The truth is, there are as many ways to grow a business as there are marketers. Increasingly, they are relying on content marketing to help them reach their goals.  In fact, new research from CEB shows 84 percent of B2B companies will increase their spend on content marketing in 2017 – with 51 percent expecting to increase spend by “a lot.”   Despite this commitment, only 45% of B2B marketers think content marketing is working, and two-thirds don’t see any connection between content metrics and revenue metrics.  Why is this?  Here’s what we’ve seen cause this disconnect:

  1. Not knowing your audience, or thinking too generically about your audience. Details matter here.  It’s the details that make the difference between lackluster, boring content, and content that changes minds and motivates.
  2. Thinking product features and benefits are what prospects care about. You’ve got to earn the right to talk to prospects about yourself.  They won’t pay attention unless what you are offering is relevant and meaningful to their situation.
  3. Not knowing the process prospects go through to make a purchase decision. If you understand the types of questions your prospect asks, then you know the information your need to present at each stage of their journey.  Providing information about a solution before your prospect knows they have a problem isn’t going to produce the desired results.
  4. Not differentiating your content, it sounds like everyone else’s. Your content should demonstrate your company’s brand.
  5. Not amplifying it – they build it and they will come syndrome. Just because you’ve written an interesting piece of content or created a cool video doesn’t mean people will flock to it.  You have to proactively and intentionally get it in front of your target audience.
  6. Not involving influencers – as collaborators or as influencers. Utilize these people as resources – for topics, angles, and opinions to help build out your content.  They are immersed in the industry and can provide valuable insight on your targets’ greatest concerns.
  7. Ignoring in-house experts. Sometimes, the people who have the insights and knowledge your prospects need sit in the cube next door.  From customer success and product management to sales, asking people inside your company about customer needs can uncover real content gems.
  8. Not repurposing – make multiple pieces/formats, be creative about different ways people could consumer your content. One webinar can turn into a blog article, a downloadable guide, a checklist, and an infographic.
  9. Lame packaging. Sometimes brilliant content is hidden behind a boring façade.  Ensure the format and design of your content reflect the research and thought you put into creating it.
  10. Have not tied your content to your business objectives.
  11. Ignoring SEO opportunities. Keywords still matter.  Part of knowing your customers pain points is understanding how they look for answers.  A quick review of keywords via Google’s keyword planner can be very insightful.
  12. Ignoring lead gen opportunities. It still amazes me how much good, free content is available without any kind of gate to gather contact information.
  13. Not mapping the content to the buyers’ journey. Take a step back and determine how your content addresses each step for the buyers’ journey.  Do you have something for each stage your prospects go through to make a buying decision?
  14. It’s just a bunch of chest-pounding.
  15. Have no way to measure the impact of your content. It’s helpful to know how many downloads or views or how much time is spent watching each piece of content.  That activity has to be tied to each lead through the sales funnel, if it is going to have a real impact on your business.
  16. Writing for the company instead of the customer. Make sure to keep the customers’ point of view central to you content strategy and each piece that is developed.
  17. Not promoting, aggregating and curating great content from others. It’s true, you don’t have to produce the content to provide value to your potential clients.  Compiling interesting articles from thought leaders and making it easier for your audience to access provides a service to your prospects and puts your company in a good light.
  18. Only producing written content. People consume information in all sorts of formats.  Don’t’ forget about video, podcasts or infographics.
  19. Focus on quantity over quality.
  20. Believing that only one person creates all of the content. Make content development a company-wide initiative.  Marketing may own content strategy, but they don’t control the market on great content.  Tap everyone from the top executives to the more junior members of the team.  As long as they are writing for the customer, it’s a win!
  21. No editing or quality review. Always, always have someone review what you’ve produced.  Not only for proper grammar and typos, but also for
  22. Poor writing with excessive amounts of passive voice. If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, have someone you trust review your work and act as your editor. But don’t give up. Take a class or read a book to learn how to improve.  Whatever your do, keep writing.  Practice is the key.
  23. Stopping before you start – that mental block that paralyzes you whenever you sit down to write something
  24. Inconsistency with your messaging/positioning. Make sure you have a broad enough strategy that covers how you connect the topics and points-of-view of your content with the company’s mission and product’s core benefits.  Don’t let your content sell your competitors’ products.
  25. Not encouraging and participating in two-way communication.

 

Obviously, there are more ways to screw up content than there is to win at it.  But you can stack the deck in your favor by attending the Modern Marketers Workshop:  Content that Converts Drive Revenue and ROI in 2017.  You’ll learn strategies and applied best practices to optimize content marketing’s impact within your organization, including how to:

  • Develop a content marketing strategy to align with your organization’s objectives
  • Position your content to achieve a set of tangible goals with a tactical approach
  • Identify your prospect’s buying journey and mapping your content to each stage within it
  • Maintain your content marketing engine to drive new and repeatable sales revenue through your organization

 

We’ve seen a lot of businesses try and fail on the content front.  Don’t be one of them.