Feed the beast. Tame the monster. Stop the roar. Why do marketers insist on characterizing their content consumers as unruly, insatiable animals?
I suppose it’s because that’s exactly the way many have learned to think of it. For years now, marketing organizations have been trying to create messaging that can fill what may seem like an infinite void. Just keep churning out the content, and somehow, someday, some way, it will all pay off in the end . . . right?
There is a better approach, and now that 90% of B2C marketers and 93% of B2B marketers say they’ve thrown their hats in the content marketing ring, you need to start using a strategy that’s more efficient – and more effective. If you don’t, much of your effort will be wasted, because your customers are becoming increasingly distracted by the marketing messages – the content – bombarding them at virtually every turn.
To be more effective, you need to cut through all that noise. And to cut through all that noise, you need to produce content that’s targeted, useful, succinct, and shareable delivered at the right time within each buyer’s journey.
I’m not suggesting that we simply substitute one impossible beast with another. Rather, the key here is to break the problem into more manageable pieces.
First, take a long, hard look at the data surrounding the content you’re already creating. Analyze it. Find out what your audience wants to consume and how you can best present it to them. In other words, learn which 10% of your content does 90% of the work to create impact.
Then, strive for operational efficiency in your engagement tactics.
For example, our research shows that Millennials turn first to social networks for content discovery, and then to online and customizable newsfeeds. How many of your customers are doing the same? Or let me ask an even more fundamental question; do you know where your customers are engaging with content? (A recent study from Forrester showed that for some top brands, Instagram delivered 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.) Are your customers using Instagram and wondering why you’re not?
As you dig into your customer data, you may also discover where and when to create triggers for communication at different points along the customer journey. Fine-tuning your messaging so customers feel like they’re being acknowledged as individuals –with unique preferences and paths to purchase – can also lead to very effective (and cost efficient) content marketing.
In the end, it’s not about satisfying an endless sea of content consumers. And it’s not about taming. Instead, marketing success today – and even more so, in the future – is all about paying attention to your data and implementing a solid strategy so your content finds the people who matter most, your customers.