As a marketer dealing specifically with content marketing, your mantra for the past couple of years has been “Content is King”, right. Heck, be careful what you wish for. Content has taken off so well that the biggest threat to your well-planned content marketing campaign now is—well, content.
How so, you ask? Because you can have too much of a good thing, that’s why. And right now, we have too much content. Too much noise. Too much competition. Too much fluff. It’s become a deluge, and it’s threatening to scupper the efforts of businesses trying to leverage the concept.
How Did We Get Here?
… when it started out as such a great idea? Firstly, because it worked, content marketing took off like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes. Everyone climbed on the bandwagon, and statistics from Velocity Partners show that 9 out of 10 B2B marketers were expected to produce “much more” content in 2013 than they did in 2012. That trend is showing every sign of continuing and there’s no end in site. Most B2B companies don’t have the resources to produce quality material, though, and that presents the biggest threat to your content marketing campaign.
Avoid Becoming a Casualty
There are ways around the problem, however. Some companies turn to outsourcing, and this has caused marketers ranging from SEO professionals to copywriters to become content farms to satisfy the hungry monster that's rampaging through the marketing world and causing the deluge. To avoid becoming a casualty, you need to build a great content brand rather than an efficient content-producing machine! Here’s how:
1. Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes
Everything begins with what your customer needs and wants. His (or her) challenges. His desires. His needs. His concerns. Forget about making it all about you. Make your content marketing campaign about your customer, focus on the benefits instead of the features, highlight what you can do for him to solve his problems.
2. Stick to the knitting
Remember the business bible In Search of Excellence? Authors Tom Peters and Robert Waterman came up with this term to illustrate sticking to the line of work you know. These days, we call it becoming a thought leader, and it means being authoritative and knowledgeable about your product or service so you can understand what your customer needs and how best to give it to him.
3. Plan the work and work the plan
You need a strategic approach. A one-off content marketing campaign is not going to do it, regardless of how well-executed or how good your quality is. Develop a sound, comprehensive content strategy that builds on itself, review your progress regularly and adjusts the strategy according to the results you’re getting. If you’re chasing customers away, change your track until you get it right.
4. Be in it for the long haul
It’s not a short-term thing. Content marketing doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t expect quick results. It’s a long-term process that requires you to attract a following, develop your brand’s personality, build a reputation and generate trust.
You want your customers and prospects to care about you? Then care about them. Care about your business. Above all, care about your content. After all, if you don’t, who will? Don’t let inexperienced interns publish material that’s anything less than perfectly crafted. Don’t allow information to go out unless it offers the value to customers that you want them to get. Check your statistics to see how well you’re doing, and make changes if you aren’t. You just have to care.
6. When the going gets tough…
Sure, we know, the tough get going. It won’t always be plain sailing, but you need to hang in there and keep up the momentum. Don’t be lazy—the one time you forget to respond to a comment could be the time you lose a valuable customer.
Create a Great Content Brand
To survive the deluge threatening every content marketing campaign, you really need to create a great brand based on dynamic content that offers real value to the customer. Give him quality information that he can really use that keeps him coming back for more, time after time. That will put you in the top 1 percent of content marketers who don't struggle to get their stuff read. Users will consume it, they'll like it and they'll share it. It'll highlight your products and services. Anything less, and you'll be in deep water before you know it. To learn more, check out our white paper, "What is Content Marketing? And Why It's So Important."