Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself pondering ‘what is the future of B2B marketing content?’ It’s obvious that the market is becoming saturated with content as more and more businesses create and curate ebooks, infographics, tip sheets and much more. But with the increase in content, there’s also the unavoidable increase in low-quality content that provides the reader with no insights or key takeaways.
So, with this wall of white noise facing decision-makers, what does the future hold? What will it take to capture the imagination and the budget of businesses over the next 12-24 months? To find out, I posed this question on a popular LinkedIn Group page. Within just a few hours, the replies had started streaming in from senior digital marketers, social media specialists, managing directors, and content experts. Here’s what the discussion uncovered…
Digestible content for the time-poor
As the sheer amount of content online increases, decision-makers have even less time to trawl through every ebook, infographic and white paper. They need to see high-impact information that’s relevant, educational and informative… and they need it quickly. Most C-suite decision-makers were time poor before the arrival of this tidal wave of content, so the chance of them reading everything that lands in their inbox is even less likely now. The solution then is digestible content that gives them everything they need to know, as quickly as possible, i.e. videos and infographics. Given that video is 4 times more engaging than static content and the information retained in 60 seconds of video is equivalent of 1.8 million words (Mavrck) it’s safe to say that video will play a major role in future content production.
Have a personality
Another issue with the influx of B2B marketing content is that a lot of it is starting to sound similar - lifeless, emotionless and frankly rather boring. The point of content is to engage the reader, to interest them and keep them reading until they complete the call to action. If the text is generic and shows no emotion, then maintaining this connection with the reader is unlikely. This means that in order to stand out from the crowd in the onslaught of ‘boring’ content, use a conversational tone, an engaging tone of voice, and don’t be afraid to show some personality in the writing.
Optimisation is essential
Just as decision-makers don’t have time to read long text, or meander their way through boring copy, they also haven’t got time to wait until they are on a PC to view content correctly. Each piece of content produced from now on (if it’s not being done already) needs to be optimised for all devices – mobiles, tablets, PCs etc. Any failure to do so will likely have a negative effect on the result and ROI. When decision-makers’ time is of the essence and attention spans are stretched to breaking point, content must be able to display correctly on whatever device they are using at that time.
A key factor which the discussion uncovered was the use of automation tools, the partnerships between content management systems and the need for systematic distribution. In a flooded marketplace, it’s important to ensure that decision-makers continue to read your content instead of someone else’s. This means lead nurturing tactics need to be in place and operating an optimum level. The ideal way to ensure this happens is to employ the talents of a marketing automation system. By also incorporating other content management tools such as video hosting, it’s possible to provide a integrated multi-channel marketing campaign and closed-loop reporting.
It’s no surprise that in a world awash with content, the best solution is to ensure the content you produce is highly targeted to the needs and pain points of your decision-maker. Generic and ‘fluffy’ content is even less likely to attract and maintain their attention in the highly competitive landscape. Before embarking on any content creation strategy, it’s vitally important to produce persona documents and fully understand the prospects and decision-makers. More so now than ever before, these personas need to be utilised to inform the future pieces of content created by your company. Failure to do this will dramatically increase the probability of the content generating no results and sinking into internet obscurity.
What do you think?
Use the comments box below to tell us what you think the future of content will be and how we can best prepare for what’s ahead.
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