As marketers we’re creating A LOT of content. In fact some recent stats show that over 2 Million blog posts are being published every single day. For social media, the “per minute” numbers are just as staggering with 347,222 Tweets being shared per minute, 17,361 LinkedIn profiles being viewed per minute, 300 hours of video being uploaded per minute to YouTube.
With more content being created than ever before, and companies matching the output with resources to support it (28% of total B2B marketing budgets are allocated to content marketing), it’s presumptive to think that high engagement would follow. But, that’s not the case. Although content output increased by 35% last year, TrackMaven reported that engagement had actually dropped by 17%.
So why is this happening, and more importantly what can we do about it?
I co-hosted a Webinar recently with a colleague of mine, Brittni Kinney, from Influence & Co. on this popular topic and it was very well-received. Throughout our discussion we spoke about common engagement problems we’re hearing from our peers, and shared 5 tips to keep your content from falling flat, which I’ve outlined below. If you’d like to listen to the full discussion, visit our Webinar recording here.
Create the right content.
We’ve heard this one before – know who you’re writing for. As marketers we know this but I suppose I’d ask the question, “How well do you know your buyer?” Build out buyer personas for your target audience, if you haven’t done so already, and answer questions like: what position do they hold, what’s their day-to-day, what resources do they have or what do they need to accomplish. We’ve found that the best content is bred from frustration – pain points your potential buyers are encountering directly, or those found in the industries they work in.
Once you know more about your buyer, identify what kind of content to create for them. This will likely depend on what your goals are. For example, are you looking for a lead gen opportunity, or are you looking to gain visibility and trust with this audience? Based on what you’re trying to accomplish you’ll want to leverage different mediums for success. Frequently used mediums can include video, whitepaper, infographic, blog post, snap story or social media post.
Lastly, know where to put this content. If you’ve done a good job in step #1, your buyer personas will let you know what channels your buyers are consuming content through.
Amp up your distribution strategy – or at least have one.
By now your team has spent hours creating, editing and properly linking your content – so what next? With the average lifespan of a Tweet being 18 minutes you can’t just rely on social media to do the work for you. Instead, start sharing more strategically and leverage other channels like LinkedIn groups, email campaigns, newsletters, sales outreach, social media direct messaging, Slideshare and guest-contributed articles to amp up your distribution.
For our team at Winmo, depending on our goals, we have different distribution formulas we try to follow to ensure we’re getting the most mileage out of every piece of content we create. Below is an example of how we can take one blog post and repurpose through different mediums to get maximum exposure with our key verticals. As you will see, by the time we’re finished we’ve taken 1 topic and produced it via a blog post, infographic and webinar – giving us a variety of pieces to leverage across different buyer personas since they consume content in different manners.
Round 1: Blog post A >> Social media
Round 2: Blog post A >> Infographic >> Social Media
Round 3: Blog post A >> Webinar >> Slideshare >> Social Media
Round 4: Blog post A OR Infographic OR Webinar >> Email
Also, start thinking about how you can evergreen your content. If a topic emerges in the industry you’re writing for and you previously published something on that very topic, create a new post with your updated point of view and link back to your previous conversation. One thing that Hubspot does to help prolong the life of their content is to create a blog post that simply highlights five of their most popular posts from the week before.
Put your content in front of the right people.
Once you know who your buyer is and what your distribution strategy looks like, the next critical piece of the puzzle is making sure your content is getting in front of the right decision-makers. Publishing remarkable content and marketing it to the wrong audience isn’t going to produce remarkable results no matter how hard you try.
But the question is, do you have the data to back it up?
Some mediums like social media or native advertising give you the ability to broadly filter who sees your content, but to me it’s more like a game of heads or tails. I’m left hoping that it’s being served to the right decision-maker at the right company.
Other mediums like email marketing give you a higher percentage of success when placing your content. Using hyper-targeted data sets that coincide with your buyer personas give you the ability to deliver your content directly to the decision-makers at the companies that fit your prospecting parameters. And, it’s not just email marketing – platforms like Terminus also allow you place digital and video to your targeted data sets as well.
And, to be clear – it’s not necessarily one or the other. Your marketing mix will leverage a variety of different channels to accomplish the different goals you’ve set for your team. B2B sales prospecting is a primary focus for our team here at Winmo so we’ve found higher success with a more direct approach, like the latter I mention above.
Leveraging marketing database software like Winmo can help you improve sales productivity and broaden your reach by identifying more of the buyers you’d like to sell to. And, the data these resources provide outside of the ‘golden email address’ can help strengthen your personas immensely. Identifying company and brand insights like media spend per channel, agency/brand relationships or social demographic data can give exclusive tips on content that might be relevant to each of your audiences.
TIP: Identify a group of brands who’ve recently shifted their digital spend to a new media channel you offer a solution for. Get your content team to create targeted content based on this new business trigger and deliver it via email marketing.
Keep your data clean.
In the previous section I touched on how quickly you can scale your efforts and increase engagement if you’re putting it in front of the right people. Whether you’re using an outside source (shameless plug – like Winmo) or managing this in-house, you must make it a priority to keep you data clean.
So many teams overlook this part primarily because it isn’t a sexy job and besides, who wants to play in data spreadsheets all day? But, overlooking this can result in wasted resources – time and money.
Our in-house research team at Winmo is responsible for confirming our database of over 131,000 contact profiles every 120 days – so, needless to say we know first-hand how fast data goes bad. In a 4 month period we find that 7% of people exit their current company and an additional 9% incur changes to their title.
Professionals are making changes in their career paths more frequently these days so it’s important to keep your data up-to-date. Repercussions of bad information can include:
- Decreased Engagement – you’re not getting a response because you’re not sending it to the right person.
- Resources Wasted – your sales team is spending hours emailing and calling the wrong people; or your marketing team just threw thousands of dollars down the drain because their direct mail campaign was targeted at the wrong prospects.
- Jeopardize Brand Reputation – first impressions matter; don’t jeopardize the initial introduction of your brand by sending great content to the wrong person.
Make your life easier – use the right tools.
When creating great content and putting it in front of the right people, make your life easier and use the right tools to help simplify your workload. With so many marketing technology platforms emerging each day it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
Here’s a quick list of tools we suggested in our Webinar to help you get started.
Nobody wants their content falling flat, especially after all the blood, sweat and tears that go into it. When creating your next batch of content, keep the tips above in mind.
What does your distribution strategy look like? Add your comment below and join the conversation.