Is Less Content Better? 5 Steps to Simplify B2B Marketing Content

Is Less Content Better? 5 Steps to Simplify B2B Marketing Content
Michele Linn - Wed Jan 13, 2010 @ 10:56PM
Comments: 15

Is Less B2B Content Better?Over the holidays, I was on a cleaning rampage. I organized my basement and in the process, I got rid of boxes of books, and a minivan full of miscellany. It felt great!

Similarly, I think it's a good idea to occasionally "clean house" with your B2B content. Instead of only creating content, it's a good idea to take a step back and go through a similar exercise with your B2B content to determine:

  • What is essential to keep?
  • What needs to be updated and/or repurposed?
  • What is no longer needed?

Why is this necessary?

Lots of content does not equate to usefulness:
I am reminded of a staggering stat I read in Jeff Ernst's eBook, The New Rules of Sales Enablement: Sales ignores 90% of the "stuff" that the folks at corporate give them. One of the main reasons is that there is simply too much info and they don't know where to look (your customers experience the same phenomenon).

I also continually come back to a quote from Malcolm Gladwell: "We have come to confuse information with understanding." Readers don't really want a laundry-list of resources, but rather they want it to be easily educated.

Your first impression counts - make it a good one
You won't be doing yourself a favor if you have a bunch of half-hearted content. If your readers invest time in one or two pieces that are just "so-so," you've probably lost them for a long time.

Too much content can be difficult to manage
In a previous life as a marketing manager, I worked with a product line that was very mature that had a lot of content. And what did this mean for me? I had a lot to keep track of and update. My time could have been much better spent.

So, in the spirit of simplification and focus, here are my suggestions about how to approach content clean up.

Make a list of all of your content
Scour your website and compile a list of all of your content, from webinars, white papers, customer success stories, sales presentations, etc.

Look at download and/or conversion rates
It's useful to see how many people are downloading your content and, even more importantly, what is happening with the leads you collect. This way, you can see what is resonating with readers and what isn't (and apply these insights to future projects).

Determine what to keep
If you have content that is working well and generating the kind of downloads you want, great. Keep this and even think about promoting it more. You may even want to repackage this content in a way that can attract new users. Check out this recent post I wrote for some ideas on how to do this.

Decide what needs to be updated or removed
You will likely find that you have content that isn't quite meeting expectations, and it's important to figure out why. In general, there are two reasons your content isn't working:

Depending on what the issues are, you may want to update the content or remove it from your website.

Organize remaining content
Once you have an updated list of content you are going to keep and update, make sure it is organized in a way that your sales reps and clients can use it. In a future post, I'll give you some ideas on what to how to better organize your content.

What do you think? Do you think that a lot of content is useful, or is it worthwhile to simplify it? What other things do you consider when deciding if you want to keep something?

Related posts:

Read more Savvy B2B posts from Michele

Comments: 15

Comments

1. Beth Robinson  |  my website   |   Thu Jan 14, 2010 @ 02:09AM

I like the philosophy and had two thoughts while reading your post.

1 - Provide a cheat sheet. - Create a page that points to the most important pieces and make sure it's easily findable. You can create multiple cheat sheets for multiple audiences if necessary. This might help if you're in a situation where you can only trim down so much.

2 - Don't leave people hanging. - If this is online content, then work with your webmaster to make sure that every link that you just broke goes to either a comparable in topic but better piece of content or to an apology page with a new directory/search form.

2. Christopher Ryan  |  my website   |   Thu Jan 14, 2010 @ 02:24AM

This article makes some great points about content. Content is critical in B2B marketing - you simply can't rely on sales reps to educate prospects. Most businesses need both quantity and quality of fresh content. The trick is to keep it organized and easy to find. The other important aspect is to create content that is leveragable. In other words, create it once and use it in mulitiple media.

3. Robert Lesser, Direct Impact Marketing  |  my website   |   Thu Jan 14, 2010 @ 02:49AM

Hi Michelle,

The value of content and knowing what to keep or throw out is a squishy area.

The most valuable content is that that converts prospects and not just provokes a response.

One way of assessing the content is to talk to customers (rather than sales) on what works.

An approach would be to speak with recently closed customers and find out what content influenced their decision to buy.

4. Michele Linn  |  my website   |   Thu Jan 14, 2010 @ 09:45AM

@Beth: Great idea about the cheat sheet, especially directed at different audiences.

@Christopher: I agree that organizing your content is key. I see so many companies with the huge list of content, and it's not user-friendly at all. Know of any good examples of how to organize content? I have some, but I am writing an upcoming post on this and would love to point to some ideas that work well.

@Robert; I like your thought about talking to your customers; they often have a useful insight. And, I absolutely agree that looking at conversion rates are ideal if you can do it.

5. Jon Buscall  |  my website   |   Fri Jan 15, 2010 @ 01:52AM

I think there is a strong case for less fluff, more high-quality content. Absolutely.

But I also think that content that engages and directly asks for a response is necessary.

Too much B2B copy uses weasel-words and lame corporate copy; the emergence of blog and social media has changed the way we use language online. And B2B copy needs to reflect that.

So, yes, keep it short and meaningful. But write in a tone that is accessible, not overly corporate and has clear calls-to-action and engages.

6. jamie campbell  |  my website   |   Mon Jan 18, 2010 @ 06:48AM

Great Article, it gets overwhelming at times, so less definatly is more when it comes to B2B and Marketing. Check out our product at http://www.salesfuel.com or view a demonstration at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo3dccpwqh8. Thanks

7. Karen Ambrose Hickey   |   Thu Aug 07, 2014 @ 11:24PM

Great article. However, before starting, I would chart out what I think I needed for the various personas and "buyer's journey." It's hard to be objective when you know what content you already have, but map out your marketing stages and needs and put in descriptions of what you need. Then, go through the steps with a firm mind.

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