I received an email this morning with the subject line “How to Churn Out Content”. Ugh, no. That may have worked in the early days of inbound marketing, but there’s way too much competition for your prospect’s attention today. Mark Schaefer recognized the impact of “Content Shock” back in January of 2014, noting that content marketing as a strategy was drowning in a flood of content. It’s only gotten more challenging in the two years since he wrote that post: social media influencer monitoring tool Buzzsumo has found that half of all content is shared eight times or less. If your company is solely relying on an inbound marketing strategy driven by content, these numbers are not going to make you happy.
We’ve seen this firsthand with companies that we have pitched for business — many companies wanted to skip working with trade press or other earned media outlets and go the Hubspot route. The idea was to develop content and wait for the leads to roll in. Don’t get me wrong — we are huge believers in building a comprehensive library of content, but we can’t in good conscience recommend the Mad Libs format that inbound marketing automation tool vendors promote. You’ve seen the headlines:
[number here] Ways to Increase Your [desired outcome] by [something your tool does].
This style of assembly-line content has flooded the internet. It’s relatively cheap to produce — any brand-new marketer can follow the format. But in our opinion, the money is not well spent if it isn’t getting you the attention and traction you need. When your content reads exactly like the content produced by your competitors, you will not stand out.
So what’s a marketer to do? How can you effectively reach your B2B audience? We still believe in a content-driven approach, but with a traditional twist. Many high-quality media outlets want high-quality contributed content. And many companies are interested in working with the trade press again. It’s time to put earned media back into your toolbox.
This is such a positive development — it gets companies out of the rut of that cookie-cutter mindset and into a much more creative zone. But even more important, those placements are on well-trafficked sites that have solid Moz and Alexa ranks. Contributing content to a trade journal site will introduce you to more prospects AND the link to your site will help boost your web rankings.
Trade publications have a built-in audience of loyal readers. They got them because they have high content standards. People visit their sites because they know they’ll find well-written and -researched pieces that impart real information without a sales pitch. Working with them means that you have to deliver content that meets their high journalistic standards, not something that is “churned out.”
This is something that you should be doing. You have interesting ideas, insightful customers, and smart thought leaders within your organization. It’s time to start taking those stories and bring them to the next level.