From building audiences with content marketing to ‘The World Cup of Books’ – content marketing trends
Top B2B performers focus on building audiences with content marketing
Building audiences with content marketing is the hot topic in the new ‘B2B Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends — North America’ report.
Yes, it’s that time of year again… Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs have teamed up once more. This is so they can bring you possibly the most influential research in the content marketing calendar.
The key finding from this year’s edition was that 80% of content marketers (including 92% of ‘top performers’) are focused on building audiences with content marketing. This represents an 18% YOY increase.
This trend is more ‘penny drop’ moment than new discovery. Many observers have been compelling content marketers to focus on this area for years.
After all, the ease with which you can set about building audiences with content marketing is one of the most definitive factors that differentiates it from traditional forms of marketing.
This does raise a secondary issue however, and one that CMI was quick to highlight. An audience is typically composed of subscribers, but this group is decidedly different from leads.
While a subscriber will look forward to receiving regular communications, a lead might provide their details in exchange for content of value, but may have no further interest in your brand. Also, a subscriber base can be mined for leads, while a lead could hypothetically turn into a subscriber.
Sound complicated? It is. But, thankfully, this research indicates that your subscriber base should be the primary focus for your content marketing efforts. That means choosing a defined topic area, and developing a tone and style that’s shaped around your B2B customer characteristics.
Searchmetrics’ founder reveals three key goals for content marketers
Having played an instrumental role in the development of search analytics software, Marcus is better placed than most to advise content marketers on what does and doesn’t work online.
The three main areas identified in his conference talk – entitled ‘Mastering the World of Deep Learning: How Big Data Is Making Content More Relevant in Search’ – were:
1) Developing a niche
Trying to be all things to all people with your content marketing is an easy trap to fall into.
Marcus used Dotdash (formerly About.com) as an example of why this approach is unlikely to elicit the desired results.
Despite practically inventing the mass scalable content approach during the 1990s (and, still having over 500,000 pages indexed by Google) the site has lost almost all SEO visibility over the last two years.
Instead, he argued that content marketers should focus on one specific area. Then gain a greater understanding of the user and his/her search intentions, then produce a suite of detailed content that answers the user’s queries precisely.
2) Jettisoning redundant, outdated or trivial (ROT) content
Marcus also recommended getting shot of the ROT, but with plenty of provisos.
Before getting rid of content, you should check it has been live for at least 12-18 months. Then make sure it doesn’t stand much chance of generating traffic in future (an equation that can be difficult for seasonal businesses).
Marcus applied this technique when working with German firm Pflege.de. In this case, the client cut 95% of its content, resulting in an upsurge in visibility of 240%.
This might look like a strong result, but it begs the question “Just how far off the mark was its content strategy in the first place?”
3) Updating content to address user intentions
The previous point’s biggest caveat is that you should look to replace ROT content with something way more relevant.
Relevant content needs to grasp the exact intention behind the keywords and phrases customers are using.
Marcus recommended one of our favourite tools to help achieve this: ‘Answer The Public’. This handy website lists the most common questions and statements relating to a particular search term.
So, next time you’re looking to boost your content marketing efforts, take a cue from the experts and focus on these three key areas.
Spotted in the news…
A list of famous tomes has been whittled down over the course of this week, and on Thursday, the finalists were revealed. This epic grudge match would be played out between J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.
The latter claimed the honours, causing a degree of chagrin in Write My Site towers. Colours had been nailed to the flag of Douglas Adams’ ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. Regardless, awarding such a prestigious prize to a book that’s nearly 60 years old only goes to show the evergreen value of great content.