Over my last seven years as an entrepreneur in the business storytelling space, my co-founder and I have had the opportunity to work with different types of companies— ranging from software and media, to corporate innovation, financial services, and even data as a service. We stopped counting our number of customers at 100. This vantage point has turned our organization into a pattern recognition machine; by working with businesses as diverse as seed-funded startups to Fortune 500 international conglomerates, we’re able to identify potential pitfalls early.
Here are the three biggest pitfalls we’ve observed in the B2B space:
One of the biggest questions content marketers face is how much material they should publish on a regular basis. Many organizations will instantly jump to publishing content at a high volume, hoping to capture their audiences’ fleeting attention spans.
This approach, while appropriate for some types of companies—especially global conglomerates that reach diverse audiences—may not be the right fit for yours. You are likely reaching a sophisticated audience, especially if your company provides a solution to a complex business problem. It’s important to invest in creating content that addresses your target audience(s).
Create content that is functional and fits into multiple marketing contexts. Ensure this content addresses common pain points from your key customer segments. Avoid the “over-publishing” trap, where your reader-to-content-published ratio is low. Remember that at the end of the day, content needs engaged readers to be successful for your organization. Why create more than your readers can absorb?
2. Excessive Self-Promotion
Marketers are under pressure to influence business metrics across the conversion funnel, whether it’s social media shares, pageviews, or marketing qualified leads. That’s why it’s so easy for content marketers to fall into the trap of making every piece of content that they publish about their own products.
Don’t fall into this trap.
Think about it: When you’re at work, the last thing you want to read is another sales pitch for a product or service you don’t need. What you need are solutions to problems, educational content, and resources that can help you become more successful in your role.
Instead of talking and writing about your own company and products, start a dialogue. Interview experts in your industry. Share knowledge. Be open about what your organization is learning. Inspire dialogue.
3. Publishing Prior to Product/Market Fit
It’s tempting to create content because you feel like you need it. After all, if everyone else is creating content, why shouldn’t you?
The answer is simple: Until you’ve established product/market fit between your organization (or the features you’re building) with your target audience, you risk reaching the wrong readers. Or, you risk reaching the right readers with the wrong message.
Before you invest in content marketing, it’s critical you invest time in strengthening the product/market fit between your organization and who you’re aiming to reach. With this perspective and “true north” in place for your content, you’ll be in a stronger position to create functional, evergreen content.
There’s one caveat to this entire blog post: Every organization’s needs are different. If you’re a marketer at a large, global conglomerate, it may be worth spending $25K on experimental content, even before you’ve established product/market fit with your target buyers. You might even want to write about what your company is learning, which will involve discussing your product in a way that isn’t self-promotional. Have an experimental and iteration-driven mindset. Like any other forms of marketing, your content strategy will evolve over the time.
Don’t shove your strategy into a box. Be creative, be smart, and have fun.