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.
If 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