Post image for Why the “Mad Dash” to Content is Coming to an End

It’s no secret that Content Marketing has been the “mad-dash marketing” theme in recent years. For good reason. Content Marketing works when done right — especially for B2B marketers looking to help prospects research a complex product or service. But, word got out and we humans tend to spread (and tweak) any promises of instant profit like wildfire.

The Hype Cycle

Content Marketing has followed the Gartner Hype Cycle to a “T.” The Peak of Inflated Expectations included a flood of marketers looking to become the ultimate content-generating machines — pumping out as much content as possible. After all, during the hype, one could point to exploding editorial calendars, busy blogs and never-ending lists of ideas — all to get a collective hype-driven “hurray” from their superiors. Those same marketers were hoping their slew of content would skyrocket Google rankings.

Moving Into Productivity & Value

Fortunately, as we emerge from the peak, we’re now entering an era of Content Marketing Productivity. In short, Content Marketing will no longer be hailed for simply existing in a marketing plan — now it will be measured by its ability to “lock eyes” with B2B prospects as they research and make their decision. 

Now, for the Numbers…

Proof: Quality Trumps Quantity

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In a recent survey, B2B buyers
said that the vendor they chose:

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  • Delivered content that had a significant impact on their buying decision (68%)
  • Delivered a better mix of content appropriate for each stage of the purchasing process (61%)
  • Provided higher quality content than other vendors (66%)
  • Produced content that was more conducive to building a business case for the purchase (63%)

At the same time, respondents did not agree or disagree that their winning vendor produced more content during the purchasing process — a sign that the amount of distributed content isn’t as relevant as the quality.

Source: DemandGen: 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey (Twitter: @DG_Report)

As for SEO and Google rankings? Well, Google spoke volumes about quality over quantity with it’s Penguin and Panda updates — continuing its firm move towards serving up quality search results for its visitors.

Proof: Results Can’t Be Rushed

During the Peak of Inflated Expectations, many companies expected that waving the “magic content wand” would force prospects to make their decisions faster — generating a flood instant sales.

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Post image for Content Distribution: Why Publishing and Posting Aren’t Enough

If useful content is published but no one sees it, is it still useful?

There’s a growing epidemic among corporate content marketers and content producers. It’s a lack of a sharing. I’m not talking about lack of collaboration or not playing “nicey nice” in the sandbox. It’s about letting content die a slow, painful, pointless death after hitting that ever-loving “Publish” button.

Prospects actually WANT to see your (useful) content.

It’s probably no shock to you that there is a LOT of content out there. A daily avalanche, in fact. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compete for your prospects’ attention. In fact, it’s imperative that you do.

Mind you, this is different than the old days where you poured more dollars into advertising than the other guy. Today, it’s a matter of pouring on more *helpful* and *relevant* content. Help your prospect and they’ll take notice. Promise.

Content Sources Needed For Purchase

As Jay Baer noted in his recent keynote at Content Marketing Worldbuyers simply demand more content these days than ever before when making a decision: “In 2010, shoppers needed 5.3 sources of information before making a purchase decision. In 2011, just one year later, shoppers needed 10.4 sources before making a purchase decision.”

And we’re not just talking consumers here. B2B buyers are even thirstier for decision-making resources.

“B2B customers contact a sales rep only after 70% of the purchase decision has been made.”

Bottom Line: Useful content is the best pre-sales entity you’ll ever add to your team.

So, if helpful content goes unwritten, it’s a shame. But, if it exists and goes unseen — well, that’s just an outright crime.  [click to continue…]

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Post image for Lead Generation: Why It’s Not Working

“How many leads did we get?”

This question reflects the ultimate metric of success in B2B Marketing today. After all, if content, communication, distribution and marketing are a success, the leads surely follow — right?

Actually…in an effort to stream in gazillions of leads, many teams lose sight of what actually matters — long-term conversion, loyalty and happy customers. Which, honestly, can be the harder nut to crack when you have multiple audiences, a long sales-cycle, and a prospect’s heavy-duty decision-making process.

So, let’s get real, people. Leads are not numbers. They’re people. They’re busy. They’re swamped. And they should never, ever be considered a notch in our belt.

Let’s Obsess Less About Numbers

In that monthly meeting with the C-Suite, are you bringing in metrics showing the volume of new leads? Does the table cheer loudly, challenge low numbers or simply nod in agreement with the “we’re holding steady” results?

The reality is that numbers alone do not tell the real whole of Lead Generation success.

Let’s Stop Setting Up the Sales Team for Failure

It’s an understandable knee-jerk reaction. You see a list of leads and assume it’s a “pot o’ gold” that the sales team will surely be thankful for. So, you waste no time in lobbing any and all leads their way. You consider the leads “captured,” check it off your to-do list and proudly pass the “buck” on to sales. But is your job really done?

Let’s look at the stats:

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Post image for “But What If the Content Sucks?”

Recently, I had a great call with a prospective client. Quite frankly, it was my favorite kind of phone call. He soaked up our proposal and had so many fantastic questions. Like so many of our clients, this will be the first non-traditional marketing engagement his company dives into. Aside from talking about each anticipated phase and line item, he asked a question that was so straightforward I nearly stood up and cheered.

As we explored the Content Creation phase, he paused and asked, “But what if the content sucks?”

How awesome is that?!

This is actually a question that I’m sure so many companies have. Yet, it’s the one question nobody asks! After all, they don’t want to offend or imply that Well Planned Web would ever produce rotten content. But, when investing thousands of dollars each month in a Content Strategy, shouldn’t you feel confident in what you’re getting? Yes. Yes, you should. So ASK that very question of any content agency you interview (okay, first choose whether the word “sucks” is part of your personal voice or tone :) ).

But here’s an important question for you to explore beforehand… [click to continue…]

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Post image for 11 Eyebrow-Raising Moments From Content Marketing World

The Content Marketing Institute knocked it outta the park once again. Last year’s inaugural Content Marketing World event drew 600 of the world’s top content professionals. This year, the event compelled 1,000 of the top content brains to spend a week together — sharing content strategies, trends, challenges, success stories, case studies, awards and parties.

I have oodles of deep, “game-changing” takeaways that are sure to take our team and our client engagements to the next level. However, as with last year, I also relished many “simpler” moments that caused at least one of my eyebrows to take flight. These are in a “tossed salad” format — no particular order.

1. Print needs a second (or first) look.

In fact, Nenad Senic (@NenadSenic) reminded us that deriving a content marketing plan without considering print is downright silly. Particularly because print is still an extremely immersive medium.

68% of US consumers said customer magazines influence their purchase behavior. Nenad’s examples were compelling — and *not* limited to B2C. Even Google has its own *printed* magazine. Heck, I’d read it. Wouldn’t you?
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A sidebar Nenad eyebrow-raising moment: English is not Nenad’s first…or even second language. Yet, his speech and presentation was flawless. Way to make the rest of us look bad, Nenad :P
..

2. Email trumps social — hands-down. So there.

I’ve never jumped on the whole “email is dead” thing. But, the eyebrows really went up when ExactTarget’s Jeff Rohrs (@jkrohrs) pointed out that email is actually social media’s “secret weapon.” How do you get notified when your LinkedIn followers update their profiles? Email. How do you know when you have a new Twitter follower? Email. How do you know when someone comments on your YouTube video? You get the idea.

Email may not be “sexy” to Pinterest-obsessed marketers…but it’s still the most consistent, reliable digital messaging medium out there. Oh…speaking of Pinterest…how do you know when someone has repinned your pin? You guessed it. [click to continue…]

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Well Planned Web Named Finalist For Content Marketing Agency of the Year

August 31, 2012
Thumbnail image for Well Planned Web Named Finalist For Content Marketing Agency of the Year

We are tickled orange! The Content Marketing Institute announced this month that Well Planned Web has been chosen as a finalist for the 2012 Content Marketing Orange Awards! The Orange Awards celebrate the best and brightest people, projects, and agencies from around the world that are dedicated to the practice and execution of content marketing. This year’s [...]

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5 Signs That You Don’t Know Your Audience

July 23, 2012
Thumbnail image for 5 Signs That You Don’t Know Your Audience

As the marketing and online communication landscape whooshes by at the speed of light, one particular mantra seems to get louder and louder: “Know Thy Audience.” Listen up CEOs, CMOs and COOs: Audience Personas are not just a nice idea or a warm fuzzy. Locking eyes with your audience in every piece of communication is more [...]

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How to Stop Wasting Time in LinkedIn Groups

April 10, 2012
Thumbnail image for How to Stop Wasting Time in LinkedIn Groups

So, you think LinkedIn Groups are a waste of time? Chances are, if you’re simply “hanging out” here and there, you’re right. But like any networking effort — whether it be an in-person event, trade show or online forum — you’ll only get out what you put in. And, forget the shortcuts. There are no magical, cookie-cutter [...]

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Why Are Fewer Corporations Blogging?

February 3, 2012
Thumbnail image for Why Are Fewer Corporations Blogging?

Kevin McNulty (@netweave), an esteemed friend and colleague in the industry (I can see his eyes rolling — he’s so humble), asked me for my thoughts on this week’s Marketing Profs Report showing that Social Media usage among Inc. 500 companies was up, while blogging was down. Although I am far from a bandwagon jumper, [...]

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16 Content Marketing Lessons From the State of the Union Address

January 27, 2012
Thumbnail image for 16 Content Marketing Lessons From the State of the Union Address

By: Marie Weber If you watched the State of the Union (SOTU) address online this week, you may have noticed there was an option for watching an enhanced version of the speech. As a content marketer I thought this was a nice feature, but I was more impressed by how the administration really leveraged the [...]

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Will Your Content Even Matter in 2012?

January 3, 2012
Hyper-relevant-content

Happy 2012! Did your online content create leads in 2011? Or just a lot of work? Let’s get real. Online content is NOT a magic marketing bullet. Sure, you may get a short-term “sugar rush” of traffic with certain content. However, for businesses with a longer, more complex sales process, that sugar rush simply won’t [...]

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Even LinkedIn is Spreading the Holiday Cheer!

December 20, 2011
Thumbnail image for Even LinkedIn is Spreading the Holiday Cheer!

By now you’ve probably seen Google’s very cute hidden holiday treat. No? Okay, let’s cover that first. In Firefox or Google Chrome, visit Google’s Search page and perform a search of the words Let it snow to see a flurry of snow fall from the top of your browser, rapidly filling up (and fogging up) your display. Use your mouse to [...]

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