The Content Marketing Conundrum
In a June 2014 study of 111 marketing agencies, the two emerging trends may not shock you:
1. Quality content generates quality leads
2. Quality content isn't easy
Survey says: Lead Gen is the top objective (59%)
59% of respondents named "increasing the number of leads" as the most important objective for their content marketing strategy. Without leads, you don't have anyone to sell to. Marketing automation can help you to identify the 98% of web traffic that's anonymous, at the time of their interest.
In our experience working with technology companies, the shift to a content strategy is particularly critical because engineers like to research and find their own solutions. They want to sell themselves on a solution. Sadly, those who like to read seldom like to write; our customers' engineers and innovators struggle to find the time, motivation or skillset to create effective white papers or videos.
Survey says: Writing is the biggest barrier (91%)
Even at marketing agencies, content creation is the biggest roadblock to a successful content marketing strategy.
Lack of internal content creation resources (50%) and writing original articles and blog posts (41%) are the top two challenges.
Often our technology customers come to us disgruntled and skeptical; traditional marketing agencies do not understand their field enough to create content for them, and their internal resources are too busy innovating and producing to create content.
Some companies buy off-the-shelf blog posts and repurpose them. That may work for a Mac store, but imaging or materials companies are much too targeted to benefit from these solutions. Outsourcing and ghostwriting are not impossible, though. Our writing staff is trained to interview for and create highly technical content—their backgrounds are in engineering and journalism. This gives them to ability to:
- Find the angle — tell a clear and compelling story
- Focus on the facts — produce content that is educational and valuable to your audience, not just sales hype
- Free the inventor — let your technical experts spend more time doing their work and less time writing about it
Survey says: Some tradeoff exists between effectiveness & ease
The top three forms of premium content are:
- White papers
- Case studies
In the industries we serve, which include markets like advanced materials, optics, photonics and imaging, and instrumentation, this rings true; white papers remain the reference of choice for engineers and technical buyers, while email newsletters are critical in promoting this richer content.
The survey also shows that companies that struggle to measure ROI on marketing activities have trouble investing in those activities that are effective but difficult to execute, like video:
Focus your energy on what you can get done. Do more and measure it. Too often we see companies that do just one thing; they spend their entire marketing budget on a beautifully produced capabilities video or their print ad buy, but they neglect the web, social media, industry events, etc. Content marketing still requires an integrated approach to marketing to effectively generate leads.