Do you plan on increasing your content creation goals?
Have you seen a decrease in the success of your content?
You aren’t alone on either front.
A recent study by TrackMaven found that while the output of content per brand increased by 35% per channel across 2015, content engagement decreased by 17%.
Content creation overload has reached a point where readers have an ever-increasing amount of content to choose from while their attention and interest remain the same. The supply is drastically increasing as companies work to keep up with their industry, but the demand remains the same. This is why your content marketing is suffering from the law of diminishing returns.
Don’t expect the problem to go away any time soon, either. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 76% of B2B marketers plan to produce more content in 2016. Marketers are moving full steam ahead despite the fact that the B2B organizations, which state they are effective at content marketing, have actually decreased from 38% to 30% since last year.
What’s the Solution?
If you think the solution is to pack it up, declare content marketing dead, and search for the next great marketing approach – don’t be so dramatic. In fact, there is hope, and the most effective companies are finding great success in reaching their audience through content marketing. Content Marketing Institute found the following factors increased an organization’s effectiveness at content marketing:
- Experience (64% of sophisticated/mature marketers say they are effective)
- A documented content marketing strategy (48%)
- A documented editorial mission statement (49%)
- Organizational clarity on what content marketing success looks like (55%)
- Daily or weekly content marketing meetings (41%)
My takeaway from these findings is that effectively cutting through content overload takes two things: (1) time and (2) a very clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish and what those accomplishments look like.
As you put your new content creation strategy together, with the understanding of the increasing engagement challenges marketers face today, here are some tactics you should incorporate to cut through the noise:
Create Long-Form Content
I wanted to title this section “Create Quality Content,” but it’s such a cliché nowadays that I wouldn’t blame you for skimming right by it. Cliché or not, the statement rings true. In a world where companies are stuffing as much content as possible onto their blogs, social and other channels, the content that stands out is the pieces that offer tremendous value.
Pick a topic that you can write deeply about and cover it thoroughly. According to Tim Ferriss:
“I focus on evergreen/useful content that is as valuable 6 months from now as it is the day it’s published. It might mean less immediate traffic, but it means sticky traffic and also Google traffic that will add up to monstrous traffic later. This all factors into conversion and sales, if that’s your priority.”
If your traffic to each individual blog peaks in the first few days and then dramatically decreases, you may be able to see the value in higher quality, longer-form content pieces. Your content should build momentum over time for you to get the full value from it.
This requires you to invest more time and money upfront to create a more engaging and shareable piece of content. So exactly how long should the content be? There is no right answer. Whether it is 400 words or 4,000 – make your content as long as it takes to cover your topic deeply.
However, there are some best practices. serpIQ performed research on how content length affects SEO. They found that 1,500 words performed well on average. Over all of the SERPs they studied. However, the top 10 results all averaged over 2,000 words. Long-form content creation does help.
To quote Tim Ferriss again: “Nearly ALL of my most viral posts are more than 3,000 words.”
Niche Down Even Further
When your company first launched a content marketing initiative, you hopefully chose specific niches you wanted to target. Trying to target your content for “technology companies” was ridiculous when you would be competing against thousands, even millions, of other content pieces targeting the same keywords and markets.
Now, you and your direct competitors have made your specific niche just as crowded as the larger industry once was 5 or 10 years ago. Getting a piece of content to rank for “B2B cybersecurity tactics” is just as difficult today as “technology companies” was when you first got started.
What’s the solution? Just like in Leonardo DiCaprio in “Inception,” you need to head down to another level.
We recently talked about Seth Godin’s TED Talk on Tribes, where he discusses how the internet, rather than creating interconnectedness, has actually siloed us even further. “You can find Ukrainian folk dancers and connect with them,” he says.
Get even more specific with who your target market is, and then create content specifically directed at them. According to DragonSearch, 61% of customers are more likely to buy from a company that creates this kind of custom content.
That’s why 52% of marketers support 2 to 4 roles and buyer personas with dedicated content.
Differentiate Between Content Goals
A piece of content that tries to appeal to many different audiences will end up appealing to none of them. Content that tries to accomplish multiple different goals will end up failing at all of them.
Companies are gaining a better understanding of the many, many uses of content marketing. It isn’t just for lead generation. Content marketing can help organizations achieve goals in sales, PR, recruiting, and customer engagement, among many others. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top 5 goals B2B marketers have for content marketing in 2016 are:
- Lead generation (85%)
- Sales (84%)
- Lead nurturing (78%)
- Brand awareness (77%)
- Engagement (76%)
Content marketing is going to be doing some heavy lifting this year. Unfortunately, while using content for many different goals is a good thing, trying to accomplish several goals with the same piece of content is not. The reason so many companies are ineffective with their content marketing is that they are taking a shotgun approach and expecting their ever-increasing quantity of content to produce more and more results and satisfy more and more goals.
Instead, set a specific goal for every piece of content you create. If your goal is to nurture your leads, you should create a valuable piece of content that is targeted to their stage in the buyer’s journey and speaks to their specific challenges.
Final Thoughts on How to Make Your Content Creation Stand Out
Fighting your way through content overload doesn’t take some secret formula. Your goal is to create the absolute best piece of content. Sounds impossible when I say it like that, right? Let me be more specific. Your goal is to create the absolute best piece of content for your specific audience to solve their specific problem and achieve your specific goal.
Don’t try to win against the millions of pieces of content being published this year. Just try to win your audience’s limited attention.
What tactics do you use to make your content stand out? Let’s discuss this on our LinkedIn page!