As marketers, we are unleashing increasing amounts of content into the marketplace. And as consumers we know that we do our best to ignore most of it! So how do we ensure that the content that we produce stands out from the crowd, and does so on a consistent and cost-effective basis?
That was the topic for a B2B Marketing panel discussion at the Paramount in Centre Point at the beginning of this week, sponsored by Waggener Edstrom. Other panellists besides myself were Prelini Chiechi from Lithium Technologies, Sue Pryce of Unipart Logistics and Nic Shaw from Waggener Edstrom.
In a lively debate some common themes emerged that thought were worth sharing:
1. Marketing needs to focus on more than just Demand Generation. In order for our DG activities to be landing on fertile ground, marketing needs to invest in market conditioning activity (aka thought leadership). One of the negative impacts of the current obsession with ROI of everything is that important non-DG activities are overlooked. Unless this can be overcome it will be difficult to make a case for the validity of content marketing activities (other than as a direct component of lead generation programmes)
2. It’s Not About You! This was the morning’s recurring theme. The value of our content is measured by the recipient – period. Consequently anything we create must have the customer/prospect in mind. We should audit the content we have to determine where it would fit in a buyers’ journey, and challenge ourselves on whether it really adds value to the customer or actually really only serves our own agenda.
3. Content = Creation + Curation. Given that we are trying to build a relationship on our prospect’s terms, it’s essential to think about curating and sharing other people’s relevant content Not only does this reduce our workload but it increases the potential value to our readers.
4. Be Interesting. We are looking for the sweetspot at the intersection of the buyer’s passions and our expertise. Having done so we can take an authoritative and individual stance – one that is not the same as the rest of the crowd. And when it comes to standing out from the crowd, give some thought to visual design – unless we can grab our reader’s attention everything else is wasted.
5. Keep Delivering. We can’t treat content as a one off tactic – we are trying to build a relatiionship with the reader and that can only happen if we are persistent in the frequency of your delivery, and consistent in the quality
6. Integrate across all channels. Of course we need to ensure that your content is made available in the delivery channels that the consumer prefers – be that mobile, blogs, video, social, podcasts. But also we need to ensure that the experience we offer in our content is replicated across our functions. What a shame if we produce some outstanding, engaging content only for the experience to be ruined by a an over-aggressive telemarketing follow up – “I see you’ve looked at our video about the challenges that CMOs face around data, now would you like to buy our fancy database software?”…
7. Listen. Listening and measurement shouldn’t just occur at the end of the process – we can use it across the spectrum from initial research onwards. Don’t plan too far in advance, since our listening exercises will almost certainly make us want to adjust our plans significantly
8. Skills Gap. Creating compelling content – whether text, video, or other vehicles – is not simple. Above all it requires an understanding of the pressing challenges of the intended reader. It’s unlikely that this skill will be found in our most junior staff members, yet it’s surprising how often that is exactly the individual we ask to take ownership for these tasks.
I’d love to hear from you about your content marketing challenges – perhaps I can help…