In a recent “Content Marketing Report” (based on over 600 survey responses from B2B marketing professionals), Holger Schulze, Group Founder of the “Technology Marketing Community” on LinkedIn, highlighted the following as one of Top-5 Trends in Content Marketing:
“The number one content marketing challenge is having enough time and bandwidth to create content (51 percent). The next biggest content marketing challenge is producing enough content volume (50 percent) …”
The Marketing Id agrees and views content creation as the numero uno problem for B2Bs in their content marketing efforts! Most B2Bs simply do not have either the marketing bandwidth or the required subject matter experts (SME) to create the necessary and sufficient amount of content to achieve success in their content marketing efforts. In fact, according to Schulze’s report, only 36% of B2Bs use SMEs and only 30% of B2Bs use external agencies or consultants to create content.
And, the above-mentioned Top-5 Trend goes on to add:
“… followed by producing truly engaging content to serve the needs of marketing programs (42 percent).”
The Marketing Id’s July 2011 post, “Top 5 Myths About B2B Inbound Marketing,” had addressed the subject of truly engaging content by introducing a phrase, “character of your content.” It suggested that in the new world of content marketing, B2Bs could no longer stand out only on the style aspects of their content, but would also need to engage consumers of their content based on its actual substance. The phrase succinctly reflected a compelling need for B2Bs to produce content that was of a consumable character, i.e., one that offered value to the consumer of that content? So how does your B2B’s content stand out or add more value than that of a competitor B2B’s content in the same realm? In this age of content overload, all other things being equal, why would a potential customer bother to consume your content over someone else’s? In simple terms, “character of your content” means the quality of content, in its various forms and types that B2Bs use in their content marketing efforts. Schulze’s report identifies the Top 10 content marketing tactics/formats used by B2Bs as follows:
- Blogging (65%)
- Social media (64%)
- Case studies (64%)
- White papers (55%)
- Press releases (51%)
- Customer testimonials (49%)
- eNewsletters (48%)
- Videos (47%)
- Online articles (45%)
- Webinars / webcasts (45%)
For B2B content marketers, when your content lacks character, consumers won’t click through and when they do click through, you don’t really know if they are actually digesting your content. It should be noted that nine of the Top 10 content types listed above (except for social media, which can be viewed both, as a content type and as a content channel) are invariably presented to content consumers as links embedded in email or links embedded in summaries presented in popular social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc.
The Marketing Id’s September 2013 post “If the headline doesn’t tick, people won’t click!” discussed some of the click-through aspects for embedded links that then take you to the actual content. But once you land on the content page, the actual character or quality of that content is an entirely different story – the creation of consumable content requires an adherence to marketing communications principles and discipline. In this regard, marketing automation leader, Marketo, has published “The Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing,” which provides a detailed tutorial on how a B2B can do this.
Content Marketing has been creating a lot of buzz in the B2B world lately, but these efforts can be frustrating, if they don’t produce the desired results. Per Schulze’s report, B2Bs identify the top three content marketing success factors as audience relevance (58 percent), followed by engaging and compelling storytelling (57 percent), and content that triggers a specific response (54 percent). If your B2B is not creating and targeting the right content in the right amounts to the right audiences at the right times using the right marketing channels, it needs help from marketing professionals who can. The Marketing Id has a dream that one day all true content marketers will be judged by the “character of their content!”