I know B2B content marketing can be infuriating. You spend days crafting the perfect blog post. Every data point is meticulously checked and rechecked. Every turn of phrase witty and fun. You send it live; you wait for the big payoff.
And then, crickets. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. In 2017, 89% of B2B marketers already used content marketing as a strategy, and 70% of B2B marketers said they would produce more content in 2017 than in 2016.
It’s hard to get heard in all that noise. Your beautiful content gets swallowed up in a sea of mediocrity. When it happens enough times, it can be hard to stay motivated. I actually got into an argument with someone on Twitter who told me that bad content is ruining content marketing.
I hear the pain, but this argument is wrong. This argument is emotional.
Seriously, how many times do we have to suffer though disgruntled marketers taking to social media to vent that “there is too much content”? How many times are we going to fail to take responsibility, and instead point fingers at the “the system” or “the over saturation”, instead of admitting that we have control?
Ironically, it misses the fundamental concept behind content marketing. Relevancy.
Relevancy Always Wins
Content marketing works as a strategy because people need value. Your job as a marketer is to provide that value. Value is always relevant. If you create solid, useful, and actionable content for your target audience you will attract attention. To argue otherwise is to argue against relevancy and to not understand the most basic nature of the craft.
Many will try to get around this by arguing that the problem isn’t that their content isn’t relevant. It’s the distribution end of the equation. And yes there are challenges. Increasingly, social media is pay to play. Facebook organic marketing reach is declining. Google algorithm update news is always scary.
But here’s the thing — these aren’t excuses. A diversified content distribution strategy offers too many opportunities to connect with customers to fail if done properly. Email, social media, SEO, blogging, and more offer unprecedented access to people and by extension, unprecedented opportunities for B2B lead generation as well.
Tweets still go viral. Newsletters still generate ROI. SEO still brings visitors to websites. Relevancy always wins.
So let’s be really clear here — if you aren’t seeing the ROI you want from your efforts, you need to look in the mirror first.
Marketing Is Storytelling
Here is the average B2B marketing strategy. Step one, do what everyone else does. Step two, be surprised when you are just part of the noise. When you reduce content marketing to a whirling blur of best practices and data, don’t be surprised when your efforts fail.
The reason your content isn’t being found is because it doesn’t stand out. Period. Here’s a brutal truth: if you don’t believe that good content will get noticed and shared in a hyper-connected world then you should not be in marketing.
I’ve heard it said that marketers are fundamentally sales people. That’s not true. We are storytellers in a world that loves stories. But unfortunately, this aspect of marketing is often lost in the ever-increasing data imperative. As Gary Vee likes to say, intuition is still the killer app. When you reduce storytelling to data and distribution channels, something gets lost in the message.
Passion as A B2B Content Marketing Strategy
Good content marketing is about two things: people and value.
It’s about getting the word out about something that can solve real-life problems for real-life people. It’s about creating a resource that people can use to improve their lives. If you do it properly, people won’t care about all the mediocre content that is out there. They will only care about your content and how much value it brings.
Don’t lose sight of that. Every time you make an argument to the contrary, you are arguing against the reality. Instead, take the passion for storytelling and creating value that got you into the craft in the first place and go create something that expresses that.
And most importantly, take responsibility for what you create. If an audience doesn’t respond to content, it’s not on the audience. It’s on you.