Content marketing continues to be the buzzword of the year at conferences, seminars and online. Marketers are frantically trying to help their clients push out content at a pace that is almost scary.
Creating content is great, but there’s more to a content marketing strategy than just that. After all, it is called content marketing, not just content creation.
Careful thought needs to be given to not only what the content will be about, but also the format of the content and the target audience. Further consideration needs to be given to the distribution method for circulating the content.
To complicate things even further, if you’re a business-to-business (B2B) company, your content marketing strategy needs to be given extra attention, due to the interesting demands of the B2B community. What does this mean? Well, the B2B audience is an audience of experts and professionals. They’re often much more critical of the content they consume, especially when their time is so valuable.
With all of this in mind, let me show you four reasons why your B2B content marketing strategy might falter and what you can do about it.
Some of the data used to compile these reasons comes from a 2013 white paper published by the CMO Council, titled “Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field.” Check it out for even more interesting statistics in B2B content marketing.
Now, let’s get to the issues.
1. Too many requirements for access
When asked to describe the characteristics they dislike most about B2B content, a whopping 50% of survey respondents in this report noted that they were turned away by content that had too many barriers to access. In other words, if we have to give our name, street address, phone number, email address, company name, position, favorite color, and sixteen other responses just to download a white paper, we’re probably not going to want to do it.
That’s an exaggeration of course, but the point is simple. Don’t ask for more than you need. More often than not, a name and email address are more than sufficient. Also, try to think of creative ways to get something in return for content. That could be a tweet, a Facebook “like,” a blog comment or some other simple action. Why complicate things?
2. Blatantly promotional or self-serving
Many B2B companies still don’t get this. They think content marketing is just another opportunity for them to talk about their brand and how great they are. Guess what? Nobody cares about you and your brand enough to download a white paper about it.
B2B consumers want answers to their problems. That’s what your content should do; it should solve specific problems. In doing so, the goal is that the consumer will see you as a trusted expert in the field, and this could eventually lead to a sale.
Don’t just push out promotional garbage that tells the world about your company. That’s called advertising, not content marketing. If you really want to do that, go buy a billboard.
3. Non-substantive and uninformed
Oh, how many times have you downloaded a report or began watching a webinar only to discover that it’s 90% fluff? Or worse yet, has it ever been apparent that the publisher of the content knows very little about what they’re talking about? It happens more than you think.
You see, everyone is so eager to jump on the content marketing bandwagon that they’re just throwing together some paragraphs, mixing in a few buzzwords and charts and calling it a white paper. That’s not useful to the end consumer. Content marketing must be useful in order to be valuable.
So, make sure you take the time to produce content with value. Position yourself as an expert in your field, not as an uninformed marketer trying to keep up with everyone else.
4. Overly technical
Lastly, in contrast to the reason above, don’t make your content overly technical, unless that’s what your audience really wants. In most cases, I can think of more harm than good overly technical content will have. First of all, your audience will find it boring. Secondly, the potential audience will be vastly reduced, due to the prior knowledge needed to understand it.
Furthermore, keep in mind that visuals are very important. If you’re producing a report, throw some images in there. If it’s a recorded seminar, put some graphics on the screen.
Try to be memorable in your delivery, so that your audience not only feels like they learned something, but feels like they need to stay in touch with you or your brand.
That’s all I have for now. I hope this information has helped you decipher some of the mysteries of B2B content marketing. If you feel that I’ve missed anything on this topic, feel free to add a comment below, or give us a shout on Twitter.