With an overwhelming number of new websites and social media platforms cropping up every day, and with the influence of those sites and platforms constantly changing, marketers are increasingly focused on distribution and promotion strategy: where to share their content and how to get the word out. This is especially true for the notoriously-hard-to-reach B2B market.
In a recent study by Altimeter, 53% of marketers named distribution as their top challenge with content marketing.
But is the focus on distribution working?
A 2016 study by Content Marketing Institute shows that only 30% of B2B content marketers say they’re confident in their marketing’s effectiveness—despite the focus on distribution.
Marketing has always been about delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. In all the hoopla about distribution, have marketers neglected the importance of the message? Could this be the real problem with content marketing today?
Effective messaging (that connects with the target audience) and quality content (that not only educates, but also motivates action) are both surprisingly rare. If you want to get results from your content marketing, you’re going to have to do more than tell your prospects that you can save them time and money, simultaneously cranking out content that already exists in some form online. Everybody’s doing that. And nobody’s seeing strong results from it.
Of course you need to make sure that you’re promoting your content on channels where your target audience is present. And you’ve got to devote resources to distribution. But without the right message and the right content, it’s all for nothing.
To see good ROI on your marketing, every piece of content you create should include the following elements.
1. Personal Value
Business value is important, because without being able to demonstrate the ROI your solution delivers, your prospect won’t be able to help you sell your product or service to other stakeholders. But without personal value, your prospect won’t be motivated. Your messaging and your content should all connect with the issues your prospects care about: how they are perceived, contributing toward their career goals, making them more efficient so they’re able to devote time to the goals they value, etc.
2. Challenge Assumptions
Your prospects first encounter your messaging and content with a set of assumptions. They believe they need certain things and they believe they don’t need certain things. They think that some things are extremely valuable and some things less so. If all your prospects’ assumptions were correct, they would have already made a purchase with you. So you’re going to have to challenge their incorrect assumptions, build your case, and show them why they need to take the action you’re recommending.
3. Make It Easy
No one has the time or inclination to try to apply abstract messaging, to connect the dots between unclear logic, or to wade through long paragraphs of solid gray text. People are busy. If you want prospects to comprehend your messaging and consume your content, you’ve got to make it quick and easy for them. Design for readability, and write for readability.
In the end, it’s the content of your content that will make the difference between marketing that gets results and marketing that bleeds money. Distribution is essential, but it’s a lot easier to get right than the content itself.