenges, and how to start to overcome those challenges with expertise. 

3. What content metrics do you track as a content marketer?

It's a great question and it's something that we talk about a lot here internally. I believe that leads, marketing-qualified leads, sales-accepted leads, and sales-qualified leads are the most important demand-generation KPIs. This ties directly to revenue, pipeline, and marketing's contribution to pipeline goals. However, I am also interested in engagement metrics such as page views, unique visits, time on page, bounce rate, and conversion percentage through form fills. I am particularly interested in the "next click" after someone consumes a piece of content, to see what interests them beyond that initial article or blog post. This helps us create a relevant "what's next" component for the user and is vital for account-based marketing.

4. What does your ideal content marketing stack look like?

There's complexity built into it. As a large enterprise, we use best-in-class tools and platforms from organizations like Adobe, Google, and Salesforce to create a unified view of our stack, so nothing is siloed. We need connectivity between systems for operational and measurement purposes, and having integration capability with other systems is valuable. We track the performance of all those things that are tracked through various systems, and a dashboard system of business intelligence that can showcase all of the data that flows from those various systems into meaningful dashboards that we can track anytime 24/7 to make optimization adjustments based on those data outputs.

5. What's your take on outsourcing content?

Having done this for a while, I feel the best approach is to generate as much content as possible through internal subject matter experts as you possibly can. That's the best-case scenario. The reality of the world, though, is that more often than not one doesn't have all of the necessary resources to hire a hundred people in a content team, for example. So we do use agency partners as an extension of our teams for content creation. We work with both larger agencies and individuals with subject matter expertise in certain fields, industries, or solutions.

6. What should budding content marketers not spend their time doing?

I would say the primary thing to do is to use as many data-driven insights as possible to understand the needs of the audiences that you're trying to serve. What not-to-do is just talk about your products and solutions all the time. From a content marketing standpoint, that doesn't provide full value to people. It just positions you as an organization and as a brand that wants to sell you something.

I think the key to success is always being mindful of that outside-in view versus an inside-out view. It's easy for brands and organizations to go with an inside-out view because they build things, they make things, and they sell things. But, it’s not a best practice in content marketing to only speak about the solutions or products one offers.

On the other side of that coin, if you adopt an outside-in view and truly understand the needs of your customers, you're then able to cater to their true needs, and that's going to give them something of value that helps establish that long-standing relationship.

An outside-in view is key to where somebody should be thinking about how to look at content marketing effectively.

An outside-in view is key to where somebody should be thinking about how to look at content marketing effectively.

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