Every B2B marketer does content marketing in one form or another. You strategically distribute various forms of original content to help move buyers through their buying journey.
But when was the last time you took a step back and reviewed your program? Are you as efficient as possible?
If you’ve been caught up in day-to-day operations for too long, here are five ways to ruin your own content marketing strategy (and how to fix it).
Marketing for the masses
Take a hard look at your content: does it have a clear, focused intent? Was it designed to solve a certain problem for a specific buyer?
While it’s true that many different types of buyers could use parts of your product, it’s easy to lose sight of your true target audience. You get caught up in being “everything for everyone” in the same individual piece of content. You’ll quickly realize that your marketing message is poor and doesn’t resonate strongly with anyone.
A good question to ask is, if all of our content didn’t exist tomorrow, would anyone notice?
How to fix it: Perform a content audit and objectively judge the quality and intent of your content.
Are you resonating with your audience on a deeper level? Are you really helping them solve their problems?
Sometimes the right answer for a new campaign or new content is not to. Be honest about your content (even your product and its features) and who it serves.
Related Article: 5 Ways to Stand Out in a Sea of Content
Ignore problem areas
All organizations have pain points in their content marketing processes. They can occur in our internal workflows, our strategic approach and our delivery methods.
Although problems are normal, they are often overlooked. Sure, you can fix most problems with workarounds, but you’re not setting yourself up for long-term success. Unresolved issues can lead to much bigger problems later when left to fester.
How to fix it: If you discover a problem in your content marketing processes, take the time and effort to fix it (even if it means delaying something in the process). Don’t accept that something “has always been like this”. Ask the tough questions and find ways to gradually improve.
Forget the post-purchase experience
Too often, B2B marketers treat existing customers as an afterthought. Most creative content efforts aim to acquire customers, but fail after they sign on the dotted line. Marketing then waits for the next user to be ready to be a referral.
Just because a customer buys from you once doesn’t mean they’re a loyal customer now. Their problems don’t magically go away once they find you.
How to fix it: Change your mindset on how you can market to existing customers. You should work to support users and ensure they are using your product and services to their full potential. Once they get the full value, they’ll be more likely to make more purchases, renew contracts, or recommend you to others.
Related Article: Does Your Content Marketing Stop After You Buy?
Biased data reports
Most organizations have more data than they know what to do with. The problem with data overload is that it can lead to reporting issues, which then affects decision making.
Although the data itself is objective, reporting methods can be biased (unintentionally or not). The same data can be used to tell two very different stories, depending on how it is manipulated and shared.
For example, changing the criteria of what constitutes a “marketing qualified prospect” has a direct impact on your conversion rates.
How to fix it: Think about how you calculate and present your data analysis. Your data should draw your attention to the areas where you are failing and/or succeeding.
Even if your data shows less than favorable results, see point 3 above. Don’t ignore it or ignore it. Instead, focus on how you can fix it.
forget to be human
B2B marketers have more tools at their fingertips than ever before. There is a software solution for almost every aspect of your job. Many of these tools also focus on automation and efficiency.
In the end, sometimes we forget that our buyers want to connect with a brand. They want to buy from you as a human, not your marketing automation software.
How to fix it: I’m not saying to give up digital tools (well, maybe some of them). Digital tools can help you gather and distribute your content.
Instead, the key is to understand that ultimately you have the final say on what the content says and how you share it.
Having this power means you can humanize your marketing efforts and ensure you truly connect with others. No matter how good your digital tools are, you always know your customers best.
When it comes to your content, don’t be afraid to be conversational. Not all emails should be generic and automated. Share your personal and business stories with others.
This is the only way to earn the trust of your users.
After years of B2B content marketing, what other lessons have you learned the hard way?
Jillian is a marketing strategist at SPARK Business Works. With over 7 years of B2B marketing experience, she uses both her writing and analytical skills to help the marketing, sales and CX team by overseeing their content marketing program, managing their martech stack and driving the growth of the web.