The Storm Drain *The New Content Era*
Discover what's wrong with content marketing and what we can do to fix it
The Storm Drain
*The New Content Era*
Discover what's wrong with content marketing
and what we can do to fix it
What's Wrong with Content Marketing?
The trouble with content marketing is…
When Elon Musk recently sent his Tesla into space in one of his rockets, there were many raised eyebrows.
Take a moment to think about it though, and you can actually picture Musk’s car sitting in that rocket, ready to launch.
It’s an image that aside from being exceptionally memorable, embodies two of America’s greatest patriotic accomplishments: the motor car, and man landing on the moon. It's a great example of the power of visual persuasion.
You can actually picture Musk’s car sitting in that rocket, ready to launch.
When it comes to content marketing today, these are exactly the sorts of things we should be thinking about:
- What does it take to capture the hearts and minds of our readers, and bring content to life beyond the page?
- How can we, as businesses, craft content that truly informs and inspires to stand out?
- And why, in a world where there’s so much technology and information available to us, do we continue to fall into the same content traps?
In this, the first issue of our Turtl content marketing series, we're delving deep into the world of B2B content to answer these questions, helping you to craft truly memorable content. Enjoy!
The money you waste by getting content so wrong
the budget blackhole
Despite the vast amount of content published and shared online everyday, only 20% of marketers cite their organisation’s approach to content marketing as ‘very successful’.
This figure, published in the Content Marketing Institute's report 'Content Marketing in the UK 2018—Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends’, is a stark reminder that investing in content is no longer simply about spending.
Going for gold requires a nuanced understanding of the potential pitfalls that can lead even the most experienced of marketers down a budget black hole.
Start by documenting your strategy
More than three fifths of marketers revealed they don’t have a documented content strategy, and almost a quarter claim not to have one at all - written or otherwise.
Businesses waste a lot of money on content nobody cares about.
Engage through format
Content should be compelling and worthy of your audience's time and attention, both of which are valuable resources. The era of one-way marketing is long gone - two-way and multi-channel engagement is key.
The average marketer spends a third of their marketing budget on content - this is despite the fact that less than half measure their content marketing ROI. We challenge you to name another business discipline that could get away with this.
Invest in quality
There's no denying that creating quality content is time consuming and costly, yet many businesses waste a lot of money making content nobody cares about.
Considering each of these aspects carefully will ensure your time, money (and audience) aren't sucked into that dreaded black hole.
Business content is static and unengaging
Studies have found that readers only consume 20% of content and will quickly lose interest if it's not relevant or meaningful. For this reason, the quality of content and the format it's delivered in are more important than ever.
Consider, for instance, the challenge of trying to navigate a text-heavy, 'single scroll' PDF - especially when you’re talking about something as long as an annual report. Yet somehow, PDF has become a tool-of-choice with which most businesses create online content.
When you look at the way we, as users, like to read and share content online and map that against the limited capability of the PDF, it seems strange that this is how we, as brands, choose to communicate digitally.
Consumer apps such as SnapChat, Twitter and Instagram have built businesses around their dynamic user experience offerings. Consider for a moment what the B2B world could stand to learn from this.
Given that we now consume far more content online than offline, it's bizarre that businesses do not have an online-first content strategy
In a world where so much information is readily available, continuing to do what we've always done is not a viable content strategy.
The bottom line is this: passive, non-interactive experiences lose audience interest faster than ever before.
People demand better -
Sometimes the trick is to prioritise what not to say.
It's easy for businesses to fall into the trap of telling readers everything - the true challenge is telling readers the right thing.
Technology can enable you to serve up relevant, personalised content to your audience. Access to data and analytics means that there's no excuse to be delivering content that no one is opening, let alone reading.
New B2B formats and platforms make use of polls, interactive images, videos and more, inviting readers to engage with content.
Forward-thinking marketers are taking notice of these technologies and integrating them into their marketing teams and processes to drive greater results.
You can tell your readers anything; you cannot tell them everything.
Getting Your Content Right
Think like a CFO, act like an editor
= active audience
Crafting sticky content is about more than what you say -
it's about how you say it.
Bold images, videos, polls, audio and infographics are all innovative and dynamic ways to get your audience to engage for longer and interact with your content.
The key is to keep your audience active; make sure blood is flowing to their brains - it will actually help them retain information.
After all, people think in pictures, not words. When they see the movie adaptation of a book, they say: "Wow! That wasn't how I pictured it."
Infinite scroll, infinite void
If visual inspiration is content marketing's ally, then infinite scroll is its enemy. So much of what we, as users, read online is consumed through scrolling, during which time the brain becomes passive.
"If visual inspiration is content marketing's ally, then infinite scroll is the enemy."
It also pays to remember that we read offline content in a very different way from that which we read on a screen. It's not enough to simply publish offline content on the web and expect a high return - our audiences have come to expect better than that.
Media brands outside of traditional publishing know that experience is paramount, and there’s certainly nothing new in the notion that UX design is becoming more important to consumer-facing companies.
"People don't remember what you said or did, they remember how you made them feel."
Yet sometimes we neglect the user experience when designing materials or content for business. Just because we’re business-facing doesn't mean we should forget how these interactive experiences drive greater impact.
Don’t ‘set and forget’
Good stories last long after their first telling. Your content too should remain vital and active after its publication.
Too many brands make the mistake of creating content, blasting it out, then forgetting all about it. But true content marketing is not a ‘set and forget’ exercise.
Take giving a presentation at a conference. If you're a seasoned speaker you probably read the mood in the room to make sure you’re being well-received. If people seem bored by what you’re saying - you don’t continue on the same track. Instead you pivot and change direction.
Smart marketers publish their content and then track its consumption in real-time using analytics. Understanding how your content is faring in the real world will empower you to instantly respond and optimise, catering to the exact preferences of your audience.
It's about tracking how your readers feel about your content, then giving them more of what they love and less of what they don't.
Analytics should be regularly reviewed and content updated to maintain relevance. Strategy should be agile and take into account audience engagement.
Move the content dial from a static, isolated practice into a performance art; delivering far better results in shorter time frames.
The New Content Era
Empower your marketing team
for a new generation
We have now entered an era of living content. Thanks to the availability of diverse technology and real-time analytics, content is updated many times during its life, each one an iteration towards a more effective piece.
Marketers who are comfortable with this shift are empowered to deliver visually stimulating, interactive experiences to excite and engage.
Smart tools are enabling better read times, deeper engagement and consistency between devices - from smartphones to tablets to desktop. What's more, these tools are becoming smarter by the week, allowing marketers to generate magazine-quality content at the click of a button, to excite and entice readers.
In turn, digital readers are becoming more loyal brand advocates, capable of influencing popular opinion and generating greater content exposure, spreading the word about products and services within their network.
fast and slow
Pace may be the number one challenge
facing business marketing today.
As the number and diversity of voices continues to grow, so too does the task of cutting through - particularly, as we've seen, in the world of B2B content.
In an era of "always on" communication, we've been led to believe we need to produce a constant stream of short, quick-fire content in order to make our voices heard.
"By getting people to read your marketing content slowly, you'll get them to their destination quicker."
Nick Mason, Turtl CEO
While there are elements of truth to that, there is growing room - and indeed, demand - for agile content that is generated fast and consumed slow. After all, the very reason you're creating content in the first place is to engage an audience.
The Content Downpour
Now is the time for action
It's pouring content
In 1758 Samuel Johnson noted that advertisements "are now
so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it has,
therefore, become necessary to gain attention by magnificence
of promises and by eloquence"
Fast forward 250 years and not much has changed - except perhaps the sheer volume of content.
Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp handle 60 billion messages a day. And on WordPress, 91.8 million blog posts are published every month.
Your customers will be flooded with mountains of emails and posts today. They'll be flooded again with more tomorrow. Most will be ignored, no matter how worthy.
At the same time, those customers' content demands and expectations are rising. They are far more likely to be drawn to what they have been recommended by their network. Will ‘grand promises and eloquence’ be enough?
For businesses, this is the perfect storm; an opportunity to utilise tools and technology to not only reach customers, but to truly capture and keep their attention. And attention is the critical factor in guiding a customer along a buying funnel.
Find out how Turtl can help you engage with customers by delivering dynamic content on the go.