Finding and connecting with prospects in 2016 is no longer as easy as placing an ad or sending out a direct mail piece and waiting for the leads to flow in. Today’s buyers are savvy – most will complete 70% - 80% of their research online before engaging with an organization – so it is critical that your online marketing strategy includes content that appeals to every stage in the buyer’s journey.
But the reality of creating – and keeping current – all of that content can be overwhelming, and often feels like an uphill battle. Whether you own a small business or are part of a large marketing team, creating original content takes time, energy and focus (not to mention budget) that you may not always have available to dedicate to the task. And with research proving that the companies that post more frequently are seeing exponentially more traffic headed to their sites, all signs point to the fact that this is a task that you can not ignore.
So how will you solve the content challenge? The good news is that there is no shortage of expert research, opinions and insights available to help set you in the right direction. Here are a few of my favorites below:
My favorite post is this one from Copyblogger; they created the infographic that you’ll find at the bottom of this post. Their 22 suggestions include categories like “Take a page from someone else”, “Create content without creating”, and one that I’m using right now, “Compile a list of favorite posts from other blogs”. Whenever we find ourselves searching for a new idea, we look here for some immediate inspiration.
Did you know that only 38% of B2B marketers think their content marketing is effective? Backed by their B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report, this blog post from the Content Marketing Institute not only highlights the most common concerns for this group, but also includes suggestions from experts on how to overcome them. Some of the suggestions may seem obvious – like “Plan your week in advance.” – but I’m willing to bet that if you’re reading this blog post, you’re not consistently planning.
Sticking with the B2B group, this post from Branding Magazine also references the report from the Content Marketing Institute. This post highlights interviews with CMOs at the Incite Content Summit in Chicago, asking them each three questions:
- What should CMOs do to help potentially skeptical CEOs and senior leadership understand and support content programs?
- How does a B2B CMO, who may come from a more traditional marketing background, need to shift their mindset to make the most of content marketing?
- In the data-driven, analytics-guided world of content marketing, can creativity really make a difference?
Their answers created several themes and insights, including a list of often overlooked essential for success in content marketing.
Of course I have to include a blog post from HubSpot in this list. This post highlights the biggest content marketing challenges, again referencing the Content Marketing Institute reports for both B2B and B2C marketers. The winner for the biggest challenge – by a landslide – is producing engaging content. No surprise to those of us in the industry, but the research-based solution outlined in this post is worth reading.
So how do you create content that engages?
All of these authors agree that the number one challenge for content marketers is creating content that engages, so these next two blog posts focus on exactly that. 4 Tips for Creating B2B Content When You’re at a Loss for Words and 10 Tips for Writing Engaging Web Content include a number of suggestions both for inspiration and narrowing your topic to truly engage your target audience.
Without a doubt, the challenge of creating content is real, but with experts like those who created the posts above, it is one that you can definitely overcome. And if you still need inspiration, just take a look at the 22 suggestions in the infographic below!