Play 2. Content:
Who do you want to be?
We b2b marketers are guilty of giving too much focus and energy to technology. It's understandable - Martech is great fun to play with, but we tend to forget that it's just the plumbing.
Too many are scratching heads over poor content marketing results, while spending time poring over lead scoring or bolting on a shiny new app.
It's just fiddling at the edges.
A higher standard of content should be the priority over a higher number of APIs.
Stop everything for a week.
Stop tinkering with your technology. Stop creating content just because it's in your schedule.
Instead, take a few days to suss out your editorial platform.
Working out 'who' you are and what you want to say is one of the most valuable pieces of documentation in your content marketing arsenal.
(And remember, '...those who document their strategy are more effective in nearly all areas of content marketing' - Content Marketing Institute)
Your editorial platform can comprise many elements:
- Your content mission
- Tone of voice
Let's take a look at a couple:
1. Content 'tilt'
The world is saturated with bland content. We all know this. So in order to achieve cut through, it's important to think differently.
Your 'tilt' is the lens through which you view the world. A clearly defined perspective on your customers' challenges.
Document it and use it as a checkpoint for everything your produce; 'How does this new piece of content align with our tilt?'
If you want to understand tilt, look no further than the most successful newspaper columnists.
Peter Hitchens at the Mail on Sunday has built a significant audience through his carefully constructed tilt; 'Britain is Broken'.
Whatever your politics, you know where he stands, right?
For a corporate example, Salesforce made huge headway in its start-up phase with its 'Say no to software' manifesto.
Yours doesn't need to be as polemic as these examples, but your content engagement rates can be transformed by being clear, brave and consistent about what you stand for.
(Pro tip: taking a tough editorial stance is also a useful checkpoint for pushing back on those in your business who feel the need to overshare their own tilt. You know the ones we mean...)
Before getting into the blog vs quiz vs interactive infographic debate, think about the fundamental shifts in how your audiences engage with content in 2018.
For a clear example of marketing tools blunting over time, look no further than email. In 1999 an outbound email could achieve a 90% open rate. In 2018 20% is considered a win.
Even in the relatively 'new' era of inbound, traditional content formats are coming under review.
Ungated content is typically used to draw prospects in and demonstrate your ability to help them out.
Gated content is your opportunity to capture their interest - and their contact details.
But earning an email address to chalk up an MQL requires a lot more effort than five years ago. Sending relatively cold traffic to a landing page is now a futile exercise in some content-drenched sectors.
There are things you can do.
First, make sure the content at all points of your customer journey is valuable. Ungated content should be revelatory:
- Careful arguments that demonstrate why your prospects should care about an issue
- New thinking around their challenges
- Objection handling that favours your approach
Gated content should be game changing:
- Practical instructions to solve a specific problem
- Valuable data insights
- A tool or template they can implement today
Second, don't expect your prospects to convert straight away.
As an experiment, try leading with a long-form ungated blog. 2000 words on a very specific client problem.
Then remarket your gated content through your (earned) remarketing pixel.
Measure conversion rates for your gated content from those who were warmed up with your blog first, and those who came to your landing page cold.
The painful truth is that your prospects are actively looking for reasons to disengage with your carefully constructed content marketing programme. One off-piste blog can be all it takes to get you blocked from their supplier radar.
Documenting your editorial platform could be one of the most important steps you take in getting it right.
Be warned - having a genuinely different position on the issues your audience cares about is simple in theory but much harder in practice. However, very few elements of a content marketing strategy deliver the same level of reward.
Could some fine tuning improve your content marketing performance?
Request your free 'Fine Tuning' Report*
- A custom report identifying eight quick wins within your current content marketing activity
- Eight small changes that could lead to a significant uplift in your lead generation performance