Content marketing used to be a trendy buzzphrase when digital marketing started ramping up – particularly in the B2C sectors when new platforms/capabilities were launching and brands were scrambling to be the pioneer in creating something original. Now it is a saturated sector where lazy copywriters have been producing mediocre content and struggling to adapt to changing climates.
Despite the strategy maturing, many brands are turning to content marketing for the first time–particularly those in the B2B sectors. It seems that some organisations were reluctant to get involved in social media and blogging in fear of seeming unprofessional. Now after they’ve spotted a few competitors doing it, they’re scrambling to get involved.
Now that the strategy is maturing, we need to start thinking outside the box. A good place to begin is to understand a few home truths…
1) No one cares about your product
Well unless it’s a trendy fashion line, luxury watch or boutique hotel….
For those of us in the real world (especially if you’re in B2B), the average consumer has no interest in your product. Even a perfect target market customer won’t be interested enough to click on a blog post if it’s just a sales pitch for your latest product.
Therefore, the vast majority of content you produce shouldn’t be directly related to your product/service and the immediate problems they solve. Take a step back and consider your target market in a bigger picture. What sort of topics would they like to read about?
For a B2C example, say your brand provides high end prams. Your typical customers are likely to be yummy mummies who like looking good, socialising and of course their baby! Think about the problems they face: baby teething? Top 10 sociable activities that are baby friendly? How to shift the baby weight?
For a B2B example, say your company provides cloud computing services to SMEs. Your typical customers are likely to be middle management IT consultants who need to be careful with their budgets and are pressured to keep services up and running for their users. Think about the problems they face: Selling a business case to senior management on why they need to outsource IT services? How to create workarounds quickly if something goes down? How to improve the lives of their users through technology?
Produce content that tackles these issues and provides value to your target market.
Remember, content marketing done right is great at building a loyal group of followers over time. Don’t bore them with advertorials all over your feeds.
2) Great content doesn’t automatically head to the top
You’ve created an epic series of articles packed full of photos, videos, embedded social media posts and gifs. Your boss loves them, and you know your competitors haven’t produced anything that comes remotely close.
12 hours later and those fancy articles have received a whopping 11 page views – no comments – no shares.
This is a common occurrence when starting a blog from scratch. Sure every website on the web has access to the same potential number of visitors–but getting heard within the noise is a huge challenge for new brands.
Sadly, “epic” content doesn’t automatically go viral and reach millions of readers. In most cases, it could take several years of hard work and consistency for a blog or news website to build a loyal audience for their content. It only occurs rarely when high quality content alone is sufficient enough for a blog to get noticed by large numbers of readers.
Even if you’re a social media whiz with a thorough understanding of how to engage users on social networks, you’re still losing the numbers game. You might have less than 50 followers, but similar brands could have followers equating to five-figures! When it comes to retweets and sharing, the odds unfortunately aren’t in your favour.
Instead, marketers need to promote their content in effective ways and gradually build up followers and email subscribers. Create some guest posts from experts in your industry who can promote the post via their own channels. Use content that baits thought leaders and influencers into sharing (also known as ego baiting). Tap into social media trends and comment on what’s in the news. Host competitions. Provide access to e-books, white papers, or templates in exchange for an email subscription.
Content creation is the start of the process. Promotion must follow and it must be consistent.
3) It’s getting bloody difficult
As I alluded to at the start of this post – content marketing strategies have matured. Hey, even my local garage has a blog! It’s now common expectation for every company to have a blog and a presence on social media.
Increasingly, content needs to be something original and special for it to stand out. Chances are, the post you’re writing has been written several times already by other brands. You’re going to need to think about how to differentiate your content from what’s been published by others. As more and more regular content is produced, the harder it will become.
Too much content isn’t the only problem we’re going to have to deal with. In recent years, social networks have been adjusting algorithms so that users see less promotional content after users expressed that they wanted to see more posts by their friends.
Twitter and Instagram also recently switched their default feeds to algorithmic, meaning that users see posts they’re “more likely to care about” first. This means that marketing tweets are less likely to be seen compared to posts from accounts with more followers and higher levels of engagement.
4) We need to respect the platforms!
Social media platforms have spent a lot of time and money in connecting brands with the biggest audience in the world. Where some brands got it extremely right with adopting these quickly, there is now so much content that of course there needs to be algorithms to keep users engaged.
Here are some key take aways when producing content in a saturated world wide web:
- Try to forget about the algorithms, good, valuable content will still be seen. Mediocre content won’t. Create exceptional content
- Good, valuable content will be wasted if you don’t have a strategy to prolong / optimise the consumer journey. Put together a content plan and schedule to keep things consistent and within brand.
- Advertising budget is now needed – we’ve been taking advantage for too long! Try to think about platforms like the radio, television, newspapers and magazines – they all require us to pay them to distribute content.
- Don’t build your home on rented land. If you’re using one social network for all of your profit, you’re one algorithm away from being irrelevant.