It’s that time of year again, now that the 7th annual B2B Content Marketing 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America report has been released. One of the points that really stood out was when B2B marketers were asked to assess the effectiveness of their content marketing strategy compared to a year ago.
It would appear from the survey results that 24% of respondents—virtually one in four—felt that their strategy was much more effective when held up against the light of how things were twelve months ago. And 46% believed the strategy was somewhat more effective. Add these two camps together, and a whopping 70% of those surveyed had positive results to report.
Behind the Numbers: Quality Carries the Day
So how do we ensure that our 2017 strategies are more effective as we move forward? Similar to those who reported positive results last year, fully 70% of those B2B marketers surveyed said that their organizations planned to produce more original content in 2017 than they did in 2016. And yet, 76% of these same respondents—more than three out of four—felt that the quality of content that’s produced is far more important than the quantity.
This creates an interesting juxtaposition between quantity and quality, and their impact on the overall effectiveness of content marketing. It also begs the question: can an organization possibly produce more original content than before and yet still maintain the high levels of quality that have led to their success in the past?
The answer is “yes”—but only if a real sense of clarity is observed. And that means having a clearly defined and documented content marketing plan in place. Failure to implement such a plan up front runs the risk of compromising quality, no matter what the volume of content might be. And yet the report revealed that only 37% of those surveyed have such a plan in place. That’s a red flag waving in the mist.
When Less Is More
While it’s tempting to inundate prospects with a barrage of content that definitively proves that your solution is the best one in the marketplace, what you’re ultimately trying to do is to create a relationship with your prospects—one that not only ensures an initial sale, but secures them as customers for the long haul. That means delivering the right content at the right time to the right segment of your audience.
Having a well-documented plan in place is the first step in ensuring quality results. Your content plan should encompass the range of topics, different formats that you need to create and/or refresh, the style in which that content is delivered, and the general “do’s and don’ts” that marketers must observe in creating content.
It’s also time to be realistic as to what you (and your team) can produce that’s of high value to your audience. It’s better to produce six evergreen pieces that can be re-purposed into different formats than twelve quicker hits. Don’t be trapped by the calendar year and hitting a monthly quota of content!
In our next installment, we’ll examine some of the more nuanced tactics that you should employ to deliver quality—and by so doing, get the most out of your content marketing strategy.