Quality Content Isn’t Everything

Quality Content Isn’t Everything
Savvy Guest - Mon Jul 16, 2012 @ 09:21AM
Comments: 16

The Savvy Sisters are pleased to have Brad Shorr, Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North as our Guest Poster this week.  Based in Chicago he is a writer, blogger and content guru with extensive B2B experience.

 
quill-pen.jpgIf you’re frustrated because you write awesome content that nobody seems to appreciate, this post should be helpful. 
 
Everyone talks about the importance of “quality content,” myself included. However, an obsession with quality content, however you define it, can actually undermine a content marketing program. 
 
The reason for this is fairly simple, if you consider that content marketing consists of two separate but equal activities: creating and communicating. Communication is the “marketing” part of content marketing. If all of your time and energy go into creating content, you are likely to run out of time and energy for the equally important job of effectively communicating that content to the right audience. 
 
Brilliant content poorly marketed is like the proverbial tree that falls in the empty forest. If nobody hears your content, in one sense it doesn’t even exist – in which case it won’t help you generate leads or establish credibility or accomplish any of the other business goals of your content marketing strategy. 
 

How to Cut Back on Creative

 
Here are a few suggestions for scaling back on creative, which will allow you to concentrate a bit harder on the communication side of the equation.
 

Pull back on the polish. Rules of grammar and usage should always be followed, but there’s no need to agonize over every word choice and labor endlessly over sentence construction. Most online readers are in a hurry, looking for substance more than style.

Don’t belabor the backstory. If it’s true that online readers are in a hurry, tell them what time it is, not how to make the clock. Marginally relevant background information, while interesting, can backfire because it keeps readers from quickly grasping your point. 

Stick to one style. A blog post, white paper or infographic might be editorial or informational in nature; it might be an executive summary or highly technical, lighthearted or deadly serious. But it should never be all of the above. Trying to be all things to all people will make your content pretty much useless to everybody.

 

How to Ramp Up Communication

 
Now that you have more time to market your content, here are a few suggestions that will help you get better results, that will allow your great content to bear fruit.
 
Do serious social syndication. Too many B2Bs go through the motions, joining every possible social network and mechanically sharing their content without giving thought to when or how or even why they’re doing it. Smart content marketers study metrics and continually refine the timing, frequency and style of their content shares. Better to spend time here than poring through a thesaurus searching for the perfect adjective!
 
Build relevant social media communities. If a tree falls in the forest and 10,000 irrelevant Twitter followers hear it … you’ve gained nothing. It takes an enormous amount of time to connect with relevant and influential social media participants, and most B2Bs I’ve worked with grossly underestimate the challenge. To get a better idea of how tough it can be, read this post about B2B community building.
 
Pay attention to SEO. Great content without SEO is like a sports car without gas: it looks pretty but won’t get you anywhere. Organic search visibility is critical for B2B lead generation, and today more than ever firms need to stay current on best practices for SEO. Here is an article I wrote that provides a detailed rundown on key SEO changes that affect content marketing []. 
 

Over to You

 Are you struggling to find the right balance between creating content and marketing it? What advice can you share about tackling this problem?

 

(Image credit: #36226548, © ANK -Fotolia.com

 

 

 

 

Comments: 16

Comments

1. customexhibits  |  my website   |   Mon Jul 16, 2012 @ 02:30PM

well put. spending all the time in the world nitpicking over this or that and agonizing over ever little grammar detail isn't going to matter if you can't get it seen. i really like your analogy about the tree falling in a forest, i'm going to borrow that one from you!

2. Erin  |  my website   |   Tue Jul 17, 2012 @ 05:58AM

Agreed. On all accounts. The issue that I continually run into justifying the time/money that should be allocated to content generation in complementary to media buys (and other traffic building tactics). I think what happens in a lot of cases is that media buys happen in one silo, SEO happens in another, traditional web copy changes happen in yet another, etc. etc.. And as a result overall strategy and vision for a given web presence becomes very convoluted.

In my opinion, the biggest challenge with the creation and marketing of content in a B2B enviroment is getting over the assumption that long buying cycles and complicated purchasing processes excuses the need to measure return on investment. As well as the ability to consitently apply the same return on investment metrics (such as single attribution with revenue cycle projections) on all attribution sources.

3. Brad Shorr  |  my website   |   Tue Jul 17, 2012 @ 11:53AM

Hi Custom Exhibits -- By all means, borrow away! Glad you find the analogy helpful.

Hi Erin -- Great points!! You are definitely on to something with the idea that silo-ing undermines content marketing efforts. Integration has always been beneficial, but never more than now. For instance SEO used to be a discipline that could be off in one corner doing its own thing. But now, SEO has become deeply intertwined with social media and content marketing. If companies aren't looking at their "web presence" marketing holistically, they are sitting ducks.

4. Tim Burris  |  my website   |   Thu Jul 19, 2012 @ 03:02AM

“Quality Content Isn’t Everything” agreed and “tree falls in the forest” a good concept too, but my concern is that search engine optimization has increased so massively. Social Media and Content writing is a part of that, if content is not focused properly the business can lose its value in the customers perspective. The point of providing quality content in B2B is that both the parties are aware of the product/services and the in this massive competitive market, you have to show benefits to get clients. That is done through quality content.

5. Brad Shorr  |  my website   |   Thu Jul 19, 2012 @ 08:25AM

Tim, I violently agree with you! For B2Bs, quality absolutely needs to be there in terms of accuracy, relevance and in many cases, insightfulness. And achieving quality is no easy task when you consider many B2B audiences include executives, engineers, and highly educated specialists in a variety of fields. Because of the high quality standards inherent in B2B content, it becomes even more important to conserve creative energy wherever possible, and that's mainly what I was trying to accomplish with this post. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

6. Joe Hasselwander   |   Thu Nov 15, 2012 @ 03:20PM

I too agree with the insights in this post, but would argue the converse is a bigger problem: The over-communication of mediocre content. This article indirectly illuminates the problem of stellar communicators flooding the market with less-than-stellar content. That said, Brad is so right that wonderful content will not just rise above because it's wonderful.

Of course another way to slice this pie is to think of time, place, and context -- why is my content so wonderful, and for whom? Is it the person who doesn't know my brand, or the DM in the last stage of a selection process where my company is still in it? While not easy, highly targeted communications (nurture, MAPs, etc.) can ease the daunting task of mastering all these communication vehicles every time. And yes, your content still needs to be exceptional!

7. Joe Hasselwander  |  my website   |   Thu Nov 15, 2012 @ 03:36PM

I too agree with the insights in this post, but would argue the converse is a bigger problem: The over-communication of mediocre content. This article indirectly illuminates the problem of stellar communicators flooding the market with less-than-stellar content. That said, Brad is so right that wonderful content will not just rise above because it's wonderful.

Of course another way to slice this pie is to think of time, place, and context -- why is my content so wonderful, and for whom? Is it the person who doesn't know my brand, or the DM in the last stage of a selection process where my company is still in it? While not easy, highly targeted communications (nurture, MAPs, etc.) can ease the daunting task of mastering all these communication vehicles every time. And yes, your content still needs to be exceptional!

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