Nobody is reading your blog. Nobody cares that you have written the same blog piece about your product in 10 different ways. Nobody is sharing your content with their peers. No, excessive blog content is not going to magically “boost your SEO.” No, you are not creating long-term value.
I see this all the time. I work with a lot of small to mid-size businesses, many of them are B2B, and they are the worst offenders of all. In most cases, the term “content marketing” has been thrown around so much that they double down, hire more writing resources, and start pumping stuff out. Only to find out 6 months later that nothing has really changed. All of this content is lying around, but nobody is seeing it. Outbound emails attempt to force it down the throats of prospects, but the response is minimal. Soon, messaging starts to get twisted as marketers push their products harder and harder via content.
Brand marketers believe that their biggest challenge in the content marketing area is “producing enough content.” And I think that is exactly wrong. If you don’t know any better, that is an easy out. “We don’t have the people and budget to create enough content.” You don’t need more. You need to target better.
Does any of this sound familiar?
You need to start over.
I propose that you stop everything, light something on fire, and then start re-thinking your content marketing plan from this new angle. Placement. Where can I place content?
What I mean by Placement
This is a strategy that I have found to be very effective with companies that are caught up in their own content marketing web. Marketers fall into a content creation process as follows:
- Format - I need an infographic, what should it say?
- Message - I should probably talk about Function A of my widget
- Audience - This message probably fits best with our Persona B
- Placement – Hm. How do I get this in front of them?
As you can see, this type of thought process can make you far too Internally Focused. The above person is basing content types and messaging on what they think is important. The needs of the audience aren’t considered until the end of the process, and by that time it’s probably too late. As a marketer, being internally focused is very bad. Being internally focused leads to those dreadful scenarios that I just laid out.
Instead, try taking the above thought process and completely flipping it around. Doing so leads to a customer focused approach, a much better place to start.
- Placement – This thought leading publication needs neutral content.
- Audience – Publication A hits our vertical, and their readers align with our Personas.
- Message – This audience is really struggling with this question/topic.
- Format - A detailed blog piece could explain a great solution for this struggle.
Now we have a built in audience, and are thinking about how we can provide real value for that audience. That is the starting point for what Rand Fishkin likes to call 10x content.
Don’t get me wrong, this process is still not an easy one. Content marketing is not free as most seem to think it is. It has to be earned. With this placement first approach, marketers need to spend a lot of time up front building out a network of relationships. They need to understand the verticals, who the thought leaders in that vertical are, and what publications/websites are most often visited by their audience. Those are the placement options that can provide great opportunity for your business. Some of these may need to be paid outlets, but many more have the opportunity to be earned media outlets.
Once that is done, you just need to get inside the mind of your audience and start providing them value. This audience is built-in and waiting for you to pass them valuable stuff. Not to mention the implicit third party validation that comes with placement on thought leading publications.
Stop just writing content.
Re-think your content marketing.
Focus on placement.
Earn the trust of your audience.