There may well be a disconnect between strategy and execution in B2B marketing.
While businesses usually don’t think twice about investing in research, personas and messaging platforms, when it comes to execution, someone is usually counting pennies. It seems to me B2B spends a lot of time perusing whatever tactics are on sale at the discount store.
For all the sophisticated visual representations of the buyer’s journey – Venn diagrams, inverted funnels and figure-eight models – the net result of these meetings often boils down to increasing the volume of email marketing or spending more on PPC.
In other words, we spend lots of time mapping what content is needed, for what persona, at what stage – and then wind up sending more emails offering discounts.
It’s been a trend in content marketing too. B2B marketers seem to think that buying content by the pound and then throwing it at Google is the path to scale. But it is not. Marketing output volume is to scale what shouting is to intelligence. Yelling at someone doesn’t make you — or them — any smarter.
And that’s the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links (UML) – content marketing by the pound. Below you’ll find three articles I’ve vetted and I recommend reading in entirety.
1) Scale vs. Tonnage in Content Marketing
What many marketers consider scale, is little more than just added weight. “Tonnage” is what Adam Weinroth calls it in this iMedia Connection piece titled, Achieving Scale in Content Marketing. He’s the CMO for a content marketing tool OneSpot and writes that tonnage transforms brand journalism into “churnalism” or the pursuit of “cheap, anonymous clicks.”
In the piece he sets it up this way:
“…there’s a seismic difference between scale and tonnage. What’s the difference? Tonnage is mostly concerned with quantity, and quality is not a priority. Scale is all about being achieving something that’s extremely effective and of superior quality; it is very hard to accomplish.”
And later adds:
“In marketing, the poster child for tonnage would be the prototypical banner ad campaign. It’s not very hard to produce some ad creative and, in an instant, buy millions of impressions for it. It’s super repeatable and can be implemented globally in no time. But is that really scale? I’d argue it’s just advertising by the ton.”
Tip over the B2B content marketing scale!
See these 7 B2B marketing and PR services that tip the scales
2) There is no Easy Button for Content Marketing
“You can’t just push a button to create content,” according to Pamela Wilson. It takes time to build up credibility in content marketing and the rules for building that authority change, she writes in a piece for Copyblogger called 3 Grim Realities about Online Authority that Will Make You Smile.
“You create content and put it out there. You pay attention to your results. You do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Sometimes you need to try several approaches before you gain traction…The good news is that if creating effective content were as easy as pushing a button, everyone would be doing it and you’d have a lot more competition.”
The fact is there’s a lot of cheap content, but that’s not the same thing as competition. Winning trust in B2B circles requires a lot of hard and sophisticated work. Businesses are finding they can’t win other business as customer by churning out spools of text from a content farm.
3) Do Content Marketing Differently with Long Form
Long form content works: It attracts high-quality search traffic, it improves time-on-page and studies show it generally ranks well. Whatever is your primary content hub, ensure it contains a mix of content that includes long form content.
Small Business Trends contributor Amie Marse, who runs a small content firm called Content Equals Money, lays out a compelling case in a piece titled, 8 Reasons You Should be Creating More Long Form Content. She notes that one of the reasons long form works is because so few actually do it:
“Quartz editor Kevin Delaney proposes that brands should publish either short, snappy articles that are no more than 500 words or long analysis pieces that are at least 1,200 words for the greatest social media performance. He states that everyone publishes articles within the 500-800 range, and articles that standout avoid this cliché.”
I couldn’t agree more. Differentiation is a staple of marketing, if you want to stand out, you have to do things differently. Not better, not faster, not cheaper – but different.
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