Every week or so, pundits in any industry will issue a slog of blog posts about the ‘death’ of any facet of that industry. You can set your watch by it.
This week, it’s content marketing. Something called BuzzSumo, which – naturally – has a product it’d like you to buy, nonetheless conducted an analysis (more of a tallying) of blog posts and found that 50% of them were shared 8 or less times and 75% achieved zero referring domain links like this one. (More information could be had – including how they managed to achieve such strikingly round numbers if I gave them my email address, which I did not, but I invite you to.)
The suggestions to address this calamitous turn include 1. researching what your audience would like to read about, 2. promoting the content and 3. monitoring trends (which seems to be a subset of researching, but all marketers take a blood oath that blog posts must use odd numbers).
While those seem like substantive – if not obvious – ideas to rev up the efficacy of your content, may I also suggest that you give the task or tasks to people who are actually good at generating content that people want to read and want to generate that content. If you don’t have the right people stewarding your brand and its voice, then it doesn’t matter how much research or amplification has happened: the stuff is still going to sink like stones.
So here’s my list of three things to wrest your B2B content marketing back from the jaws of the deadliest killer of them all – boredom:
1. Only hire people who know how to communicate with other people. Seems basic. It’s not. Watch out for those who talk down to their colleagues send rushed responses to emails that fail to answer all the points, or who endlessly prattle on with Powerpoint decks, ignoring the blank stares, open mouths and drool puddles. Give them the reins of your brand voice and they’ll bore, alienate and piss off in equal measure.
2. Use your own experience. Whether it’s in the field talking to prospects, trying to manage accounts to reduce churn, or simply working every day to build your brand and keep it afloat – that’s what other business people want to hear about. Give them your insight. Tell them your story. Share with them your struggles and successes. But most of all, be authentic – you’re the expert at something, act like it.
3. Figure out where your audience is and go to them. I’m going to take my own advice and tell you that the number one mistake I have made in terms of content marketing is sitting back and waiting for my audience to come to me. And waiting. And waiting. Still waiting. That was dumb of me, and I spent way too much time and effort on it because, frankly, I didn’t know where they were. Don’t make that mistake. Blogs are important, maybe, but if LinkedIn user groups are where your customers are, divert your resources immediately.
Listen: content marketing isn’t dead. If it were, we’d all have to go back to checking books out of the library and spending time with our families. It’s just suffering because the wrong people are sharing the wrong information in the wrong places. So pause on stressing about the shares and referring links for a minute and make sure you’ve put the framework in place to communicate with your prospects and customers the way you want to communicate with them.