By: Katrina Niemisto
Content marketing has transformed our industry, with B2B brands large and small using it to generate millions of engagements. In fact, by 2016, 88% of all B2B brands were using content marketing.
Then something changed.
Marketers produced too much. They oversaturated the market. They made it too hard to stand out.
But content stopped succeeding for a few other reasons, too.
Skimping on research: Often, marketers rushes to get their content out as quickly as possible. For example, in December 2017, more than 40,000 articles were being published about Bitcoin each week, according to Buzzsomo.
The problem is that in the rush to get content out first, organizations were skimping on research and not delivering anything truly valuable to their audience.
Remember, if someone spends their time reading content, it needs to be worth their while. Otherwise they’re unlikely to do so again.
Treating distribution as an afterthought: Organizations’ focus on content creation came at the expense of thinking through distribution.
Making content is all well and good, but effectively distributing and amplifying it is the key to getting it seen. And there’s no point producing something great if no one’s going to see it.
Failing to monitor performance: Data is at the heart of all good marketing programs. Tracking and monitoring a piece of content reveals what is and isn’t working. Without this insight, there’s no way to gauge performance, improve on what’s not working, and ensure the effectiveness of its delivery.
6 Ways To Breathe New Life Into Your Content
With that in mind, let’s turn to what can be done to improve content. Here are three steps marketers should already be taking:
Know your audience: The first step to creating engaging content is understanding who the audience is and what they want. This means mapping out buyer personas and journeys before the proverbial pen hits the paper.
Distribute and track: When producing any piece of content, here are three questions that must be thought through: Why is it being produced? Where is it being distributed? How is it going to be tracked? Marketers will be at an immediate disadvantage without clear answers.
Match the right content to the right people: Generational differences can be found in content preferences. Younger consumers prefer video and social content, for instance, whereas older generations are more comfortable with email. Make sure you know how best to reach your audience.
Those are the basics. Now let’s look at some tips that can really kick-start your B2B content marketing:
Find your niche: No matter how good your content is, if you adopt the same perspective and talk about the same topics as everyone else in your field, you may as well throw in the towel. Find a niche in your space—preferably an emerging trend that will be relevant in the next three to five years—and start creating content in that area. That way, when your topic hits the mainstream, you’ll be an established expert.
Experiment and innovate: Most of the advice we’ve given so far has been about carefully planning content. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment. Saturation is the No. 1 enemy of content marketing. Experiment with new forms of content and new channels to give yourself a better chance of standing out.
Say something different: On that note, don’t be afraid to go against the grain sometimes. Doing things the way they’ve always been done is a guaranteed way to get left behind. Those who spot a new possibility, however, and dare to say something truly different will likely reap the biggest rewards.
You’re On Your Way
Content marketing isn’t going to get any easier. The market is crowded, and will presumably grow. But quality trumps quantity. So take a step back, assess what you’ve been doing, and make the necessary changes in the name of differentiation. In the end, strategically developed content will always reign supreme.