Don’t Make These Mistakes With B2B Content Marketing
You’ve heard the mantra: content is king.
It’s the only way to cut through now that your audience is accustomed to tuning out advertising. It builds brand trust, delivers high-quality leads and improves customer loyalty.
But that only applies if it’s good. Poorly executed or irrelevant content will fall flat and could even damage your brand.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses have spent the past couple of years focusing on producing greater volumes of content with little thought for quality. A study by marketing analytics company Beckon found that brands tripled the number of content pieces they created during the past year.
Most of this content is failing to have the desired impact and the vast majority of audience engagement came from just 5 per cent of content. Basically, 19 out of your last 20 pieces had as much impact as Jeff from accounts payable reading the list of ingredients on his favourite breakfast cereal box and posting it to YouTube.
There’s plenty of debate over how much content you should be generating, but really there’s only one answer: Produce as much as you can do well.
With that in mind, here are the most common B2B content mistakes we see and our tips for avoiding them:
- Winging It: Random posting schedules punctuated with long periods of silence will confuse your audience, especially if you throw a wildly varying tone and lack of purpose into the mix.
Tip: Always have a plan
- Making It All About You: Did you ever meet someone who constantly prattled on about their achievements? How long did it take you for your eyes to glaze over, or worse, start rolling? Your customers don’t care how awesome you think your products are, they want to know how you can help them.
Tip: It’s a conversation, not a sales pitch
- Selective Listening: Surveys and research only answer the questions you know to ask. Use social listening to know what’s important to your audience, and avoid using it exclusively to see what they say about you.
Tip: Be active, not selective
- Compromising On Quality: Take a look at your Netflix or Goodreads queue. Chances are the only way you’ll ever have time to get through it is in a “last person left alive after the apocalypse” scenario. You’re competing with huge volumes of content, much of it from family and friends, so your audience appreciates value more than volume.
Tip: Treat every piece of content with respect
- Doing It All On Your Own: Keeping up a consistent pace is challenging. There are other people in your business with valuable perspectives, so get them involved before you’re running so short of ideas that you start blogging about what everyone is having for lunch. (Pulled beef sandwich with fennel salad, in case you were wondering.)
Tip: Build a virtual team across the business
- Not Marketing Your Content: You know the old proverb about not hiding your light under a bushel? Well once you’ve figured out what a bushel is, it’s advice worth taking. If you’ve created valuable content, you need to spread the word.
Tip: Consider paid and earned media options
- Letting Them Get Away: It pays to keep people around once you already have their attention. So, like the great TV detective Columbo, you should always end an encounter with “just one more thing”. If you don’t give your audience a logical next step, they’ll simply click away.
Tip: Always include a relevant call to action
- Focusing on Viral Content: We all want to be Jean-Claude Van Damme, obviously. But creating truly viral content is hard and there’s no guarantee of success. While your content should never be boring, the guiding principle is that it’s relevant and useful to your target audience.
Tip: Audience quality is more important than overall reach
- Being Everywhere: Tweeting that Instagram on your Tumblr and sharing it on Facebook can be exhausting. The thinner you spread yourself the lower the quality of your content.
Tip: Work out which proven social channels your target audience use, go there
- Content Without Context: People generally only pop up unbidden to interrupt your conversation when they’re trying to recruit you to a cult. Don’t be weird. Only join a conversation if you can contribute something useful.
Tip: Focus on topics that matter to your customers, not trending hashtags
- Everything is Bite-Sized: Combine smartphone use and shrinking attention spans and it’s tempting to buy the “snackable” content mantra. It’s useful, but so is long-form content that educates, entertains and engages the audience that’s most interested in what you have to say.
Tip: Create content that establishes credibility and shares information
Great content can sometimes be funny or even awe-inspiring but it’s more important to be useful. That’s the best way to stand out from a crowd that’s getting more crowded by the second.