Is the Content in Your Content Marketing Empty “Stuff?”

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Most content marketing research suggests that the adoption rate among marketers – both B2B and B2C – is around 90% or more. It seems just about everyone in marketing is trying their hand at generating content these days … or are they?

Content marketing will be a key part of sustained marketing success in the coming years. But you’ll never achieve it without the right strategy and the right personnel to execute it.

Aberdeen’s content marketing research, for example, states that 92% of marketers report that creating high-quality content is either “valuable” or “very valuable” to their organizations, but only 52% of those marketers rate their execution as “effective” or “very effective.” This of course begs the question; if a large percentage of marketers aren’t actually effective at content marketing, can we really call what they’re doing “content marketing?”

This is an important distinction because if these marketers aren’t actually doing content marketing, but simply executing on a misinformed imitation, they’ll never be able to effectively achieve their desired results. Take how humans achieved flight, for example. We didn’t accept that people who jumped in the air and flapped their arms like wings were, in fact, flying, but just really ineffective at it– that would be bird imitation, not true aviation. Similarly, in content marketing, simply producing a mass of marketing materials or other basic “stuff” can’t really be dismissed as ineffective content marketing because it’s not content marketing at all.

Content marketing will be a key part of sustained marketing success in the coming years. But you’ll never achieve it without the right strategy and the right personnel to execute it. Evaluate your current content capabilities and adjust your content marketing recruitment strategy accordingly.

Differentiating Between Content and Crud

Content marketing research shows that marketers who align their content to the specific buying stages of their prospects achieve 73 % higher conversion rates, on average, than their peers who don’t use this tactic. For general context, that’s about the difference in speed between an elite professional runner who can clock a 4 minute mile (15 mph), and an average athlete who runs a 7 minute mile (8.7 mph). In both instances, though, the two parties are seemingly worlds apart. In content marketing, that’s because aligning content to buyer criteria hinges on the primary thing that separates content marketing from stuff marketing: substance.

5 Identifying Characteristics that Set Quality Content Above the Crud

Clip from Mighty Media Group

For buyers, true content has substance. It matters. (TWEET THIS) It carries weight. It may even have some utility. In the content marketing vocabulary, “content” is synonymous with “asset”– in that it is an object with distinct value. In stuff marketing, though, content is just another word for an object– something that’s been produced for the sake of production. When content marketers align their marketing materials to address the needs and interests of their buyers, they’re working to produce substantial assets– content with content, so to speak– for their audience. Naturally, that’s why we see such elevated conversion rates among these marketers; because their content is worth the conversions for their buyers.

The Downfall of Insubstantial Content

Simply put, stuff marketing fails on the “if you build it, they will come” fallacy…

Content marketing works. With website conversion rates nearly six times higher for content marketing practitioners vs. non-practitioners, and over six times the annual growth in marketing’s contribution to revenue among leading content marketing organizations vs. their peers, you have only two of the countless business cases for why content marketing works.

Stuff marketing, however, doesn’t work. Simply put, stuff marketing fails on the “if you build it, they will come” fallacy – that idea that all you need to do is produce marketing materials, and prospects will magically find you and convert throughout your funnel. Stuff marketing, after all, is only about producing pulpy marketing material, while content marketing has more planning, intent and consumer value. The differentiating factors that divide content marketing as an effective strategy and stuff marketing as… well, something else, include:

A 2-Way Communication Platform

Content marketing requires an active two-way communication network, not only for pushing out content, but for pulling in audience insights. Marketers who listen to their customers through engagement analytics, for example, average a 14.6% annual increase in positive social media mentions, which can help to further distribute their organization’s content. Stuff marketing, however, operates on one-to-many, one-way communications. Stuff marketing ignores the conversational and educational opportunities in engaging communities, and just aims to pump out brand messaging and push products. At best, it’s unsophisticated and haphazard, and at worst, it’s a means to alienate or offend prospects.

 Providing Additional Value Beyond Your Assets

Content marketing isn’t only about creating assets; it also entails collecting, curating, and collaborating with other sources of value for buyers. Whether it’s establishing trust by incorporating third party research, highlighting savvy customers through their own success stories, or welcoming contributed content from industry peers, content marketing builds trust among buyers by creating avenues for validation. Stuff marketing, using marketing materials only created in-house and focusing only on the brand, or its products or services, has no external avenues for validation, and is rarely trusted by buyers.

 Building Blocks for Future Content

As content marketing is about producing quality assets, not just high quantities of materials, it affords marketers the luxury of being able to reuse, repurpose, or refresh effective content to meet any increased demands. Just like reruns of great TV shows, good content continues to inform, engage or entertain target audiences, even when it’s not hot off the presses, so it offers a relatively stable supply. Stuff marketing doesn’t have quality as a hedge, however, so it requires marketers to continually produce more and more marketing materials that often become obsolete soon after their release.

Hiring Content Generators, Not Stuff Makers

If you don’t have the content capabilities you need now, you need to find access to it soon.

One way is to work with a content marketing agency, if you don’t mind giving up direct control over the material you’re putting out. Agencies can be quite expensive but the investment and partnership is usually worth it.

Another option is to accumulate the talent in house through training and content marketing recruitment. Or if your content needs don’t justify a full-time hire, consider content marketing staffing and contracting.

Whatever you decide for your content marketing recruitment strategy, make sure the end result has your brand generating valuable, meaningful content – not empty fluff!


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