The term “content” is a difficult one to come to terms with, and one I’ve always had a problem with.
For me, the all encompassing word “content” is an extremely lazy one that has been all too eagerly jumped upon by marketers to explain away what they plan to do.
It’s become one of two things that marketers are going to “do”, alongside social media. The sentences often sound like this:
“We’re going to do some social media to cover this event”
“We’re going to do some content marketing to promote the website”
And it seems it isn’t just me that has a problem with the concept of content marketing, as this clip from stand-up comedian Stewart Lee will now demonstrate:
So that’s now 160 words and a video that appears to be criticising a product that Fresh Source Digital offers. It’s certainly a new approach to corporate blogging…
But it isn’t just me that seems to have a problem with content marketing. Indeed, the majority of B2B marketers do, albeit for different reasons:
What the statistics, provided by a 2015 survey of B2B marketers, show us is that there’s a complete contradiction going on in the world of marketing.
The overwhelming majority of B2B marketers are producing more content. They’re spending over a quarter of their budget on it and intend to spend more on it in the future.
Yet less than a quarter say they’re good at tracking the ROI. Nearly half say they have an issue measuring the effectiveness of content and nearly two thirds say that website traffic is the metric they use to assess content marketing success.
In other words, we plan to do more of something that we’re not sure of how to measure, don’t know if it’s working and are using an intangible, subjective metric to judge success.
How is this even nearly sensible?
Making it All Relevant
We all need to take a step back and explore what we’re doing. Why are we creating content? What purpose is it serving? What do we want to achieve? And not just from a marketing perspective but for the business as a whole?
For anyone heading down the rocky road of content marketing, you should consider the following:
Understand the business goals that you’re looking to achieve and work backwards from there. If you’re looking to generate leads, how is each piece of content you produce going to get people closer to achieving that goal?
Figure out how to get attribution throughout the marketing and sales funnel. Know the role that your tweets played not just in driving people to the website but throughout the buying journey. Technology has enabled many advanced systems such as Hubspot to become available that allow companies of any size to understand the role of all of their marketing channels for the fraction of the cost of even 10 years ago. Everyone can now do this.
With the right goals in place for each of your channels and the ability to track their role in delivering business objectives, you’re now in a more sensible position to engage a content marketing strategy. You can now report on the return on investment in your strategy by tracking leads into sales and attributing that return across your activities. This is how budgets get increased and this is how you keep the board happy.
As the Stewart Lee clip illustrates, too many people are trying to shoehorn a piece of content into a channel in the name of pushing content, and I think this is where my problem with it has stemmed from. I’ve seen too many videos, read too many articles and seen too many memes where my reaction has been, “well what was the point of that?”
Don’t fall into that trap with your marketing. Don’t create content, create something amazing that has a purpose. Create a video that showcases how your brand is different. Write an article that’s controversial enough in the right circles to get the right audience engaged. Create a downloadable guide that gives something of value to your audience and allows you to nurture leads into customers.
But whatever you do, stop creating “content”.