Every B2B marketer is doing content marketing in one form or another. You’re strategically distributing various forms of original content to help move buyers through their purchasing journey.
But when’s the last time you took a step back and reviewed your program? Are you being as effective as you could be?
If you’ve been caught up in everyday operations for too long, here are five ways you might be ruining your own content marketing strategy (and how to fix it).
Marketing for the Masses
Look closely at your content: does it have a clear and focused intent? Was it made to solve a certain problem for a specific buyer?
While it’s true that many 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 to everyone” in the same individual content piece. You’ll quickly realize your marketing messaging is subpar and doesn’t strongly resonate with anyone.
A good question to ask is, if all of our content didn’t exist tomorrow, would anyone notice?
How to Fix It: Do a content audit and objectively judge your content quality and intent.
Are you resonating with your audience on a deeper level? Are you truly helping them solve their problems?
Sometimes the right answer for a new campaign or piece of content is not to do it. Be honest about your content (even your product and features) and who it serves.
Related Article: 5 Ways to Stand Out in a Sea of Content
Ignoring Problem Areas
All organizations have weak points in their content marketing processes. They can happen in our internal workflows, strategic approach and delivery methods.
While problems are normal, they’re often ignored. Sure, you can get by most problems with workarounds, but you’re not setting yourself up for success in the long run. Unsolved problems can lead to much bigger issues later when left to fester.
How to Fix It: If you uncover a problem in your content marketing processes, take the time and effort to solve it (even if it means delaying something in the process). Don’t accept that something has “just always been this way.” Ask the tough questions and find ways to incrementally improve.
Forgetting About the Post-Purchase Experience
Too often B2B marketers treat existing customers as an afterthought. Most creative content efforts go into acquiring customers, but then fall short after they sign on the dotted line. Marketing then sits and waits for whenever the next user is ready to be a reference.
Just because a customer buys from you once doesn’t mean they’re now a loyal customer. Their problems don’t magically all go away once they find you.
How to fix it: Change your mindset about how you can market to existing customers. You must work to support users and ensure they use your product and services to its full potential. Once they get the full value, then they’ll be more likely to make more purchases, renew contracts or recommend you to others.
Related Article: Does Your Content Marketing Stop After Purchase?
Biased Data Reporting
Most organizations have more data than they know what to do with. The problem with data overload is it can lead to reporting problems, which then affects decision making.
While 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’s manipulated and shared.
For example, changing the criteria for what makes a “marketing qualified lead” has a direct impact on your conversion rates.
How to fix it: Think about how you’re calculating and presenting your data analysis. Your data should direct your attention to areas where you’re failing and/or succeeding.
Even if your data shows less than favorable results, check out point #3 above. Don’t ignore or overlook it. Instead, focus on how you can solve it.
Forgetting to Be Human
B2B marketers have more tools than ever at their fingertips. There’s a software solution for just about every aspect of your job. Many of these tools also focus on automation and efficiency.
At the end of the day, 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 ditch the digital tools (well, maybe some of them). Digital tools can help you gather and deliver your content.
Instead, the key is understanding that ultimately you have the final say in what the content says and how you share it.
Having that power means you can humanize your marketing efforts and ensure you’re truly connecting with others. No matter how good your digital tools are, you still know your customers best.
When it comes to your content, don’t be afraid to be conversational. Not every email should be generic and automated. Share your personal and company stories with others.
It’s the only way you’ll gain the trust of your users.
After years of B2B content marketing, what are some other lessons you learned the hard way?
Jillian is the Marketing Strategist and Partner Manager at nChannel. Using both her writing and analytic skills, she assists the Marketing and Sales team by overseeing their content marketing program, analysis of key sales metrics, and partner relationships.