There’s no way around it: your B2B brand needs content marketing.
It’s how you scale. It’s how you talk about yourself, and it’s how you sell. And most importantly nowadays, it’s the foundation on which other critical components of your business are built, including lead generation and customer engagement. Why? Because content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
We’ve covered the elements of successful content marketing in previous Kreber blogs, and looked at the key components of a good strategy.
In this blog, we’re taking a slightly different approach. This one’s for the brand manager, marketing manager, or business owner who’s gone down the road of content marketing but encountered a few (maybe more than a few?) bumps there.
As you may already know, many content marketing programs fail (or simply cease to exist) before they’re given a chance to succeed.
Here’s how to avoid such a disaster, and identify the problems before they arise.
Reasons #1 and 2: time and resources
Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but many businesses and brands simply don’t have the capacity to support a content marketing program. We know everyone’s spread thin and short on time, which makes the planning stage of a content marketing effort perhaps the most crucial.
To properly manage the various arms of a content marketing program, your first major decision must be to invest in the resources. This could mean additional staff or engaging an experienced content partner—one well-versed in helping companies launch content marketing the right way.
Don’t let a lack of resources derail one of the major initiatives needed to grow your business. Prepare accordingly, determine the best approach (whether that’s an in-house team or an agency), and start plotting your path forward.
Reason #3: there’s no quick fix
With all due respect to overnight YouTube sensations, you can’t wave a magic wand and make something go viral.
And, further to that point, virality is NOT a marketing objective. Virality occurs when a strong, creative/unique concept is embraced by a primary audience and is shared into secondary and tertiary audiences (and sometimes, beyond).
Content marketing is a long-term investment (which means: no, success will not happen overnight).
We call these “content marketing programs” for a reason. There’s a lot of planning, research, and more planning involved before you even deploy your first piece of content.
Outlining goals, objectives, audience personas, channel strategies, and the roles of each in the process is essential to ensuring that your program is buttoned up and positioned to succeed. To that end, understanding that the long view is the proper view is something many companies fail to grasp—and it happens far too often.
You can’t see the forest unless you can see the trees, right?
Reason #4: lack of attention to detail
We get it: You want to see results, and so do your decision-makers.
This is where the process can break down; too many times, we’ve seen the little things slip through the cracks, and those details can end up being huge misses. One example is organic search and search engine optimization (SEO)—how you write your content is as important (if not more so) than the substance of the content. One of the main objectives with content marketing is to build awareness and get “buzz” going, but without well-executed details on the back end, that’s more of a pipe dream than a reality. After all, if no one finds you, you might as well not exist.
SEO isn’t flashy or sexy. It can be tedious work that requires a good amount of research, but that time investment pays off in the end. If search engines don’t view your content as favorable and/or useful, are you really serving your brand the way you want?
Content marketing principles like SEO are often overlooked, and it’s a killer. Writing, building, and then properly deploying content (on time, according to a content calendar!) that’s optimized to perform is an intensive process—and skipping one step causes the other elements of the content effort to break down.
It’s like a massive game of marketing Jenga®. Pull the wrong piece—or in this case, try to take a shortcut—and the whole thing collapses.
Reason #5: an undefined purpose
What are you hoping to achieve through your content marketing? Are you selling? Are you building a brand story? Both?
These are the kind of “Day One” questions that require answers before you move on to content creation, optimization, and so on. But a lot of times, it’s hard to get everyone to agree on the answers.
Without understanding why you’re producing content, it’s difficult to understand what to produce, for whom, and for which channels. If you’re struggling with “why,” convene a pow-wow and identify the gaps in your lead gen and nurturing process now. You may find that your prospects don’t have enough decision-making support—and you can create content to better serve them.
Or you may decide you want to target a specific market segment, so now you need to undertake some research to develop content that matters to that segment. Whatever decisions you make, they can help you narrow your content marketing focus so your “year-one goals” are doable and trackable.
Content marketing is a must-have, not a nice-to-have
Now you have a better idea of where many B2B brands get tripped up when building a content marketing program. Our experience with brands large and small, campaigns local and national, helps solve those challenges—and get content marketing off the ground successfully.
The big takeaway? Invest the time required to plan, strategize, and make sure all parties are united in the purpose and “30,000-foot view” of your content marketing campaign.