The problem with most b2b content is that it just isn't engaging.
The volume of content has increased more than 300% in the past year, but the percentage of content with more than 10 shares is still below 5%.
What is happening?
Why are more marketers committed to creating more content than they did last year?
One reason for the increase of content production is the decrease in results (ex. lead conversion).
When marketers notice content efforts underperforming they typically try to solve the problem by creating more content.
But your content marketing doesn't operate like that, your content is much bigger than a quick fix - of course you know that it's not a quick fix, rather a waste of time and money creating more content that underperforms.
To produce high quality content you have to have to perform user research and determine what content your ideal customers are looking for.
This doesn't happen with a blink of the eye.
The real power of digital content is it's compounding properties.
You can publish a blog post that continues to drive traffic for months even years into the future.
This is how you 10x your marketing!
Another reason marketers are creating even more content is to directly face the competition.More marketers creating content means more fighting over search engine rankings.
Because if you're creating more content to beat out your competition on Google, your focused has changed from producing high quality content for your audience to satisfy Google to rank higher than my competition.
It's not hard to see that sacrificing your content's lasting value for a short term gain is a flawed approach. One that's unsustainable.
Mostly because both the search engines and searcher have changed drastically.
Google, for example, makes it difficult to truly measure your keyword rankings due to their focus on context.
They also dictate your contents structure with new features like featured snippets. These snippets provide users answers without having to dig through content pages.
Meaning, featured snippets get a healthy portion of the traffic. Which tells marketers to follow the structure Google is looking for when selecting content for featured snippets.
Combine these efforts by Google to improve the user's search experience and you end up with contextual snippets.
For example, you'll get different results searching "how to start an llc" from Philadelphia then you will searching from Seattle - this makes keywords a little less important.
Now lets take a quick look at the person doing the searching, the searcher. Due to the recent rise of voice search and bots, queries are becoming more conversational.
Humans are searching more like they talk and Google is responding by providing more contextual information.
So how do you escape this vicious cycle of producing content because your competitors are beating you on Google and your aren't getting the results you were hoping for?
By using HubSpot to manage your content marketing How to use HubSpot to produce growth content?
Let revisit the big content shifts
- First page search ranking competition is higher than ever
- Marketers are creating more content than ever
- Content is underperforming more than ever
- Search engines are becoming more conversational
- Search engines are becoming more contextual
- Search engines are dictating content structure
It's important that your content
- serves a specific purpose
- for a specific audience
- about a specific topic
- provides lasting value
If you are focused on creating more content only to increase your content volume, don't expect it to get a lot of action.
Why? It's not original, and it doesn't serve a specific purpose for your audience. If it did, it would be original and your audience would get value from it.
Producing content that continually provides lasting-value to an audience is a process that focuses on research, testing, learning and iteration to drive growth up and costs down.
One goal is to take the risk of wasting time and money creating content that nobody wants or is interested in completely out of the equation.
Another goal is to take the hassle and extra work out of managing a time-boxed content creation project. Producing content shouldn't be this mad dash to get something out the door before the end of the month, rather a never-ending quest of delivering more value to your audience.
How do you create content for continuous improvement.
Building a content marketing machine is broken down into two categories. Content production and content promotion.
We want systems in place that focus on iterating content to match the user vs processes that focus on pumping out higher volume.
I want to talk about how HubSpot is a great tool for consistently producing engaging content that you can actually measure.
Think about the inbound marketing playbook that everyone has grown accustomed to.
Campaigns are currently built around delivering a piece of content to the right people at the right time.
A popular and effective form of utilizing inbound marketing in this way is by creating an eBook for one of your buyer personas that is meant to educate them and inspire them to take the next action.
Typically, you'd pay attention to the number of views the landing page to download the ebook gets and the number of submissions (or conversions) that took place. Then you can calculate a lead conversion rate for your new eBook.
Taking this one step further, how many people who downloaded the eBook went on to become a paying customer? Once you know this you can calculate the eBook download to customer conversion rate and get an idea of the amount of revenue that eBook has been responsible for over time.
There are two important numbers from this table. First is the number of customers that have downloaded this eBook.
The picture below shows that converting one more customer through this landing page increases it's value 25%!
But to improve our conversion rate and ultimately the number of customers we close, we need to know what we can do that will increase our performance.
Without knowing how someone who downloads an eBook engages and interacts with it, it's more difficult to exceed their ever-increase expectations the highest quality. Before you know it, your audience that fully embraced your content just a few months ago has moved on to... better things.
Note: there are multiple ways to determine the amount of credit the landing page gets.
To address this problem, we want to focus on a few different tactics. First, we want to develop a content marketing strategy focused and organized by topics. This first piece of advice touches on the changes in search. Instead of trying to take down a sought after keyword, dominate the entire topic instead.
Through a combination of linking everything together and categorizing your content under the right topics, you can begin to put yourself in a position for those long-tail keyword opportunities that you can then sprinkle into your work.
Your web guide will act as the hub for all your content assets as well as dictate your promotions.
Lets take one of our topics, content marketing, for example. First, we broke content marketing down to the most important elements, content marketing strategy, content marketing framework and content marketing plans.
From there, we broke each of those down into relevant subcategories. For content marketing strategy we used, what is content marketing, content marketing smart goals, content marketing audience, content marketing message and so on...
The idea is to create your own tree down from one of your leading topics and mimicking the tree in the form of links between each article.
Now that we have a general framework we can begin to develop our web guide. We'll start by grouping up sub categories to represent the sections or chapters of your web guide.
To create growth content, we need to build a web guide.
The main reason we want to transfer downloadable eBooks to a webpage is the ability to learn how users interact and engage with it, providing us with with the ability to capture page performance data, ask on-page survey questions, track event completions and a/b test all sorts of different paths and elements.
A web guide is similar to an eBook, but it lives on a webpage first and is repurposed to other formats, second.
To effectively use HubSpot as a tool for building web guides instead of eBooks, you'll have to do a little updating to your template structure.
Using the HubSpot COS, you can create a template that has a flex module so that the end user can add modules in the their own order when producing a new web guide.
This is the key for effectively utilizing this system otherwise, all your content layouts will be the same which will get boring for the user and frustrating for you.
So to avoid that, check out this post on building a brand style guide and baking it into your HubSpot design.
Once you've developed your overall content marketing strategy and published your first web guide or two, you are going to cycle through the continuous improvement loop.
Plan, build, test and learn.
User engagement timeline
HubSpot's CRM has a timeline view to see every interaction a user takes with your brand.
This will help you to gain a deep understanding of your users so you can make more informed decisions by seeing how every user is interaction with your web guide.
HubSpot's contextual framework helps to build personalized content for your audiences. Because your visitors aren't one-size-fits-all, we have to make sure we are content isn't either. Create personalized content experience depending on specific behaviors, segments or personas. You can personalized your content based on any contact property set in the system including device type and location for users without previous history.
Learn from your contacts
Your ongoing research is the backbone of creating growth content. Collecting user feedback will help to inform your decisions. It will also help your messaging and alignment by hearing directly from your audience. Give your forms a purpose and personalize an area of your content guide depending on how they answer the survey.
Retain and expand your audience
Build a useful and sticky web guide for your audience. You want your website visitors to continue to visit, so give them a reason to. Using automation you can set up workflows that continually engage your audience.
Gather feedback, ask questions, inform them of related content, suggest specific actions and promote new content and experiments.
Share, align and progress
Share knowledge across marketing and sales to create alignment, transparency and accountability. Having a seamless transfer of data between marketing and sales will keep everyone on the same page working towards the same objectives. Being able to work from the same contact record and access the same tools creates an environment conducive to sharing knowledge.
Target and report on behavior
Learn what content and what parts of your content are contributing to revenue and conversions.
Attribute reporting lets you see what assets are contributing to what actions so you can iterate faster and improve the lasting value of your content.
Find the highest performing variables
Of course marketing wouldn't be marketing without a/b testing. A/b tests help you to endlessly test and iterate all elements of your content to create the best possible experience for the user.
Find out what works, and more importantly, what doesn't. Test headline variations, versions of the same image, call-to-actions, layout, design and anything else you can think of.
We love using HubSpot this way, it has streamlined our own marketing and now we want to help you do the same. Click below to learn what partnering with a content marketing coach might do for you.