Marketers have long known that pushing out too much so-so content and climbing the Google rank-war is a path to dismal conversion rates. Content that is fresh, new, leading-edge, thought-provoking, and yes, answering the readers' pain points has become rarer. The result is, we've gone from expanding knowledge to narrowing it.
How many listicles can a person read, anyway? Or, the rank-ready top 10 list. Marketers can do better.
For too long, the race has been to get anyone - yes anyone - to land on a webpage thanks to a quick search in Google. Even though search engines have vastly improved search results, brand responsibility lies in serving the right content, at the right moment, to the right audience. It shouldn't be a hit or miss strategy.
Now that digital is the lifeline to sales taking a buyer-journey approach to content creation and distribution may finally get its moment.
To get there, it means a pivot to a more sales funnel and buyer lifecycle approach. And the good news is, a pivot is often a game-changer. Remember the movie JAWS directed by Steven Spielberg? What people don't know is the significant script and photograph pivot Spielberg had to make due to mechanical problems with the animatronic shark. Instead of seeing the shark throughout the film (as planned), moviegoers saw only its terrorizing and looming fin. That pivot, though, made the film a blockbuster and famous.
The now-famous animatronic shark and the pivot Spielberg had to make due to mechanical problems made JAWS a blockbuster and famous.
The JAWS analogy is a backdrop to how significant change makes us better if we take the right mindset. By not bemoaning the now, but instead seeing the present as a new opportunity, innovative possibilities can begin.
Spielberg could have scrapped the film, but instead, he saw how changing the script brought the film even closer to the experience his customers wanted. How does this relate to content creation? Simple.
By improving the targeted audience's experience and understanding where they are in their pain-point search and meeting them at each stage of their buying journey, can content be of value to sales and the financial well-being of a company.
As companies move to a digital-first approach, the opportunity to serve better content increases through listening to the audiences' needs and pivoting when needed. Digital provides a wealth of ways to connect, listen, and interact with potential, current, and past buyers; this means that when companies strategically use content marketing, they have a competitive advantage through their in-depth knowledge of their audiences’ needs.
To highlight this is the doubling of webinar ads run by B2B marketers to fill the gap left by cancelled events and the decline of in-person contact with prospects as reported by MediaRadar. As companies look to new ways to reach potential customers, they look beyond traditional channels and are open to new marketing tactics. As B2B marketing leader Jay Hinman puts it, we are in the "current golden age of online, digital-only events."
Virtual interactions with customers and prospects can lead to a more personalized and relationship-building approach to understanding and building content tailored to each stage of the buyer's decision-making journey. Seldom used pre-COVID-19, but now being used more are Twitter chats, virtual coffee breaks, LinkedIn lives, to name just a few.
It is not only the C-suite who are holding these virtual sessions; employees in diverse roles are now meeting prospects and customers for the first time.
Only time will tell how it will all play out in the long run. As the barriers between sales and marketing slowly dissolve, and as companies look to new and innovative ways to communicate with prospects and customers, content marketing will play an even more vital role.
Next in the Digital-First series, we'll look at how podcasts provide opportunities for B2B companies to reach new audiences and build trust with them.