Why You Need a New Approach to Content

Content Marketing Success MeasurementThe problem is getting the right content to the right people, even while knowing that key decision-makers are not an easy audience to reach. Producing smart, highly targeted and truly innovative content can be really challenging.”

This is one of the quotes from the B2B content marketing report published by MarketingProfs and Junta42 last September.

The problem is trying to do all those things at once, while outrunning the competition and potentially outnumbing the same target audience. And indeed I have issues with the terms "target" and "audience". Why is it a problem?

Because, as admitted by marketers and communicators, organizations are still learning to shift their mindset from broadcasting about products — putting a different spin on stories is still part of that — and products that don't feel exciting enough.

Still from the report, most marketers (36% of those surveyed) also feel that content creation is just the beginning. How they socialize that content to engage customers and prospects takes an even greater slice of their resources. And a big percentage (21%) feel they are not producing enough content.

Compared to whom?

This is certainly no ding on the report, however since the control is marketers who feel they do a good job you should take a moment to unpack what the findings translate into for you and your organization. Here's what the report found:

  • Self-described effective content marketers outpace the remaining survey respondents in “adoption” within every single category of content marketing. On average, effective marketers use eight tactics whereas less effective marketers use six.
  • Adoption rates are at least 15 percentage points higher in specific content categories: social media, eNewsletters, case studies, blogs, webinars/webcasts and videos.
  • Not only are effective marketers out-adopting, they are also out-investing. Effective marketers allocate a much larger percentage of their budget to content marketing. Effective marketers allocate 30% of their marketing budget to content marketing versus less effective marketers who allocate 18%.
  • Effective marketers benefit from a more extensive distribution network, using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube at significantly higher rates than their peers. 82% of effective marketers are using at least one platform compared to 66% of ineffective marketers.
  • 37% of effective marketers consider the “stage in the buying cycle” of the target market when developing content, compared to only 23% of less effective marketers.
  • Effective marketers benefit from substantially more buy-in from senior members of the organization. Only 7% of effective marketers complain about lack of buy-in from higher-ups, versus 23% of those who believe they are less effective lamenting the same condition.

How do you know these tactics would work for your organization? Do you have the same cultural environment? Are you trying to attract the same customer base? Is there another way to unpack the results of this survey of B2B companies and build your own roadmap?

Fulfilling unmet needs

Many businesses that cater to other businesses are in complex service and product markets. Adding to that complexity is the sophistication of the people they are trying to attract. Most of the decision markers have already developed their technologies and tools habits to get what they need done.

I have not met a decision-maker who could not wait to hear all about your new product and service. Wading through yet more white papers and online publications to find the one kernel of what she needs to get through her day is usually in the hands of her team.

Finding an unmet need, potentially a very personal one, is key to inviting a direct connection.

Finding what works for you

From the bullets above, let's take a look at how you would think about your own content production to suit your organization and plan a new approach.

  • integration is more effective than using a single-tactic or silver bullet approach
  • higher-yield tactics through search and consistent fulfillment
  • better results go hand in hand with higher levels of investment, which you get when you have the support of the executive team
  • greater distribution is meaningful only if it gives you a better signal and is relevant

I get that surveys and reports help you validate what you already know with a third party assessment you can present to management.

You know more, though. Do we have insufficient information? I submit that we have the exact opposite problem — information overload. I submit you don't have time or resources to do what everyone else is doing. In fact, you may need to invest more just to stay in place.

Are you going to swim in a sea of sameness, or will you consider a different approach? Do you see any underserved areas? What thinking, assessment, and tools can you bring to bear to help with better filtering and visualization, for example? How do you enrich the learning experience? What else?

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0 responses to “Why You Need a New Approach to Content”

  1. Content is what gives you an voice in an silent internet world..you choose to share it with the world in hopes of making an impression.
    BTW Valeria..Can you can contact me on my contact page..Its very important..I need your help.
    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  2. You’ve posed great questions. I’d love to hear thoughts on breaking through the sea of sameness from others more innovative than I am. Certainly it all starts with real clarity about one’s audience and what kind of content they’ll be receptive to (and where).
    Also, please elaborate on “higher-yield tactics touch search and consistent fulfillment.” Do you mean that they improve search or were you getting at something else I’m being dense about?

  3. @Jack — good espresso is the start of my day.
    @TrafficColeman — got a name?
    @Lisa — it would help if I didn’t have a typo in there, would it not? Fixed. I did mean improving search rankings, as in the example from the report.

  4. The archives are brimming with posts about content on this blog. In addition to addressing where you should be (of course you should be where your customers are! That’s not enough though…), you should think to address where they are in the buying cycle… If you look under timeless, you can find some of those posts, if interested.

  5. “Content” is what you call it when you know, deep down inside, you don’t believe it yourself. It’s a generic, innocuous term used to subconsciously distance the self from being associated with obvious bullshit.
    Content, much like brands, happens when you’re actually doing something beyond flipping thin value to lowest common denominators in pursuit of profits. Are you producing “content” to sincerely help people live better lives – or to sell more useless crap we don’t need?
    If I buy a product or service which delivers on its promises to improve my life by providing real, long term value, I’ll buy it. And because it’s actually improved the quality of my life, I’m going to tell everyone I know about it.
    Look at the iPhone! Apple doesn’t need to market that thing at all. Millions upon millions of people in just America alone stand in line to buy them, knowing full well they have to (until recently) contractually obligate themselves to a company recognized as being one of the worst companies to do business with!
    If Apple required a smack in the face and an insult prior to purchase, people would STILL line up and pay whatever price for the iPhone.
    It makes me wonder… If the product isn’t genuinely valuable, wouldn’t it make sense to spend money improving the product, instead of spin doctoring “content?”

  6. Valeria,
    This is along the right track. There is a symbiotic relationship with all of it. You need to have a great product, a great message about the product (so people will try it and/or use it to it’s full potential), and the ability to reach the right people.
    The over focus on the latter is where there is considerable disconnect. People think the message (content) doesn’t matter or has less value than it used to, especially folks with a strong connection to SEO (e.g. especially those who generate the majority of their traffic from misspellings).
    There reality is that none of this works alone. It requires a balance.
    All my best,

  7. Exactly right. Content will never substitute for a great product and great service. In fact there’s a company that delivers solid content and has been trying to earn my business – and has pass me off to no less than five account reps and I’ve yet to even see a demo. And from a company that’s supposed to help companies manage their lead flow more effectively. Needless to say I’ve scratched them off the short list since as a lead, they’ve managed me extremely poorly which makes me not have confidence their product works.
    That aside, we’re all swimming in a see of overload. There’s much more content I wish I had time to digest than I can. No matter how good it is, there’s a limit. Most decision makers are busy running their businesses and are NOT waiting around for that new whitepaper. And that’s what frustrates many marketers who are measured on generating leads immediately – they don’t want to wait for the time it takes to build that relationship. So they shout louder with more emails and more whitepapers – and more noise.
    I’ve not cracked the code. There’s no magic tactic. And no one right way in a world of a million channels. You have to be human. You have to find the thread that matters and most of all be willing to take a few risks by being different than the rest.

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