Producing content is the number one challenge for any content marketer in today’s inbound marketing world. But the “what” and the “why” of content marketing are just as important as the “how much.” Producing content for the sake of producing content does nothing to help your brand. If you want to succeed at inbound marketing, you need Rifle Shot Content.
Throwing Content at Customers is NOT the Answer
According to the “2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America” released October 24th by Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and Brightcove, 64% of B2B content marketers are challenged with producing enough content.
The top three challenges that these content marketers face as reported in the survey were:
- Producing Enough Content (64%)
- Producing the Kind of Content that Engages (52%)
- Producing a Variety of Content (45%)
But according to the report, CMI and MarketingProfs urged caution when analyzing the change from producing engaging content (the top result in 2011) to producing enough content. “We applaud [marketers] for doing more and trying new tactics,” the report said, “although we must say we are pretty sure throwing more content at customers is not the answer.”
Defining Content Marketing
CMI defines content marketing as a marketing initiative to create and publish “relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Hold up, marketers. Producing enough content is a major concern – but not at the expense of having an effective content strategy.
Throwing content at your target audience is like a shotgun blast – earned blog posts, social tweets, new topic pages and infographics spread across the Internet as a goal to increase traffic. It might work – the more content you distribute, the more channels you have to generate traffic, after all. But content pieces that aren’t strategically placed are like buckshot from a shotgun shell, scattering further and further apart as they travel farther and farther from your goal of converting your audience.
Let’s dissect CMI’s definition of content marketing. If we look at the adjectives that describe “content,” and then at the verbs that describe what the content does, it breaks up like this:
- Relevant – applies to a target user persona
- Valuable – answers a persona question
- Attracts – uses keywords that the persona is searching for
- Acquires – generates traffic from actual target user visits
- Engages – optimizes for social interaction and customer participation
- Drives – utilizes calls to action to interact with users
Chances are, you’ve considered these type of descriptions for your content. You’re creating and distributed relevant content across several channels to engage your target market.
In the mad dash to create content to attract, acquire and engage your target audience, you’re loading up your content marketing gun and firing. You’re blogging, tweeting, posting new pages and increasing your traffic. But your conversion is staying the same. Why?
Rifle Shot Content
It’s not enough to load up and fire off content. Creation and distribution of content is only two-thirds of the battle, and it’s enough to generate traffic – but not enough to drive conversion. What you’re missing is aligning your content – taking aim and picking your shots with the practiced patience of a trained marksman.
Compare the shotgun blast with the rifle shot:
Which one of those do think is more valuable?
By suppressing the urge to churn out content for content’s sake and creating a sound strategy, you begin to align your content.
Let me be clear: inbound marketing is hard. Rifle Shot Inbound Content is HARDER. Going from lots of articles, lots of tweets and lots of link juice blog posts to targeted content that is stitched together isn’t easy. It takes vision, it takes purpose and it takes time.
Imagine, though, if each piece of content that you craft is not only relevant, valuable, attractive and engaging, but was also purposefully linked to another piece of content that was relevant, valuable, attractive, and engaging… and that was linked to another piece of content that was relevant, valuable, attractive and engaging…
You’re not blasting away with a big gun, hoping to hit your audience. You’re not churching out piece after piece after piece, hoping that by flooding the market with signals you can convert.
Rifle Shot Content naturally drives conversion. By aligning your resources, your partner relationships and your owned and earned media and developing content that’s linked together, you provide the path for your target audience to convert.
From tweet to blog to white paper to video to product – like a bullet from a rifle, you open up the sales and marketing funnel and invite your audience to interact with your brand as they discover, compare and covert.
If your content is smart – relevant to your audience, answering a question at each point of contact, and is authentic, interesting and engaging – you attract more, drive more, convert more, and turn prospects into leads, leads into customers, and customers into fans. Like a marksman, you’ll hit your target every time.
Click here to see how Slingshot SEO uses Strategy to develop content across multiple channels to provide increased search engine rankings, more traffic and increased ROI.