Content marketing has grown in popularity amongst marketing professionals over the past few years, with 71% of businesses created more content in 2016 than in 2015 (Smart Insights) and the numbers keep going up. Content provides a way in which to engage and communicate with prospects without actively selling your service, but instead creating an awareness of your business and demonstrating your expertise.
Timing is everything in B2B sales, so content helps supports marketers in their objectives of attracting new prospects, building awareness and nurturing prospects until they are ready to speak with sales.
But the content marketing industry is becoming saturated; the amount of content available is far greater than the amount of time we have to consume it. Businesses are also finding that creating high quality content is a challenge, with 68% of businesses rating their own content as basic or inconsistent (Smart Insights).
Now, more than ever, the quality of content combined with the right distribution strategy is so important. Competition in the inbox is high, as is the amount of content being created. So relevance and timing are key factors to success.
The 3 biggest challenges that content marketers are facing are:
- Lack of time (69%)
- Producing enough content (55%)
- Producing engaging content (47%)
(B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends: Content Marketing Institute)
To outsource or not to outsource?
Nobody knows a business as well as those who work within it; the owners and management team of a business are often subject matter experts. So surely they are the best people to write the content?
Although often this is true, the management team of a business aren’t necessarily skilled copywriters and don’t always have the time or the inclination to produce high quality content on a regular basis.
Often outsourced copywriters can find it easier to position an article and stay focused on a particular subject, as they are not involved in the day-to-day activities of the business. So as long as they are given a clear brief with defined objectives and target audience, they are likely to deliver content of a high quality.
There may be some technical subjects that are more difficult to outsource and are better written by an expert within the business. Copy editing, where a trained copywriter takes outline copy from a subject expert and coverts it into digestible format, can successfully bridge this gap.
In reality, many businesses do a bit of both; in fact 43% of B2B businesses use both in-house and outsourced content creation resources (Content Marketing Institute).
There are a variety of formats with which your content can take, including case studies, infographics, videos, blogs, white papers and guides. Often one piece of content can be re-purposed into several pieces with some copy-editing and graphic design. Many businesses feel that this is area in which they need agency support. Good graphic design can transform a piece of content from good to great!
You may be surprised to hear that the number of businesses that have a documented content marketing strategy has actually reduced, 30% in 2016 compared with 35% in 2015 (Content Marketing Institute). This is a worrying statistic, given that more businesses are using content marketing to generate and nurture leads.
A content marketing strategy doesn’t need to be a lengthy document that takes weeks to compile, but there are some simple foundations that should form the basis of your plan. It should cover how you will deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right people, in the right place.