Is your content working hard enough?

Content makes the world go around! Well not literally but it does power many B2B marketing programmes. Creating and promoting content consumes a huge chunk of our marketing time and budget – so it’s disappointing, when it doesn’t deliver results.

Here are 10 reasons why that might happen.

Is your content working hard enough?Photo by Maxime Agnelli on Unsplash

Content is a broad term, so we’re referring here to the type of value-based content B2B marketers use to drive demand, engage audiences and generate leads – blogs, videos, ebooks, webinars, white papers and the like.

If your content doesn’t deliver the results you want, ask yourself if it’s for one of the following reasons:

  1. Your strategy isn’t right (or you don’t have one!)
    A documented content strategy is critical to success for most marketers. Without that, your content may not help you to achieve your goals. Annual research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute highlights that, year after year the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy.

  2. It’s not relevant
    Are you clear on who your personas are (part of the content strategy noted above?) Maybe you have both technical and business audiences – in which case you need to create content specific to each audience. Prioritise to start with if you need to. But don’t try to hedge your bets and appeal to everyone – it won’t work.

  3. The title doesn't appeal
    This is a biggie – as it’s by far the biggest factor in whether we click or download. Use keyword research and make sure you use words that people search for. There are any number of good (and free) tools to help you. And if you do get it wrong – all is not lost. Refresh, re-position and re-launch and have another bite of the cherry!

  4. It’s all about you!
    Your product is awesome, amazing, better than anything else on the market, right? It’s tempting to tell everyone about it, but until you have created a trusted relationship and shown that you understand your customers’/prospects’ issues you’re limiting your audience to only the most active buyers.

  5. The format’s not right
    Different types of content appeals to different types of people. E.g. Putting all your eggs in the webinar basket might not work for your buyers. Create a variety of formats to present the message in different ways. Lengthy, detailed analytical content has its place, particularly with engaged buyers, but short ‘snackable’ content attracts attention and draws people in – especially for people who don’t have the 15 minutes or more it takes to consume your white paper or analyst report. Video increasingly plays an important role in B2B marketing so don't ignore it!

  6. There's no next step
    You create/commission a fantastic blog. It’s on point, relevant, timely and attracts a lot of people to your site. Excellent! What next? If you whet their appetite and they want to find out more, the worst case is that they search again and find your competitors’ content. You don't get a lead but your competitor does.  Always offer a next step by directing them to next step of the journey. And on that note – check out our eBook for more insight into what content works well where!

  7. It’s poor quality/hard to read
    There’s no excuse for poor spelling, bad grammar and convoluted sentence structures. But often its quite frankly the dullness of the copy that turns people off – dry, uninteresting prose is hard to digest whatever the subject matter. Using the in-built tools in Word or equivalent to check accessibility levels – before you go to full design production.

  8. Your prospects don't see it
    You go to huge efforts to create your content, then press the launch button, sit back and relax. But unless you’re a huge brand with a massive following that simply isn’t enough. Content distribution is key. It’s a huge topic, but if your content needs a boost – consider putting some media budget behind it to promote – either through paid social, PPC or content syndication.

  9. You’re not promoting internally
    Your team and extended team of influencers (consultants, partners, associates etc.) are often your best distribution channel for new content. But getting senior execs and especially your sales team on board is especially important as they have the most relevant contacts. Get them involved – helping to plan what content is created so they are bought in, support and promote it and don’t start creating their own!

  10. It’s not on the right channels
    If your audience is on Instagram and you’re promoting on Twitter that’s one thing. If your audience spends little time on social media and you’re focusing all your activities in that area that’s a bigger issue. And if your email channel has been decimated by the recent impact of GDPR, you’re going to have to think harder. We’ve had some great success with direct mail – could that be the channel to get the right eyeballs on your content?

Content is all about learning from your mistakes too – not every piece you produce and promote will be successful. Review your results regularly so you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. If you’ve tried everything and your content still isn’t working, it may be time to cut your losses and move on.

Content success builds over time, and some of your best pieces, managed and updated regularly, re-imagined and re-promoted, could deliver results for your business over many years. So be realistic about expectations and take the long view.

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About the Author: Virginia Bray

Virginia Bray

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