Why a 300% Increase in Branded B2B Content Isn’t Attracting More Engagement
Despite a huge increase in content created by brands in the past year, the effort is largely lost on readers. Why? I am sure the brands that invested in this effort would like to know along with any other marketer interested in investing in content. The answer lies dynamically between two major forces in content marketing: what is created and how it is distributed to prospects.
Recently, AdWeek analyzed over $16 billion in omnichannel marketing spend and how it performed. The startling truth was that despite a 300% increase in branded content created in the past year, the readership and impact of that spend was almost exactly zero. This won’t stop marketers. The opportunity to reach a massive audience using online content through inexpensive social media channels has too much potential. Besides, print and other means of reaching viewers is all but disappearing. So, what should marketers do to get more readership?
1) Broaden the message and make it speak to a narrower group of buyers.
Ok, this may sound complicated, but allow me to explain. The problem with the content that I read online is that it misses me on two fronts. First, it is too technical. It shames me with my ignorance of complicated marketing concepts and knowledge of all the latest tools. While the writers may think that impresses me, it actually makes me stop reading. The same might be true of the content you are writing. Content needs to explain in simple business terms why someone should consider your business proposition. Secondly, and as importantly, online content needs to offer me answer to my business problems. If you want to sell to a CEO, answer the questions and problems she has. If you’d rather speak to a CFO, do likewise. However, if the content is too broad to speak to either, you will lose them both. Don’t over-complicate show executives how you solve their biggest problems.
2) Leverage social media to position and place the content with buyers.
There are two ways brands distribute content. The first is paid social and digital. The second is organic distribution via brand social media channels. The problem is that the public has become impervious to advertising and that includes social. We all laugh at the snarky Wendy’s Twitter feed, but when it comes to consuming their online content we are blind as bats. The American Marketing Association says that things that brands post online are 6-7 times less likely to be clicked on than content published by individuals. Using your B2B sales force to distribute content is missed by an estimated 94% of companies today. Why? Because it is tricky to activate social selling and have sales reps catch on. Social selling is a new skill and requires coordination with marketing which has never been a strong suit with sales teams.
If you’re creating content today or plan to invest don’t fall into the trap of zero engagement. It is avoidable with a little forethought and budget when considering how to best distribute your messages.