Kelly Shermach, Content Strategist
Content marketing is trending, but like any other business initiative that gets honored with buzzword status, a lot of the drivel labeled “content marketing” yields more damage than benefit.
It’s scary how quickly even the best-intentioned content can turn into a complete disaster—both for the audience the content creators. To help you avoid content catastrophe we’ve assembled the list of the most devastating content mistakes out there.
No need to grab your marketing first aid kit or a content messaging filter. Just make sure you don’t make any of the following five mistakes.
1. Overlooking buyer pain points and priorities
Nothing…we repeat: nothing speeds B2B marketers towards disaster faster than jumping straight to how great our companies, products and solutions are.
The key to ensuring your content focuses on your buyers? Acknowledge your audience’s challenges, pain points and priorities. Communicate that you understand the industry or job function well enough to see the pain points and empathize. Your company has an outside view of the problems your target market faces. Share your perspective and your solution in a way that makes readers feel an urgency or see the immediate opportunity to resolve their issues. This helps commit them to implementing change in their organizations.
2. Failure to target your content distribution
As with any strategic initiative, content marketing should have a defined audience and explicit, quantifiable expectations. Because it spans the purchase cycle, the targets of pieces may vary. Detailed personas built using existing customer data or interviews with customers and prospects can help identify who you want to sell to, their responsibilities and challenges, and the way they think and act in fulfilling their roles.
Beyond position in the organization, you may choose to target specific-size companies, within select industries or geographies, with a known critical mass of potential users for your product or service. Targeted distribution keeps your marketing costs within budget, and it enables you to create points of differentiation among competitors. And the smaller the target group, the larger the incremental impact. In a study that measured the correlation between the granularity of target groups and campaign uplift, Optimove found marketing to VIPs resulted in an average uplift five times greater than that recognized in marketing to all customers.
3. Interactivity for the coolness factor alone
There is an increasing preference among B2B buyers for more interactive and visual content. However, interactivity that’s all style and no substance can dilute the value of your brand, rendering content marketing incompetent.
Here are some interactive content imperatives to ensure you serve your buyers a superior experience
- Education, especially with links to additional resources
- Unique positioning
- Relief from dense text
- Attention capture
- Topical relevance
4. Mismatching your content consumption and business performance outcomes
You have goals for your content marketing campaign, so why wouldn’t you measure its success?
More than brand impressions or even email opens and click throughs, you can measure results that tell more of a story about how your brand story resonates with your target market. Examples of metrics by campaign objective include:
- Awareness – search engine rankings, website traffic, uplift in first-time visitors, new social likes and followers
- Engagement – content views, downloads and interactions
- Lead generation – form fills and registration
- ROI – marketing-qualified leads, sales-accepted leads, closed deals and sales
5. Missing or weak value proposition
It does not go without saying, unfortunately, that content marketing assets must communicate your value proposition as clearly and centrally as any other marketing form. A recognizable value prop, especially for lesser known brands, optimizes sales conversions.
Now given that content marketing takes creative license with standard business messaging, the promise of value you’ll deliver may adopt variable phrasing as it surfaces in different storytelling formats. An infographic may break your value prop down into parts, illuminating one at piece of the promise at a go with a stat that shows its success. A case study portfolio will weave the value prop into the account of celebrated client results. But the relevancy and difference you offer to prospects should come through no matter what.
Lastly, make sure you don’t forget your buyers in your value prop communication…if it doesn’t resonate with them, it doesn’t matter.
Make 2018 Disaster Free!
There have been so many natural disasters in the last year. While we can’t control the weather, we do hope this list of content pitfalls helps you avoid any B2B marketing incidents in 2018. If you’d like to chat more about content marketing trends and best practices, give us a shout. We’d be happy to send over our Content Marketing Trends presentation.