The more the merrier? Not Quite.
Consider this: it’s estimated that the modern customer is exposed to around 10,000 branded messages each day. Whilst this number has never been validated, it’s a truly astounding figure, and if it’s anywhere near being true, it makes for a very noisy marketplace.
Even an idiot could tell you that adding a load of additional content to the cacophony is not the answer.
When we’re creating advertising, it’s all about really understanding the audience and delivering a really relevant, single-minded message that cuts through the noise. Find the message that cuts through, and ultimately your marketing spend will be more effective.
Translate that into content strategy speak, the principle is this: Quality over Quantity.
By consistently producing relevant, value-adding and high-quality content, you’re more likely to engage your audience than through a flurry of fluff pieces.
A tale of two strategies
Xero’s content strategy is a prime example of a customer-centric approach. By delivering high-quality, useful content, they add value to their customers’ experience, foster trust, and position themselves as an authoritative voice in the industry. From educational blogs to whitepapers, to webinars and video tutorials they’ve become a voice of authority for small businesses.
Kudos to the brand.
In stark contrast, consider the tale of <name redacted>, a mid-sized UK B2B business. In an attempt to maintain engagement and stay in front of their customers, they decided to send out daily newsletters.
Instead of the desired effect, their daily news delivered (unsurprisingly) a drastic drop in open rates and conversions and high levels of unsubscribes. The takeaway? A content strategy that focuses on ‘more’ instead of ‘better’ may not be the best approach.
Or put another way, it’s a strategy that greedily eats up resource, and then vomits negative performance.
Always think quality over quantity; it’s not rocket science.
The case for quantity
But don’t think for a second that quantity doesn’t count. In the B2B space, HubSpot have reported that companies that blog 16+ times per month get 3.5x more traffic than those that blog 4 or fewer times per month.
They may hold some bias, but it’s fair to believe that increased volume can have a positive impact on your marketing efforts if it’s done well. Let’s say you doubled blog output – how could that positively improve your marketing performance?
SEO: More content = more opportunities to incorporate relevant keywords, helping your website rank higher on search engines. Each new post creates a fresh opportunity for your site to be indexed, which can help your organic search results improve.
Visibility: Regularly posting new content can help you stay front of mind and increase your brand’s visibility – especially beneficial on social media platforms where content is chronologically sorted.
Audience Engagement: More content can lead to increased audience engagement, assuming the content is valuable and relevant to your audience. Regular content can give your audience more reasons to visit your site and interact with your brand – but clearly, if it’s dross, they won’t.
Authority and Trust: By producing more high-quality content, you can establish your brand as an authority in your field. Leading to increased trust and credibility – and increased propensity to choose your brand over others.
But please, please, please; always remember that poor quality content can negatively impact your brand image, audience engagement, and SEO.
So it’s got to be good.
The Art and Science of Visibility
Creating the right amount of top-notch content is only half the equation. The other half is ensuring it gets seen and heard by your target audience; a well-crafted distribution strategy is as vital as the content itself.
Building a Community
The foundation of a successful content strategy is (as always in marketing) a deep understanding of your target audience. How you go about doing that will be down to you – but whether you use social listening, psychographics, behavioural analysis or just plain old experience and knowledge – make sure your content is stuff they care about. Don’t bother creating content without insight, it’s a waste of your time.
BUT, armed with insight you can then position yourself as a regular and active presence where your audience is. Engage through comments, answer their queries, and provide valuable feedback. Interaction cultivates a sense of community and builds trust.
There’s a saying in sales circles that ‘people buy from people’, not companies. If you can humanise your brand and make genuine connections, you’re more likely to see better engagement and conversions.
Widening Your Reach
One of the biggest issues facing B2B marketers is that they have low reach. And one of the most commonly asked questions is ‘why am I spending time, resource and money on producing content when I have no followers?’
It’s a good question. No-one sees it anyway.
But then again, the breadth of your reach doesn’t matter if you don’t resonate with your audience. You could have a million followers, but if your content falls flat, you’re speaking into a void.
Here’s a good example:
Slack’s approach to content marketing, along with their brand and their product’s inherent value, helped them significantly widen their reach amongst tech-savvy millennial workers.
Not only did they deliver content that was relevant and interesting (productivity, remote working, team collaboration etc) they also built a community of active user groups where customers can share tips and advice, alongside webinars and live digital events.
And on top of that, Slack’s casual, quirky and conversational tone, delivered consistently at every touchpoint; throughout the app, blog posts, social posts and even within microcopy (the little bits of text within the app interface), helped to create an informal, user-friendly personality – leading to a brand experience that users were willing to share. And millennials LIKE to share.
What’s great about Slack? It’s not just the quality of its content. And it’s not just the quantity either.
Slack is both consistent, and persistent.
Take the long view
In content marketing, consistency pays. Regularly posting high-quality content keeps your brand front of mind.
But building a loyal following takes time, sometimes years. You’ve got to take a long-term view – content marketing is not and never will be the right solution for a business that’s looking for an immediate impact on sales, or even on website traffic
For example, a HubSpot study found that 70% of traffic each month on their blog came from posts that weren’t published in the current month and; 90% of their leads came from blog posts published in previous months.
The American Express Open Forum started as a small content marketing initiative but over time, transformed into one of the most successful content marketing examples in the industry. It didn’t happen overnight; it was the result of consistent, high-quality content and ongoing engagement over several years.
The reality is we’re in the midst of a content war – a battle to be heard, to be seen; but that doesn’t mean we should be spraying bullets all over the place.
Instead, focus on creating high-quality content that resonates; work on expanding your reach with the right people and; and deliver a consistent, on brand, relevant message.
Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. So, keep going, be patient, and over time, you’ll reap the rewards.