Content Marketing

Content Marketing vs. Marketing Content: Where You’re Getting It Wrong

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In the marketing world, content is at the core of everything we do. And for demand generation activities, in particular, it’s content that fuels nurture campaigns, content syndication, and retargeting ads. It also can help arm your sales team with the collateral they need to seal the deal. It’s hard to think of an area of the customer journey that content marketing doesn’t touch. But there’s a core piece of this content puzzle that marketers have been getting wrong—or perhaps missing altogether.

I’m talking about marketing content.

Not long ago, I wrote a LinkedIn article about this idea that my team didn’t love at first. I called it F#*k Content Marketing. My point was that it’s time to abandon the “old way” of marketing and embrace change. It’s time for our entire marketing teams (and eventually, our entire organizations) to start maximizing the use of the content that our content marketing teams work so hard to create. Click To Tweet

The Problem With Content

Looking at how much content is out there, unused, makes me think about a conversation my Uberflip co-founder and I had nearly six years ago. Content marketing was on the rise, and we wanted to start a company that empowered marketers. But it felt as if everything by way of an authoring tool had already been done. This got us thinking about what happens after. What do marketing teams do once they’ve created all this new content?

I apologize in advance to any content marketers reading this, but according to SiriusDecisions, 60 to 70% of all content churned out by B2B marketing departments sits unused. When we think of that from a demand generation perspective, there’s so much missed opportunity in that content that’s just sitting.

Your content team may take a step back once the “publish” button is clicked, aside from a few social posts. But for the rest of the marketing team, there’s so much more that needs to be done.

Rethink What You Already Have

Instead of having your content team create more and more content to meet your demand generation goals (I’m talking webinar follow-ups, content syndication, and display ad campaigns), what if you spent your time rethinking the way your existing content is consumed?

First, look at your existing content to see if it can be repurposed by your content team. Why have your team spend time creating something from scratch if you can leverage what you already have? (And, bonus: If a piece of content already exists, chances are your team will be able to turn your request around faster.)

While you’re at it, look at your company website and blog to see if the content is organized in a way that is optimized for lead generation. Is your best performing top-of-the-funnel content easy to find? Is your middle-of-the-funnel content directing your prospects to customer stories and case studies and your bottom-of-the-funnel content to the demo page? The way you organize your content can guide your prospects down the funnel.

Order Matters

I’m going to throw out another stat that might make you want to take on this job: Organizations are 57% of the way through the purchase decision process before they engage with a sales rep. In other words, you should make sure that the content your team is offering does the talking for you.

One of the things we often see is marketers organizing content by publication date. The articles on your blog from 2016 may still be valuable, but I’m not scrolling through years’ worth of posts to find them.

And if not by date, some marketers organize by resource type—infographics, blogs, ebooks, videos, podcasts. But it’s unlikely that someone coming to your site with a question about SEO or social media will care what format they find their answer in. Take this into account when evaluating your website and encourage your content marketing team to start organizing using topics instead. They’ll get more views on their content, and you’re likely to get more leads from it.

The way the content is structured on your website is where content meets user experience. Optimizing the way your content is organized will it easier to discover your assets and help your team to meet your marketing goals. It will also guide your prospects through the buyer journey.

Create Personalized Content Experiences 

Much like how marketers must strategically organize their content, they must also think through the experiences they create with that content. Rather than looking at each blog article or video as an engagement resource on its own, we need to take a step further and think of how that asset fits into the larger content puzzle. When we send someone to a blog post through an ad or email, where will they go next? What elements on the page compel them to engage further?

These are a few ways you can create highly personalized experiences that will make your audience want to consume more:

  • Contextual calls-to-action: Place a targeted, and relevant CTA below or beside an asset someone is already consuming; the user is more likely to consume more because it directly applies to the content they just interacted with.
  • Overlay calls-to-action: Rather than sending users away from your content to a dead-end landing page, why not gate your assets with an overlay CTA instead? This creates a more integrated approach to lead generation because you’re creating the feeling that the answer they need is “just out of reach.” And it doesn’t disrupt their experience.
  • Content recommendations: Using automated suggestions and recommendations, you can make sure your audience’s interactions with your content are meaningful, and guide your prospects along the path to purchase.

To truly engage your audience, you’ll want to create experiences that make them feel as if your content is exclusively for them.

Involving the Rest of Your Team

Just as content and demand partner to create and distribute content experiences, you’ll want to include the rest of your team. After all, the best way to market your content is to get your entire organization to start marketing with your content.

Content no longer lives exclusively in the content marketer’s domain. Your sales team should leverage content when prospecting customers, and your customer success team when engaging customers. To have the most impact, use it at every stage, with everyone on your team.

So, while I wouldn’t suggest telling your boss that they should “F#*k Content Marketing,” I’d recommend reevaluating how your content is used across your website and organization. And while you’re at it, start focusing on the content experience.