Content is King, and We’re Ruining His Rep

The modern buyer is connected, social, and able to learn about you and what you’re selling on her own. This is true whether you’re in the B2B or B2C world. When your buyer researches your product, she isn’t looking for a pitch, she’s looking for credibility. Content — beautifully written blog posts, hilarious videos, ironic memes, or even simple, easy-to-follow instructions — provides the credibility and likability your buyer wants to see.

And what marketer wouldn’t produce content when, according to Hubspot (a prolific content producer itself), companies that post more than 15 blogs each month get 5 times as much website traffic?

This deck shares some of the most compelling stats about content marketing, but the main point is this: There’s a lot of content out there. Nine out of ten companies market with content. There are 27 million pieces of content shared each day. 86% of B2C marketers and 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing. And, this stat is one I discovered on my own, 100% of people don’t have time to digest all this crap.

As a marketer actively engaged in content marketing, I am overwhelmed by the amount of content in my Twitter feed. Some brands are getting it right, creating content that I genuinely want to read, watch, and share. (Examples from my current space: Salesforce, Econsultancy, CEB), while others are getting it wrong, publishing repetitive fluff that masquerades as substantive content. The fluff, though, detracts from the good stuff, and gives all of content marketing a bad reputation. Buyers are tired of sifting through blog posts listing the same 3 things the most successful people do every morning. They’ve read all the must-read tips. Their calendars are full of redundant webinars, and their inboxes overflow with vague whitepapers.

To make sure your marketing strategy lands in the substantive camp:

1. Use a real writer. If you’re planning on producing written content, you must fully board the content marketing train by hiring a creative, articulate writer (or finding one within your company) who’s familiar with your industry and your target market. Don’t assume that anyone with a Twitter account and some WordPress experience can do this for you. Look for writers who can help you develop an approachable, trustworthy tone and are familiar with writing for the web.

2. Don’t copy, just link. Too many content producers surf the twittersphere for what’s trending and then write a not-quite-plagiarized version of someone else’s content. There’s nothing wrong, though, with simply asking permission to re-blog someone else’s content and give them credit. The original author will usually gladly accept, you’ll get just as many reads (or more, since the original content is probably better than your paraphrased version), and you’ve created grounds for a potential partnership.

3. Collaborate. People like to hear from the experts, and inviting them to share their knowledge through your content channel is a great way to build credibility. Ask clients, partners, and executives (or other internal leaders) to guest author blogs, co-write ebooks, or star in a video.

4. And speaking of video, use it wisely. It’s true that, in our “crazy busy” world, buyers are more likely to watch a video than read an article. But videos still need a writer to develop a storyline, align it with existing messaging, and draft a script that lends itself to natural delivery.

How are you ensuring that your content breaks through the clutter? Tweet me @rikki_rogers.