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Why a lot of your content could be a complete waste of time

By December 18, 2018February 11th, 2021No Comments

What if you realised that 30 per cent of your content, press releases, blogs, social media and video delivered no engagement – none, nothing, zilch? That’s 30% of your budget going absolutely nowhere.

Microsoft had this epiphany. A study by the software giant revealed that 30% of what it produced online – on its own platforms and across social media – delivered no return whatsoever.

How did it know?

Econometrics – it drilled deep into the data way beyond clicks, referrals and bounce rates, to truly understand how its content, including, blogs, print, digital and social media, impacted on the purchasing decisions of its customers.

It discovered that clicks didn’t lead to engagement and engagement didn’t always lead to a decision to buy. But most significantly, it found that some of its content just wasn’t good enough and fundamentally failed to engage its audience.

Whether content leads directly to a decision to purchase or simply contributes to brand reputation, it needs to be engaging to stand a chance of doing either. And for content to be engaging, it needs to be relevant to your audience.

That isn’t relevant because you think it is – because your system, hardware, float glass, IGU or service is ‘great’, because its ‘new’, because it’s ‘unique’ and ‘better than your competitors’.

Content becomes relevant because of what the audience gets from it. It’s not about what we want to say but why potential customers should make the time to listen and why what we’re saying is important to them.

So what makes good content?

  1. You need a hook, an angle, a decent headline – give people a reason to stop and listen in a world overloaded with ‘white noise’. Give your content context, remember it’s not just about what you want to say but why someone should listen. Give it a backdrop, identify challenges or opportunities, evidence your expertise and how your product or service offer provides a ‘fit’, solution or delivers opportunity.
  2. Be creative – content can be almost anything that your audience is likely to engage with: press releases, case studies, Q&As, guides, polls, podcasts, opinion pieces, video, white papers, infographics, timelines, and so the list goes on.
  3. Structure – a well-written headline increases the overall number of readers or click-throughs but not the percentage of readers who stay. The content you create needs to be well structured, accurate, informative, well-written or produced. It’s about story telling.
  4. Imagery – your content may be fantastic but ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’. Use of poor quality imagery, or the same image over-and-over again, will switch audiences off to your message. Creative, well composed shots will pull your audience in and help to keep it interested
  5. Create content for where your audience is in their buyers’ journey – awareness, consideration and decision. It starts with brand building, ultimately leading to a product or service-specific purchase.
  6. Frequency – sporadic posting of content is ineffective. You need to sustain your presence, reiterate and reaffirm your message.
  7. Go long when you can – there may be limits on print media but research shows that the most widely shared B2B online blogs last year came in at a heavy-weight 2,250 to 2,500 words long. Remember, the only limits online are set by your ability to create meaningful material. We don’t advocate waffle!
  8. Maximise ROI from content by re-purposing it for different channels – traditional media, social media and digital platforms including your website and blog. Link online content back to your website and specific pages within it.
  9. Make sure that you employ a call or calls to action in the content you create. You want your audience to engage with your content but what do you want them to do next? Encourage prospects to contact you to ‘find out more’!
  10. Understand what your audience wants – if your content is going to be engaging you need to truly understand what works with your target market and why. Digital methods of communication can deliver real insights into customer behaviour. Use the freely-available analytics for your web and social media platforms and take time to research what content your audience really engages with.

And why is content so important?

Analysis suggests that most b2b prospects are already far advanced in their buyer journey, completing 60-80 per cent of research in print and online, before reaching out directly to suppliers. That means that before you get a call or an email, your customers or potential customers have more-or-less made their decision about whether they’re going to buy from you or not.

Content is also important in how your customers find you. Hits to homepages are on a downward trend and search engines i.e. google will increasingly find you through your content, based on how it rates it for relevancy.

This is not just about keywords but multiple factors including how long visitors spend on each page, even how well material is written. Think carefully about the words that your customers might put into search engines, write long but also write well!

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