After weeks of work, you published a killer whitepaper that’s getting great response and generating website traffic and leads. You feel great. Lots of back-patting going on. However, producing excellent content can be a double-edged sword, if you’re not prepared. Prepared for what? (Paparazzi? Book deals?) Nope — increased demand.
You write great stuff, more people want more of it. This is becoming a common problem for marketers producing high-quality content. The collective appetite for useful information seemingly can’t be satiated. Last year, we remarked on a Content Marketing Institute (CMI) study that revealed marketers were most challenged by quality when it came to content. Fast-forward a year and, while more marketers have figured out the “quality conundrum,” now the challenge is picking up the pace.
You’re not alone
Chances are, you’re one of those feeling the pressure. According to the 2013 CMI report, two-thirds of B2B marketers say they can’t keep up with producing enough content for their audiences. And fewer than half (40%) of marketers surveyed by Crains BtoB Magazine say their marketing content mix meets the needs of their sales pipeline. Which is a critical issue, as content marketing can be a key tool to help shorten the sales cycle.
So, how do you set yourself up to successfully produce more quality content? First, make sure you’re not wasting time developing content that doesn’t give you bang for your buck. Here are the basics you should consider for streamlining your production process, whether you are a team of one or 15:
- Align content with your sales cycle and focus resources on creating content that meets real needs. Determine your audience’s pain points and key challenges at each stage in the cycle. Using this as a guide, brainstorm topics that help solve problems, educate, prompt decisions, and help your audience sell your product or solution internally.
- Create an editorial calendar and writing guidelines. Plan what content will be published when, on what channel and who will write it. Create a handy reference guide for writers that covers topics such as approved style and tone, word usage, brand usage, and common grammar issues. Distribute it. Enforce it. And use it when editing to ensure consistency across materials.
- Appoint a managing editor who can lay down the law. Having someone in this role to enforce deadlines and police writing guidelines is absolutely essential to your success. It’s the clearinghouse for quality control and ensures that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.
- Apply targeting and segmentation to make content as relevant and engaging as possible. The Crains B2B report found that only about one-third of marketers are incorporating targeting and segmentation in their digital advertising, search and social programs. Make sure you’re targeting the right audience: according to the CMI report, of the most effective B2B content marketers surveyed, 71% targeted decision-makers.
- Repurpose and tailor content by distribution channel so that it is usable and relevant to the reader. Facebook posts with photos and yes/no opinion questions get more likes. Tweets that piggyback on trending topics get more responses. Websites are repositories for more in-depth resources. Blogs provide timely information and insight into company culture. YouTube video is a great tool to show how something works. You get the idea.
- Think visually. Content doesn’t have to be text. Repurpose written content to visually explain a topic, for example, with infographics, slides or video.
While we understand first-hand the challenges marketers face in creating more content, faster, in no way are we advocating lowering the quality bar.
Quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive — but it is difficult to do both. Start with a solid content strategy and tools, support for, and from, a strong managing editor (and perhaps some agency assistance!) and get your mighty content machine up and running. Yes, once you prove you can do it, it may create more demand, but by taking the time to put these content-production basics in place, you’ll be ready to handle it.