Content marketing entered the online lexicon about 5 years ago. Since then, some businesses have taken it up seriously and are reaping results. Others see it as more of a buzz word and try a ‘quick fix’ or ‘set and forget’ approach hoping something will stick.
The latter approach will never work. Content marketing should be a core part of your business and branding. If you do it carelessly it can actually end up doing more harm than good.
The biggest risk is entrusting your content marketing to an agency that promises a lot for a little. Buying blog posts in bulk may sound like a good idea but we’re not talking canned food or nappies. And unlike the branding for the very successful toilet paper buy in bulk scheme – you SHOULD and MUST give a crap about your content marketing: who is doing it, how they are writing about you and what message this is sending your existing and potential customers.
You can’t know what you don’t know
There is no shame in having gone down a misleading path when it comes to content marketing. If an agency tells you they can deliver, why wouldn’t you believe them? After all, you deliver on promises to your own customers.
It’s more about understanding the role content marketing plays in your overall marketing strategy and business planning and being sure you’re doing it right for your specific needs and goals.
We’ve created this checklist of 5 Things to Look out For that might be a sign you need to re-visit your content marketing strategy.
1. You think more blogs equals more noise equals more leads
None of us need more noise. The internet plus every other kind of media we are exposed to every day is more than enough. According to a recent Nielsen report, US adults are now spending 11 hours a day consuming media. And this Hosting Facts report estimates that over 3 million blog posts are published every day.
Take that in for a moment.
You don’t want to add to the noise, you want to cut through. That means fewer blog posts of higher quality. Content that will make your readers stop and think, or learn something new, or take away a piece of valuable advice.
Blog overload also means you are not targeting specific audiences or specific moments in the sales cycle so it can be a waste of energy.
If you are pushing out too many posts your sales team can’t keep up. Content marketing is not done in isolation. It must be part of your overall marketing and sales funnels so everyone is on the same page.
Finally, you can’t possibly promote your blogs properly if you are flooding your own external feed. Hubspot recommends 40% creation and 60% promotion when it comes to effective content marketing.
2. You are buying blogs in bulk
You have probably read the kinds of blog posts that get sold in bulk. Or the first few lines anyway. That’s about as far as most people get. Because it becomes apparent very quickly that the writer is not an expert, the writing is not great quality and the content has been scraped from generic similar posts around the internet and doesn’t relate specifically to the business or product it is written for. Worst case scenario these writers get facts and stats wrong because they don’t know or understand your business.
There is no benefit to your business in being associated with this kind of approach. Consumers are incredibly savvy when it comes to online content. If they smell a case of generic content they will think you don’t take them or your own business seriously.
3. You are using clickbait titles
A juicy headline can kind of work in the B2C space – even if just for some entertainment and to get hit rates up. But the B2B space is different. Time is more valuable. If you create a blog post with a title like: ‘A sure fire way to get people to buy your technology’ you have to be very certain you can back up that claim. If another business clicks through and reads a vague blog post about sales techniques you will lose them not only from that post but potentially from any other interactions, engagement or sales with you ever again.
4. Your blogs don’t relate to your strategy
This comes back to that notion of everything being interconnected. If you buy a ‘delivery of blogs’ that all focus on a churn and burn style of writing of content but you know that 80% of your business are long-term repeat customers with a long sales cycle – the mismatch can confuse your messaging and branding. Content marketing cannot exist in a vacuum. It is integral to your bigger picture marketing strategy and goals.
5. Your whole team is not involved in content marketing
This doesn’t mean you insist your tech team start writing blog posts. It means your business’s story is bigger than one content writer or even than your marketing team. It’s a team sport.
Content marketing is all about providing useful, interesting, relevant content to readers. And the people who can provide that in your organisation are not just the marketers. They are the front line sales people, the HR team, the call centre staff or the product development team.
The role of the B2B marketer is to play the part of an internal investigator, working with various stakeholders to unearth their unique contributions and piece them together into a compelling narrative. This narrative becomes a schedule of content ideas that speak directly to your customers.
How did you rate on the five warning signs?
If you recognised even one of these warning signs then you are not content marketing so much as creating noise. You might have pieces online that do not reflect well on your company. You may be getting ripped off with what is being promised to you and what is delivered. This can result in lack of trust and loss of reputation.
Valuable content that is mapped to buyer persona, journey and needs is crucial to effective content marketing. It’s not easy to create but it is certainly possible.
To get an overview of how effective your content marketing strategy is, and see how you compare against other companies, take our quick (and free) B2B online Marketing Assessment.
We don’t judge, we simply help you see things clearly. Once you have an accurate picture of what you are doing we can then give you actionable tips. Stop wondering, stop wasting time and money and start getting results from your content marketing.