As a B2B technology marketer, you spend a lot of time, money and effort on content marketing. As well you should. These days it’s not enough to print up some pretty downloadable brochures. Nor can you just build a website that’s basically a “here’s what we sell, buy it” catalog. You have to keep your prospects engaged with your company and its solutions front-of-mind throughout what’s often a protracted buyer’s journey. You do that with strategic content creation and publication.
So why aren’t your prospects reading that content—your emails, your blog posts and your webpages? Why aren’t they downloading your eBooks, checking out your infographics, sharing your social posts? There are a number of convenient excuses—er, reasons—we use, but certainly this is one of the most convenient:
“Prospects and buyers are just too busy to spend the time consuming our content.”
But while it’s tempting to use this explanation for dwindling engagement, is it really true? If people can spend hours every day browsing social media, surely they have a few minutes for thought provoking content, right?
Not so fast. Readership is a value transaction, an exchange of a reader’s valuable time for something equally valuable—information. It might not be that your prospects are too busy, but rather that you’re not giving them anything to hang their hats on.
Is your content providing readers something worth their time? Ask yourself these five questions.
1. Are you producing content because you “have to”—and does it show?
Take a look at your blog calendar. Are you writing about anything and everything, just because you have a schedule to keep? If so, maybe you aren’t giving readers the valuable information they need to form opinions and make decisions.
If your topic isn’t really relevant or it’s too random to connect with your reader, they’ll stop reading—possibly for good. To be valuable, your content has to be relevant, interesting, even entertaining to your audience, not an afterthought.
2. Are you repeating the same story and facts as everyone else?
The blogsphere is stuffed with articles written by Google-ing, consolidating and homogenizing information available online. There’s nothing wrong with researching to build your own case—how else will you uncover the facts you need? But if your article sounds like a rehash or everyone else’s, yours won’t exactly impress your prospects as original or valuable.
If you must create content based on what’s already out there, make the story your own. Put your own mark on it. Find interesting connections between seemingly disparate pieces of information. Turn the “same old, same old” into a unique curation of content, put together in a way only you can do it.
3. Are you rehashing someone else’s point of view, without one of your own?
Blog posts and articles are perfect vehicles for expressing opinions on topics of interest to your audience. But expressing the same opinion as others—just like reporting the same story, the same facts, in the same way—can make your reader mutter, “Not again.”
If you must write about something someone else said, try to express a unique perspective rather than the standard line. Whether you agree or disagree, or something in between, consider writing a direct response to the other opinion. Remember that you—and your brand—should have a unique editorial viewpoint, so use that perspective to make the story your own.
4. Are you writing on a topic—again—just because everyone else won’t let it go?
In any industry, even one as broad as technology, it can sometimes be difficult to find a truly unique topic to write about. It’s only natural for a familiar industry topic to pop up again and again. That’s why it’s so crucial to express your own viewpoint or to put together curated information in a way that is both valuable and uniquely yours. But even if every competitor out there is publishing content on a technology topic—ad nauseum—should you?
Take “blockchain,” for example. Yes, blockchain technology is fascinating, but not for the reason(s) most people think. While distributed ledger technology may eventually underpin software in many industries, is it directly relevant to those industries, aside from data security and reliability? If not, drop it. If you must, simply state your opinion that it’s cool but only marginally relevant to your audience and move on.
5. Finally, are you being your original self?
This question may sound similar to the others. But to ensure your content is being read and shared, being authentic and original is even more important. More than just the words, it is the original thought and ideas behind the words that make the content valuable. When it expresses the true original thought leadership that exists within your company, that content is powerful.
Write content that offers readers an original idea—unique to you, your author, your company—something only you can say. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, just different enough to distinguish you from the rest of the pack, to establish you as a figure of authority in your industry.
Content can be a valuable asset for establishing you as an industry thought leader and for nurturing customers along their buyer’s journey—but only if your prospects consume it. No, not every piece you publish has to cover a brand-new topic. Nor does it have to reveal facts and figures never before uncovered or conceived. It doesn’t even have to explore an absolutely unique thought or viewpoint each time. But to be worthy of your busy reader’s time, give them something valuable—a perspective that’s different than everyone else’s.