Why Content Marketing is the New Alphabet – and you need to learn to speak again

Content Marketing

So before the stock market crashed – and at least partially recovered – there was Alphabet, remember? Here is another take on Alphabet:

With 77% of marketers increasing content production in 2015 there is no doubt content marketing is the main method of communications businesses use to engage with their audience. Businesses that practice content marketing create content that piles up on a regular bases (38% of marketers publish content weekly or more often – LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community) with the intent of creating a path for their audience that will walk them from Awareness of the brand to Purchase. Typically such a path starts with light weight content that is easy to find and share online, and ends with a purchase or a download of a purchase-intent type content such as a white paper or a Webinar. When Marketing or Sales qualifies a lead (Turning it from a Contact to a MQL and later SQL) a big part of the consideration is the content engagement – how many content items did this contact consume? Did the contact engage with Purchase Intent content? Etc. So when you sum it up, Content Marketing is creating the building blocks (think of it as sentences) used to communicate with the audience and develop a conversation that leads to a purchase. The question is – are you using the sentences properly and where are the challenges?

1.) Too much to say

The goal of content marketing and inbound marketing is to create awareness so your audience will find you and get to know you. For this you have to build enough content. The question is How Much Is Enough? There was a formula published once for larger organizations in an article on Forbes.com that suggested on average 720 content items and variations each year. For small organizations we believe 70-80 content items a year is a good start. In this formula we include a minimum of a blog post a week (52), case study + brochure for each product/solution, and some premium lead generating content like eBooks or Webinars.

But this means you now have more marketing content than you can fit on a typical Web page. So when prospects are doing their online research on your website or blog, you can’t make sure that they benefit from your most relevant content for them. With attention spans diminishing you can’t really trust your audience to spend the time and effort to sift through your content. As an example per InboundWriter just 10-20% of a company’s web content drives 90% of its Web traffic and a mere 0.5% drives more than half its web traffic. To get back on the language analogy you have a huge vocabulary at your disposal now but it doesn’t all fit for each visitor, you need to figure out how to select the right words for the specific conversation. Typical techniques that help are:

  • Use dynamic content recommendations: With these you can offer your audience the most relevant content items across every online interaction.
  • A/B testing: Test content offers on pages as a way to optimize what you have in case you can’t offer dynamic recommendations and must stay with static ones
  • Remove ineffective content: Trim the content tree to help your audience focus on the latest and most effective content. Even if you have a busy Resources section making it more focused on your best content items will help your audience navigate it more easily
  • Content Hubs: Consider using content Hubs from vendors such as Uberflip as a way to make your content more accessible and to get more results from your content

2.) But enough to say to each individual visitor

So ideally you want to make sure you can maintain a conversation with each individual that becomes aware of your business as they research your site or blog. The conversation path is the content crumbs you spread from awareness items to conversion items. When you have several services or offerings or solutions you need to make sure for each you have enough bread crumbs to maintain a conversation. According to eMarkerter 2 of the top 3 of the leading factors that derail lead flow success are “content not developed for target audience” (48%) and “content lacks relevance for the audience” (44%). Keep in mind, as you update content or become more sophisticated and diversified in your content dialogue you will need to do so across all lines of content/offerings.

3.) Knowing if your words matter

So if you have enough to say in each conversation and you make sure you say it concisely (and not overload your audience with too much content) you are off to a great start. But as you know, some conversations go better than others. You now need to measure and monitor to make sure that you are consistent in your conversations across the board. There may be differences between in conversation quality due to factors such as:

  • Vertical industry
  • Audience for a specific solution
  • Content related to a specific offering
  • Content types offered (some are more popular then others)

Make sure you can track your content engagement and conversion for each of your offerings to guarantee consistent performance as you roll out more content or content updates.

To learn more on how real time personalization and content recommendations complement marketing automation and content marketing see 5 things to know before choosing your next marketing tool.