My background is journalism. I spent 15 years writing and editing at the big newspaper here in Dallas. Journalism was all I ever saw myself doing. Apparently, it’s not all God saw me doing, because I’m here on the blog of a B2B technology PR and marketing firm writing about content creation. But I’m not complaining. I love my job. Like, really love it.
I don’t think I was ever one of those truth-to-power journalists. I was more in the storytelling camp, and, honestly, that’s made the transition to the world of marketing much easier. I’m still telling stories. I’m still getting to educate. I just do it for brands now.
That’s not to say that the transition was an easy one, especially once I moved from a more B2C-focused agency to Idea Grove where our aim is decidedly B2B. This is a world that was new to me. Luckily, the gentleman who hired me was someone I knew from my newspaper days. He’d made this transition already, and one day early on he whispered to me the secret formula to creating B2B content. And today, I want to whisper that same secret to you. It’s three words: Problem. Solution. Result.
The foundation of all B2B content
Here’s what that means. Talk about the problem. Talk about the solution. Talk about the result. When Clay mentioned this to me he meant it in terms of creating individual pieces—blog posts, case studies, white papers, ebooks, etc.
I tried it, and it worked. These B2B stories that I’d struggled to tell suddenly became clearer. The conversations I had with client SMEs became more structured. Rainbows filled the sky. Birds sang louder.
Then, as I went deeper into the B2B world, I noticed something. This problem-solution-result construction wasn’t isolated to just content. It was everywhere. It was the spira mirabilis of the content marketing world. (Spira mirabilis is Latin for miraculous spiral. This is the spiral shape that’s found throughout nature, in everything from the arms of a spiral galaxy down to the internal structure of a seashell. You may also know it as a nautilus spiral, but that doesn’t sound quite as cool.)
Problem/Solution/Result is everywhere
How pervasive is PSR? You can see at every level of B2B content, from organization to execution.
Look at the navigation of your website. Traditionally, after an About menu, you have a menu item that focuses on industries or use cases. Those talk about the problem. Next come the product-focused pages. Clearly, that’s the solution. Many sites even label these pages that. Then you come to a resources menu where you will find testimonials and case studies. In other words, the results.
But it’s not just the organization of the site that follows PSR, it’s the individual pages too. Generally, each of the main pages of your site should talk about the problem you solve for clients, how you solve it, and then who you’ve solved it for. Problem. Solution. Result.
PSR should also be guiding the organization of your lead nurturing campaigns, starting with emails addressing business problems, moving to messages about solutions and then talking about results.
PSR is even in the planning of content for your sales funnel. Awareness level content should be focused on the problem. Consideration level content should be focused on the solution, talking initially about broad solutions then later talking about your specific solutions. Decision-level content is when you talk about results. Here’s who we’ve worked with and how we’ve helped them. We can help you too.
PSR as a planning tool
Content planning can be difficult. Content creation can be too. When you can say anything, it can become hard to actually say anything that’s relevant. Creating messaging and buyer personas is critical to knowing what to say. But understanding the power of PSR can guide you in how to say it. And understanding its pervasiveness in B2B content planning and creation is the first step into harnessing what it can do for you.