Cutting Through the Content Clutter

Content has clearly crossed a tipping point, as evidenced by how much crap shows up in my inbox and social media feeds. 

When I look at my inbox, I occasionally get good offers from companies I’ve never heard of whether it be an article of video white paper or infographic, but then if I go look at my junk folder, that Google separates for me, it’s filled with hundreds of unsolicited emails. Some of it is some well produced content, and I suspect there’s probably a lot of money that has gone into producing some of these articles and content.

The real problem is that with everyone is publishing so much stuff, it all becomes noise.

Even a year ago, I was espousing the need to build a greater library of content that continues to produce leads in accordance with the Hubspot and Moz studies on post volumes conducted around that time. 

But the harsh reality is that it becomes more difficult every day to get a prospect’s attention through content because of all the clutter. And even worse, it’s not enough to elevate the level of the content that you produce?

So how do you stand out from the crowd?

The answer is focus, and that’s more than just knowing your ideal prospect’s profile. The content you produce must speak very specifically to the high probability pains of that audience, communicated in their language and on their preferred mediums.

Remember that with most B2B companies with a complex sale, what you’re doing with content marketing is replicating the conversations that used to happen in real life (IRL) with sales reps asking probing questions and having consultative conversations that today, those prospects now avoid. 

Those conversations were personal. They were tailored. So it follows that the more personal and tailored your content can be (all the way down to the language that you use) the more one-to-one conversations you’ll be able to build.  Getting and keeping the attention of your specified target builds an engaged audience, and once you’ve built that, you can start slowly expanding into the other niches of the pains that they have. 

Let’s look at a real life example. 

You could take a single topic like lead scoring. For purposes of this example, it’s a two-word keyword that you’re trying to optimize both inbound and organic search content around that topic. 

But the problem is that the term “lead scoring” might mean something very different to a VP of Sales because she only cares about how to use lead scoring to better prioritize her team’s business development pursuits. 

Whereas a head of marketing who is tasked with producing a certain number of leads per month with a certain amount of engagement, “lead scoring” then becomes a way to prove the value of his or her job. 

“Lead Scoring” can also mean something different to a CEO or President of a smaller company who’s trying to get a handle on how much money she should be investing in marketing and sales and this might be a method by which they can make that determination. 

The bottom line is this: Within a single topic like lead scoring, if I try to speak to everyone, I’m going to sound like everyone and I won’t stand out in the crowd.

I need to choose. Who am I really marketing to? Where do we have the best opportunity to increase sales? And if that means you need the attention of a CEO in a small or medium sized business, you’d better be talking their language of numbers, percents and dollar signs. 

It’s time to forget about the marketing objectives of yesteryear where we wanted name recognition above all else. Content marketing in B2B is really about generating more one-to-one conversations with qualified prospects, and doing it digitally gets us into opportunities that we would have missed otherwise. 

Branding and awareness is achieved only as a secondary benefit.