How to solve content marketing’s biggest problem (it’s not lack of time or resources)
November 10, 2016
Do you know what would happen if there was no conductor doing his job in front of an orchestra?
A violinist sitting at the front of the stage won’t be able to hear the cellist at the back to be able to start playing at the right time.
More than a few musicians would drop notes, speed up, slow down or not keep pace.
And without a conductor, the volumes of some instruments would be discordantly loud, drowning others out completely.
In short if you don’t have a conductor you won’t get a flawless Beethoven’s 9th. What you will get is a bunch of musical instruments attempting a rendition that would be jarring to the ear.
That’s not something you would want audiences to hear.
But for almost the same reasons your prospects, users, clients and customers are subjected to the same kind of discordant notes when they read your blog, watch your videos or get emails from you.
The overwhelm in content marketing
Content marketing has a big problem!
No, it’s not about producing quality content and promoting it. It’s about doing that over and over again, in a way that’s timely and relevant to the audience. Consider a few stats:
- $135 billion will be spent on digital content marketing in 2014
- 91% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing
- Content creation is the best way for getting to page one of Google search
So, in a scenario where it’s almost an arms race you need to be creative, agile and consistent at producing content. But a lot of businesses are not doing that.
What they do with content is very simplistic. Their thesis boils down to:
Create content once in a while> Publicize and promote> Get readers to buy
But this is not how it really works.
Think back to that time when you bought something with a big sticker price, like a car.
You comprehensively researched all your options, but even when you had settled on a tentative choice one adverse opinion from a friend, colleague or a neighbor might make you re-consider your choices.
So why do you assume that this won’t happen when your prospect has to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in your solution?
In fact, according to a study by GE Capital, customers on an average took 79 days to research major purchases and 80% of that research happens online. They will not only look at your own site, but they will
- consider multiple options
- watch demo videos
- look at infographics,
- download cheatsheets and checklists
- read whitepapers
- listen to what their peers have to say and
- pay attention to chatter.
The traditional marketing funnel.
But the buyer’s journey in the Internet age kind of looks more like this:
A representation of the buyer’s funnel, as depicted by Forrester
And in those 79 days, they will oscillate between various choices before settling on one. Hopefully, it will be you!
So how do you occupy your prospects’ mindspace, give them the content that they want at the right time so that they can make an informed decision and see you as a trusted advisor?
You want to give them memorable, useful content over and over again, at the right time. But content creation takes effort and resources and you are probably not a media company like Buzzfeed or New York Times where content is at the core of the business model.
You have swimming pools to install, buildings to design, software to sell and shoes to ship. You have to make payroll, meet regulatory requirements, carry out R&D and monitor revenue, sales and profit.
Therefore, for most business content marketing falls in the important but not urgent category.
So it might get overlooked, especially if the company is strapped for resources, or is too spread out geographically or does not have a suitable corporate culture.
Streamlining the process of content creation
But you can create high quality content because of your intellectual assets that are invisible. These assets can be:
- Positive customer comments lying in the inbox of someone from your sales team
- Emails from the helpdesk about how to fix particular issues
- Powerpoint presentations by product teams that illustrate how your solution works.
- Notes made on internal forums by senior technicians and engineers
- Wiki articles that are written in one language
- Spreadsheets containing data on testing or surveys
- Explainer or demo videos that have not been transcribed.
Imagine what would happen if multiple teams, including sales, marketing, legal and product development could access this kind of raw data, stored in a central location like a digital asset management (DAM) system, properly organized and instantly searchable:
- You could create success stories and testimonials from those customer quotes.
- You could create a welcome email series walking customers through your solution or your product, including tips on how to use hidden features.
- You could easily create a technical whitepaper by referring to those notes made by the subject matter experts.
- You could use the video that was shot in English, transcribe it and caption it into multiple languages.
- You can create comparison charts from the spreadsheets or whip up an infographic that’s not merely fluff, but meaty and backed by data.
Of course you won’t transcribe a video using a DAM – you have video editors for that. But, without a DAM in place you might not even know if these videos existed, on some local network in some division of your company. Similar with other examples – with a DAM in place all your digital assets would be instantly accessible and you could get very creative, and publish high quality content without going through the pain of initial research over and over again.
Stop reinventing the content creation wheel
The possibilities are endless. All that digital content, already created and stored in a central repository, contributed by multiple teams spread out geographically can be remixed and reused with “time to market” cut down drastically.
You will become more nimble, creating quality content with a uniform voice at a quick clip, and sometimes in real-time with a lean team.
You will increase the ROI of your raw data exponentially as research won’t be duplicated.
Your content marketing strategy will be much easier to implement and will show quicker results.