Content Discontent

Content Marketing - Effectiveness and Difficulty

All companies, small to large, love and hate content marketing.

A recent survey shows that enterprises and small/mid-sized businesses (SMBs) believe content marketing is the most effective inbound tactic. They also rank it as the most difficult. They note that lead nurturing is also tough. This means that they are not achieving their goals, especially at the intersection of content and moving prospects toward buying.

Content Marketing - Effectiveness and Difficulty

I have actually herded cats, and it is simpler than content marketing.

Content marketing is important for multiple reasons. It helps you in being found by prospects. Done well, it creates believability and authority in your brand and your products. And used properly, it can nudge a prospect along their path of discovery toward purchase. Yet few individuals or marketing teams have a critical mass of expertise to make content strategy, planning, creation and timing a reality. Even expensive marketing automation suites are useless if they push poorly conceived content to unwilling consumers at the worst possible moment.

Content marketing is difficult for many reasons, but the ones I witness most often include:

Writers/directors are not born: Most people are not writers. Many people in marketing are buzz word factories. Producing precise, coherent content that addresses a specific buyer genotype at a specific point in the sales cycle requires many creative skills, and few people have them.

Authority requires acumen: Authoritative content requires communicating as a peer to the content’s consumer. Content for CEOs must come from the CEO’s perspective, voice, motivations and experiences. Content for techies must come from their’s, which is entirely different than the CEOs. Marketing people lobbing mindless and repetitive memes produce no ROI and may even alienate key buyers.

What to present, to whom and when: Each buyer genotype enters the sales cycle at a different time and with changing motivations throughout. Content must bring them in, educate them, and nudge them to the next desired action. The number of organizations that map sales cycles by genotypes is tiny, and the few who match content to those people/phase combinations is nearly non-existent.

Yet any company can be a great content marketing organization. The process is slightly more painful than open heart surgery, but it is possible.

Map the strategy: Create a map of your sales cycle, from the first customer Google search to a sales close, and include every buyer genotype. Note when they should enter the process and what their motivations (positive and negative) are in each phase.

ID what is important in each sales phase: Each phase requires differing content, and the content is different for each genotype. The goal is to address the concerns of the moment, remove objections and guide each genotype to their next point of discovery. This map now tells you what content to create.

Hire real writers/directors: Did your last novel hit the New York Times Best Seller list? Then you may not be the best writer around. If in doubt, hire great freelance writers, video directors and other specialists with appropriate backgrounds. Feed them what they need to create each piece of content, checking to make sure their work is accurate and carries your brand and messages.

Refine: Your first content map will be incomplete or incorrect in some ways. You may need to drop some content, create more, or edit the rest. As markets change, so too will your buyers and thus your content map. Refine it as a standing process.

Content creation is more tedious and scientific than it is difficult. But even achieving a 50% success with this content plan is 100% better than most companies, and that puts you in the lead.


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