Research any B2B company these days, and you’re bound to see at least a few elements of content marketing. Most have a business blog, others generate eBooks and research reports, and many have branded social profiles for sharing.
A lot of these companies do a decent job over all, and others are very good – but few are truly great. Why? Because great content marketing is really, really hard to do. The good news, of course, is that no matter how solid your strategy might be, there’s always something more you can do to improve.
So what does great content marketing look like? That’s difficult to say, as opinions vary on what separates the merely good from the truly great. This week at Content Marketing World, marketers from all over will gather in Cleveland, Ohio with the hopes of learning at least a few new lessons for boosting their strategies.
In that same spirit, here are three simple tips from experts around the web that can help lead to more powerful content marketing.
#1. Market your marketing. (Jay Baer, Convince and Convert)
“You know what happens when the vast majority […] of useful content gets launched by a company? Nothing happens. Nothing,” writes Content Marketing World keynote speaker Jay Baer. The point he’s making here is that many organizations treat content creation – publishing a blog post, writing an eBook, and so on – as the primary goal. But as Baer explains, “The launch of your awesome content… is not the end of the journey, it’s the beginning.”
This is a common problem for all types of content formats. For example, YouTube marketing company Pixability recently conducted research on how the top 100 global brands use video marketing. One of the key findings was that most of these companies invest heavily in video production, but barely anything at all in the actual marketing of that content. The result? A bunch of high-concept, high-quality videos that hardly anyone ever sees.
From social sharing to e-newsletters to traditional news releases, it’s important to have a promotion plan in place for everything you create. Generating that content alone isn’t enough.
#2. Keep it relevant to the people that matter. (Brian Goffman, LinkedIn)
“If you just talk about yourself, you’re not relevant,” writes software executive and entrepreneur Brian Goffman, which is really just a simple way of saying “your audience doesn’t care about you.”
The point here is that great content marketing can’t be only about your company or your brand, even if that seems counterintuitive. So many business blogs these days are filled with nothing but product and organizational updates, details on company events, and so on. Sadly, most B2Bs just aren’t as interesting as they think they are, and this is not the type of content that will drive any meaningful relationships with new customers.
Goffman quotes Gilad de Vries of Outbrain as saying that “content marketing has informational or entertainment value to consumers. It is not advertising. It is not the brand talking about themselves and the features of their products.”
In other words, great content marketing needs to spin the focus away from your products/services and toward what really matters – the needs and challenges of your audience. Put even more simply, it’s about helping, not selling.
#3. Be ambitious. (Marcus Taylor, Econsultancy)
Finally, to have a truly great content strategy, it’s important to always push yourself. In many cases, this simply means looking at what you or your competitors do well, and figuring out ways to push those tactics to the next level.
“If everyone in your niche is writing top 10 posts, stand out with a top 100 post,” writes digital marketing guru Marcus Taylor. “If everyone is doing interviews with one to four people per post, write a post where you interview 10-50 people in your industry.”
The concept here is to take simple principles and find ways to do them bigger and better. Remember, great content marketing doesn’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel every time, but it should certainly stand out from what the others in your industry are doing. Sometimes, all it takes is going the extra mile.
Of course, these are just three ideas, and there is no shortage of opinions of what makes for great content marketing. Do you have a tip of your own for taking your content to the next level? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
About the Author
Brendan Cournoyer is a content manager at Brainshark, a sales enablement platform provider that helps companies more effectively prepare employees, engage with key audiences, and advance business opportunities. For more musings on the world of content marketing, SEO, and more, follow Brendan on Twitter @brencournoyer.