Why More Content Isn’t Always the Answer
According to a recent Salesforce report, the three most pressing business challenges facing B2B marketers are:
- New business development
- Quality of leads
- Demand and lead generation
So how will these B2B marketers overcome their biggest challenges? One indication is where they plan to invest their budget in the coming year. And according to the same Salesforce report, 68 percent plan to increase their spend on content marketing—more than any other single budget item.
As much as we love the idea that companies will dedicate more budget to content, we hope these marketers use their dollars wisely.
The supply of content is growing, but demand is static. With up to 50 percent of the content enterprises generate going completely unread, per a recent Forrester report, it’s clear people can consume only so much content. We’re fast approaching a tipping point with audiences and consumption.
The fact that brands continue to pump out volumes of content, much of it lacking valuable insights or addressing audience concerns, significantly contributes to the problem. Even when marketers produce high-value, audience-centric assets, they often lack adequate merchandizing.
Bottom line: If you’re creating content for the sake of content, you’re throwing good money after bad, and content marketing is unlikely to help you solve your business challenges.
Strategy to the rescue
Adopting a customer mindset and creating content that supports the customer journey is one way to ensure you’re not spending valuable budget on wasted assets. Before you spend another dime creating content, take the following steps to create a road map for future content marketing efforts.
Start with a content audit, which tells you what types of content you have and how much. More than just an inventory, a content audit combines quantitative and qualitative findings with analysis and recommendations. The seven most important steps to conducting a content audit are outlined in the SlideShare below.
Once you know what you have, map the content against your audience’s informational needs to establish relevance. Is your content all product focused? Do you have content that meets your audience early in the customer journey? Have you addressed broader business concerns? Are you producing content for all of your target audiences? After you’ve plotted your content against this criteria, you’ll have a more contextual understanding of the holes in your customer’s journey.
Priorities that lead to results
From there, the next step is to take a step back. Examine the business drivers, marketing objectives, and organizational needs specific to your situation. Then cross-reference against the findings from your content audit. For example, while a good content audit can tell you where there are content gaps and redundancies along the customer journey, it can’t tell you that you’ve got thousands of unqualified leads stuck in the middle of your pipeline. In this case, prioritizing your marketing spend on a content initiative that qualifies and converts those stranded leads will expedite and increase your desired results, instead of just filling a gap with thought leadership content.
Think beyond the gate
Despite the obvious role content plays in driving demand, getting a prospect to fill out a form in exchange for some great content will not necessarily impact the three most pressing B2B marketing business challenges mentioned above. This is where thinking about the entire customer journey, as well as deploying nurture programs to maintain interest and engagement long after a prospect fills out a form, will allow you to measure and qualify leads that will impact lead quality and revenue.
Content marketing is an excellent way to solve the challenges B2B marketers face. But without the right strategy, your content might as well be whistling in the wind.