“Do you ever feel like you’re just talking and talking but nobody’s really listening?” – Jerry McGuire.
In a town like Los Angeles, that may be an extremely difficult feat, especially when it seems these days everyone is pounding their chests through social media, websites, and blogs. But in all the white noise that is out there right now, how do you cut through the clutter and get your voice heard? Now more than ever it’s not just that content is king, but rather QUALITY content that matters.
Research shows that the buying process is a highly emotional one, one that lends itself to ir-rational behaviors and heuristics, or quick methods of coming to a solution that is, at best, educated guesses. The emotion that most impacts most buyers is fear (e.g. job security, loss of professional credibility, monetary loss, etc.).
While there is organizational risk involved in the process (often stated in the procurement or RFP process), personal risk is what marketers must seek to understand best. This type of personal risk is often unstated, different for each person in the buy-ing committee, and a potential source of internal tensions and ineffective buying processes.
Content is not just white papers, webinars, and web pages. It includes a wide range of information your company uses to educate buyers. This is thought leadership and can include:
- Case Studies
- Information Guides
- Microsites/Web Pages
- RSS Feeds
- Online Courses
- Product Data Sheets
- Reference Guides
- Resource Libraries
- Webinars / Webcasts
The Three Rs of Content Marketing Optimization
Many marketers are faced with content marketing challenges because of materials that are out of date, out of place, or inappropriate for your target audi-ence. In this case, the marketer must use the three Rs of content marketing optimization:
When you reorganize content, you are taking pieces of existing content and restructuring it in a way that is more useful to your prospects or customers. This is a great way for companies who have lots of information but not a lot of structured content available for their prospects. There are many ways to do this, like compiling blog and web content in a white paper, or by using brochure content as the foundation for a new video.
Companies often find it useful to rewrite content when the content they have is either dated or has been exhausted due to a high level of previous consumption. When this happens, it is often recommended to rewrite your content. Rewrites are often less time consuming than creating new content but will still need time and attention to execute properly. When rewriting, you want to ensure the rewrite is compelling and more successful than the original.
Every piece of content will have a limited shelf life. This means that you cannot use the same content indefinitely. If content isn’t performing as well as it should, or if its consumption has significantly decreased and you do not think it will be useful to reorganize or rewrite, then it is time to retire it from your content library. This may be obvious with papers that are specific to a certain date or event, like a list of events that happened during a specific year or lessons learned from a specific trade show, but it will also be important even when less obvious events occur, such as changing trends that cause a topic to no longer be of interest.
Marketers who are getting the most out of their content are utilizing all the different types of con-tent to generate demand. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Your prospects will all have their own preferred way of consuming content, causing you to miss many potential interactions with prospects if you only offer one type of content.
- Utilizing research or information on one topic of interest in many content formats will allow you to get more return out of your content development.
- Different types of content may give you a competitive edge, making you appear as a thought leader or appear as if you have dedicated more time to the creation of your content.
- The type of content consumed by prospects changes as they go through their buying stages, causing prospects to search for information via competitors if they don’t find what they need through your thought leadership.
Remember, ultimately it’s not always what you say but rather why you say it. If the message does not resonate with the target audience then the question becomes: Is the message heard at all? Possibly. And if a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound? Probably … but does it matter if no one is around to hear it?