Storytelling: The Key to Content Marketing Success

Storytelling to evoke emotion at moments of key impact is not a new phenomenon in marketing. Yet in social business, the approach and tactics employed by firms and marketing organizations are not achieving the expected results. 

Symptoms of a Growing Problem

The key metric-du-jour is volume - an increase in the amount of content created - leading marketing organizations focused on amplification of content to their eventual moment of despair.

Costly expense is being incurred due to increased marketing staffing, external copywriters and re-allocation of resources to content creation.

Organizations and employees are growing networks haphazardly versus focusing on relevant, authentic relationships and courting true influencers.

The voice of the customer isn't considered when assessing content needs -listening at scale to customers via social is not part of the plan to define the content calendar.

To overcome the content marketing 'moment of despair,' successful organizations are getting back to basics and grounding their content marketing goals and strategy in approaches and tactics that tell the brand story along the buyer journey in the right context. 

Listen with your eyes in social channels to understand the behavior of your customers.

Marketing spend, and that in social channels (content creation, SEO, content placement, etc.) is being guided by SMART priorities, meaning:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time-bound

This means that a holistic view of on and offline channels is being developed to ground the content marketing strategy in customer feedback and activity measurement. This remains as true in mature channels like environmental, print, radio and television as it does in digital and social channels.

B2B Content Marketing Statistics

88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, yet only 32% have a documented content marketing strategy.

The most effective B2B content marketers allocate a larger portion of their budget to content marketing: 42% of their total budget, compared to 28% for less-effective marketers. 

76% of B2B marketers say they will produce more content in 2016.

The 5 most important marketing tactics for B2B businesses are (in order): in-person events, webinars/webcasts, case studies, white papers and videos.

94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as part of their content strategy. Other popular platforms include Twitter (87%), Facebook (84%), YouTube (74%) and Google+ (62%).

61% of the most effective B2B content marketers meet with their content team daily or weekly.

85% of B2B marketers say lead generation will be their most important content marketing goal in 2016. Sales will be their second priority.

Source: Content Marketing Institute

Take Aways

Discoverability is as important as creating the right content. Employing content at the right time, in the right channel and in the right context along your buyer's journey is key to influencing engagement. Listen with your eyes in social channels to understand the behavior of your customers.

Create content that people care about by asking them. Relevant content can be created by simply asking your prospects and customers what questions they need answered and what their interests are. Create a mechanism for defining the focus of your content calendar such as a customer panel, client survey or executive outreach program. Revisit to revalidate the direction at least quarterly based on results.

Embrace SEO as a vital part of content marketing. Utilize keyword research to align with what people are searching for. Use compelling titles, images, tags and links and A/B test your direction. 

Invest in your team by providing the needed expertise. A major reason companies are not achieving success with social is the fact that they haven't brought their employees along for the journey. When success is achieved with the leading social advocates, send the elevator back down to bring the rest of the team up to standard through social business training.