In 2016, most brands would agree that content is still King, and blogging remains an important part of any content strategy. Blogging can help build your brand, get your business get found online, connect with prospects and generate leads. What’s the content marketing echo chamber?
According to Hubspot, B2B marketers that blog receive 67% more leads than those that do not. But while blogging remains an effective growth strategy, mosts blog posts simply don’t make a dent in the universe.
That means that nearly all major brands invest in blogging, but many can’t tie their blog activities to measurable results. Another troubling statistic — 60-70% of content produced by B2B marketing goes unused, according SiriusDecisions research. Here are five ways to avoid the echo chamber and content that converts:
The echo chamber
In the blogosphere, nothing succeeds like success. Marketers have found that a relatively safe way to cut the risk of publishing content that no one reads is to analyze what’s already trending and simply publish more of it. It’s easy to head over to BuzzSumo.com to identify popular blogging topics and what types of content is most shared on popular social networks
The issue is that whenever a new topic becomes popular, it’s invariably followed by a flood of similar posts by bloggers looking to cash in on the original post’s popularity. Many bloggers also attempt to take advantage of popular searches by connecting their posts to current events. Here are 7 Branding Lessons we can learn from (sporting event, awards show, celebrity arrest, etc)!
What’s missing from the echo chamber is value for your audience. Me-too marketing might help bloggers rack up some new views, shares and comments, but this content has a short shelf life and does nothing to position your brand’s thought leadership. Be bold with your next blog post, and take the road less traveled.
Me, my company, my products
Sadly, this is still a thing. Most marketers have made peace with the fact that people don’t care about you, your company or your products. They care about their own interests, challenges and problems that need solutions.
Yet, many companies still blog in painful detail about their expertise, exciting new products and industry-leading awesomeness.
The other issue with me-me-me marketing is that it employs corporate-speak instead of customer-speak. Marketing messages that don’t use the language of customers. There’s a great quote by Jeff Eisenberg, a founding father of conversion marketing:
Speak to the dog, about what matters to the dog in the language of the dog.
Your audience may not be dogs, but if speak to them in your language instead of their own, you’ll quickly be tuned out.
Bad design = bounce.
A quick way to ensure your content goes unread in 2016 is to have it display poorly on mobile devices. And since more people each day access content from mobile phones and tablets than desktop devices, copy needs to be shorter and more concise than ever. Keep It Short and Simple (KISS), avoiding long paragraphs that make readers click away.
We have known since 1997 that web visitors don’t really read content as much as they scan it. For this reason, blog copy should be shorter, with important words highlighted and plenty of subheadings, visuals and bulleted lists to break up large blocks of copy.
Images that are bad for your image
Marketers know that content with images typically gets read and shared more often than purely text-based content. Many times, busy marketers write up their content, slap in a free stock photo and click Publish. While that’s not so terrible, it misses the opportunity of complementing and strengthening the message of your post.
Remember the adage that if you need to explain a joke, it’s not funny? Something similar happens if readers have to stop and wonder about the tie-in between your image and headline. The first image in your post is likely the first thing that many viewers will see as it’s shared across social media. You can help your audience by making sure your images are sized to display correctly and aren’t so large that they slow down page-load times. Take time to select an image that really complements your message. The world doesn’t need another image of smiling multi-ethnic millennials seated around a conference table.
Of the millions of blog posts published today, how many move make measurable progress toward your business goals? It’s surprising how many brands publish blog posts that don’t support their stated goals. It’s important to know about page views, social shares, likes and content. These are sometimes dismissed as “vanity” metrics, but they provide useful information about your audience.
Along with these “micro-conversions” it’s essential to track more revenue-aligned conversion marketing events:
Every post is a learning opportunity
It’s important to focus on offering valuable information that answers your audience’s questions and addresses their issues. That’s how you help them through the Know > Like > Trust journey towards a Transaction.
But it’s equally important to have a process that to help you learn more about your audience with each post. Each post is an experiment — a unique opportunity to learn more about what’s important to your audience, and what type of content causes them to engage, share and comment.
Blogging advice is never in short supply on the Web, but remember that published best practices are best for someone else. Content marketing is highly contextual and what works somewhere else may not work for you. It’s up to you then, to have a process that ensures you have goals for each post, and carefully examine what worked and what didn’t.
Don’t stop pushing until you have a measurement strategy that helps you continually improve your content and quantify the business value of your blog. A lot of work, but it’s the only way to ensure your blog makes a dent in the universe.
Thoughts on avoiding the content marketing echo chamber leave a comment!