Home Home Home

Counting the Teeth in B2B Content Marketing

Date posted: March 27, 2014

Misconceptions have a way of becoming cozy, making their way into even the most assiduous minds. Case in point: Bertrand Russell notes in The Impact of Science on Society, “Aristotle believed that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths.” Looks like someone was distracted instead of reading his Plato.

With increasing numbers of marketing experts wedding content marketing to their strategic efforts, the anecdote is well worth remembering. Fortunately, there are some among us not afraid to look into the maw of the latest marketing prima donna to see if what’s there matches what we think is there. After all, misconceptions can lead to the demise of the best and brightest.

In an Entrepreneur article, Eric Siu, CEO of the San Francisco-based digital marketing agency Single Grain, identifies four big misconceptions companies have about content marketing:

They see content marketing as a checklist of tasks.
If there were a simple formula to content marketing success, everyone would be successful. But there’s much more involved than writing so many blog posts weekly, posting X times per day to Twitter and releasing so many videos to YouTube every month. Siu notes that the industry’s reliance on list posts may be partially to blame, but believes “a much larger problem is the expectation many business owners and marketers hold that content marketing is something you can do once and be done with.”

They take an “if you build it, they will come” approach.
Creating great content is only the first step in a good content marketing campaign. Your content can only go on to be successful if it’s paired with an equally great promotional strategy.

They fail to produce content for all steps in the sales process.
Whenever you create new content, ask yourself, “How does this content piece support my sales funnel?” If you can’t come up with a clear answer, head back to the drawing board.

They limit content marketing to an advertising initiative.
Naturally, your marketing department will play a lead role in your content marketing campaigns. But restricting your campaign initiatives to these few employees can cause you to miss out on the benefits of taking a more organization-wide approach. Do you know what one of your best sources of content inspiration can be? Your customer service employees. All day, every day, these workers are engaging directly with customers, providing answers to the questions that must be resolved before prospects are converted.

In a follow up to Siu’s article, Justin Maas, vice president of client relations at online marketing firm fishbat, adds his take on the current misconceptions in content marketing:

Searching for a content marketing ‘formula’.
“A simple formula of content marketing does not exist. Content marketing is about seeing what works, seeing what doesn’t work, and constantly altering the strategy,” says Maas.

Not promoting content.
Here Mass echoes Liu’s second point: “While great content is important, if it is not promoted, it is a wasted effort. Promotion can vary from business to business, but some successful ways are via social media, email lists, or promotions in brick and mortar stores,” he explains.

Producing content merely to produce content.
“Every post, every blog, every picture should have a purpose. If the purpose is simply to get likes or to fill in today’s schedule, it is not good content. While the content might get a few likes, it will not help generate revenue or brand awareness in any way,” says Maas.

Only producing content to advertise.
“Taking tip No. 3 into consideration, content marketing can still be fun as long as it has a purpose. Content that educates followers and promotes their engagement is a great way to promote a brand and create a following,” Mass explains.

In the end, it’s good to look back to Socrates, who would no doubt tell us the unexamined content marketing is not worth doing. Consider well what you’re doing before you do it; be wary of conceptions that haven’t been proved.