Is there a content shortage?
by Vince DiPaolo
It was bound to happen.
The digital era has produced never before imagined channels through which we can receive and send information. There's e-mail, e-mail video, webcasts, blogs, podcasts, wikis, SMS texting and an explosion of social media, just for starters.
The marketing possibilities are endless, particularly since these media are so viral in nature. But while this smorgasbord of content channels continues to expand and change forms, we find ourselves running short of the one thing that drives them: content that captures viewers' attention.
In order to pique viewers' interest, content no longer can be just good. It needs to be compelling and relevant to the target reader. Why the need to upgrade content? Because it is becoming much more difficult to be heard above the "noise," as the variety of delivery channels expands faster than marketers' capacity to evaluate the new distribution mechanisms.
What exactly is content marketing?
Creating and keeping your "pipeline" full of great content has recently been coined "content marketing." Joe Pulizzi, Chief Content Officer at Junta42 Match, a custom publishing and content marketing matchmaking site, describes content marketing as "understanding exactly what your customers need to know, and delivering it to them in a relevant and compelling way to grow your business."
In his article "Content is Still King," published in the February 2008 Marketing Watchdog Journal, Andrew Gaffney encourages publishers and other thought leaders to "point marketers in the right content direction and then shape new deliverables that will be valuable enough for prospects to raise their hand and start a discussion with a relevant solution provider."
Marketers that "stay ahead of the curve on content" ultimately will drive more leads — as well as better qualified leads — to their sales team, Gaffney reports.
The 3-30-3 rule
Gaffney explains the new 3/30/3 rule of thumb for content marketers: You have three seconds to attract a browser's attention, 30 seconds to get them to keep reading, and three minutes for the reader to complete follow-through on a call to action — by providing contact information in return for requesting additional information such as a case study or other piece of thought leadership. So the quality, timeliness and relevance of the message are clearly critical. And perceptive marketers are acutely aware of this.
The average business marketer spends 30% of their budget on the creation and execution of content. That number could grow to 50% over the next five years, according to a recent white paper produced by Junta42 Match, How to Attract and Retain Customers With Content NOW.
How are marketers meeting the challenge of providing exceptional content? A joint survey by Junta42 Match and BtoB Magazine found that most marketers acquire it from outsource providers.
This comes as no surprise when you consider the content preferences of business decision makers. More than 70% of 800 business decision makers surveyed last year by Forrester Research and American Business Media indicated that the e-newsletter was their preferred B2B digital medium and that e-newsletter content provided information that was most useful in doing their jobs. (See the report, "The Digital Transformation.")
Anyone who's written a newsletter knows that it is no small task, yet the payoff seems worth the effort. In this same survey, 91% of business decision makers said that seeing a message in an industry-specific media makes them more receptive to contact by the sender's salesperson.
Where to begin
Content marketing requires that you first decide what you want your readers to do as a result of what they read. At the same time, you need to provide real value to the reader. Without the latter, your message will go unnoticed, lost in the clutter and noise of the other fluff marketing messages competing for your prospects' attention. Studies of CFOs and other C-level executives have repeatedly found that what senior managers want (and read) is succinct, timely and relevant information that will help them be more competitive in their marketplaces.
What to do next
To start your own e-newsletter, follow these steps as outlined in the Junta42 Match white paper:
- Get outside help
- Develop an editorial plan and schedule
- Define the process and assign a project manager to own it.
Need additional information?
Would you like to get some more tips about developing and managing content? Send us an e-mail or give us a call at 847-501-4120 and we will be happy to help. FPS has more than 20 years of experience in developing and distributing customized content through e-newsletters and a variety of other channels.