Content Marketing: What Content Marketers Need To Do And What Not To Do

The business of content marketing is fundamentally based on the premise that “content is king,” and rightly so, but when marketing across multiple social media platforms, you need to post content regularly. This can be blog posts, podcasts, e-books, videos or anything else to ensure you generate enough eyeballs. But more content isn’t necessarily better or necessarily more effective if a full-fledged content marketing strategy isn’t in place. The amount of content is just one of the many things you need to consider when considering

Nick Westergaard tells us how he formulates his content strategy by referencing and alluding to Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 poem “The Elephant’s Child.”

I have six honest servants (they taught me all I knew);

Their names are what and why and when and how and where and who.

Questions – what, why, when, how, where and who

We can also use these six men to create content marketing strategies. Five Ws (and one H) can do a lot, especially in simplifying the content creation process. It’s important to focus on the WHY, WHO and WHAT to lay the groundwork for content that is both business-centric and appeals to your target base.

WHY – “Start with Why” is Simon Sinek’s now famous mantra that makes so much sense today Why is your company’s goal – Why that?

Content marketing can help you achieve specific business goals, and one of them should be answering the WHY for each of your real-world scenarios.

Branding: Are you considering creating familiarity with your brand or creating/recreating your brand image in your industry or market segment?
Building a community: Is your goal to build a community around your product or service that enables the free movement of information and feedback?
PR: Looking to tailor your content for campaigns and PR events?
Market Research: Do you want to measure market feedback on a specific topic, analyze the data and use it to your advantage?
Customer service: Do you want to provide service-related content to engage and connect with your existing customer base?
Lead Generation: Want to generate inquiry-based traffic and leads for newer sales?

Which then brings us to Who (m) or WHO, which refers to the audience you are targeting or already serving. Your content must offer some kind of solution – it must serve your customers’ life needs. This would mean that you need to find out your customers’ preferences and find out what is really important to them. This can be achieved by looking at quantitative demographic and qualitative psychographic data.

Finally, based on finding out your business goals (why) and your target audience (who), you will be in a better position to decide WHICH content format you need in that scenario. It’s all about creating content that fits a simple strategy – what’s best for your brand?

Kipling’s first three servants, why, who and what, provide a simplified foundation for a strategic framework to help you find the right content to serve the needs of both your audience and your business. We can now dig into the details with other serving men – WHEN (period and frequency) – WHERE (internally or externally, what platform) and finally HOW (action plan, how you will measure success)

An innovative mindset would help ensure that your content not only gets attention, but also keeps it. It’s not just about arousing curiosity, but also about engaging the customer in your desired action or reaction. Of course, you have multiple metrics to evaluate your posts – page views, video views, watch time, social media shares, etc., but remember to optimize your goals rather than metrics.

B2B content marketing mistakes

Now that we’ve covered the essentials, let’s look at some common B2B content marketing mistakes so we can avoid them. According to a study of more than 5,000 B2B buyer participants across 12 industries, the three mistakes that undermine a company’s content marketing strategy are…

Too much “thought leadership” in the content.
Most marketers use their content strategy in B2B marketing scenarios to demonstrate their expertise and “thought leadership” in their field. While they may believe they are considered “experts,” CEB’s research shows that simply presenting an “intelligent perspective” does not have a significant impact on customer decision-making. Rather, it is good content that enlightens customers about new events in the industry and opens up new perspectives on their business. It should give them a compelling reason to consider a change and take urgent action.

Too much “personalization” of content.
While there is a school of thought that says personalizing your content to suit each stakeholder in your buying group is the way forward, this strategy has been shown to meet resistance, especially when multiple stakeholders have a say in the purchasing decision. In fact, trying to personalize each member’s content usually affects the likelihood of higher quality sales – and that’s because different stakeholders have different priorities and look at solutions from their own perspective. This results in them choosing a “cheaper” solution than what would be ideal for their business. So an effective content strategy should focus on a larger vision and provide a more collective solution that points in your direction.

Content that does not allow measurement of the purchase process.
Marketers use content to attract customers and encourage them to buy from them. However, very often when they see some kind of engagement with their content, they assume that there is interest and see such interaction as a step in the right direction – on the “purchasing path” and as a result pass the opportunity to the sales team, but to no avail. Instead, it’s better to design content that can chart levels of engagement and timing along the purchase path. This can be done by including the questions customers are most likely to ask at each stage and then creating marketing content that answers each question along the way.

These mistakes above are quite common and it’s time to take note and break away from standardized content that seems to focus on “thought leadership”, “personalization” and “spending metrics” but may not give you the results you’re looking for.

So looking back at what we found, an ideal content marketing strategy would enlist the help of Kipling’s six servants to create a simple but intelligent foundation for content development and then consciously avoid some of the common mistakes content marketers make today.

Content marketing in today’s world is not just about creating a mechanized funnel to drive business, but also about creating opportunities to add expert insights while encouraging and encouraging your customers to follow your revenue path by potentially buying or selling.

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