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Connecting With Future Buyers: Why Marketers Demand A Higher Standard Of B2B Content (2/4)

Approx 4 min. read

Patrick Gallant

January 5, 2023

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evolving content expectations with a laptop, floating youtube icons, a letter that's being written by a huge pencil

In our last article, Connecting With Future Buyers, we looked at three different factors driving current changes in the buying habits of B2B leaders. The first factor we considered was customer expectations about content.

Put simply, there is too much content out there today, and not enough of it is any good. The overwhelming majority of it gets ignored. This has consequences for B2B marketing, as future buyers are not likely to buy from your business if they aren’t even interested in your thoughts.

Consuming content online often feels like listening to white noiserepetitive and monotonous. Successful content marketing is like making music that people will want to listen to. You need to make good music that is the right genre for your audience.

In this article, we will take a closer look at what’s going on with content, and how you can make your content stand out in a competitive environment

Recap From Post 1

We considered two main points about content in the previous article:

  • The majority of content is of low quality and continues to be of even lower quality.
  • People want to read more provocative content.

It’s not hard to see why this is happening. Content marketing is an increasingly important tool, and most businesses will try it out to some degree. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t have the resources or know-how to produce original content marketing efforts and wind up rehashing their competitors’ content.

This creates an online echo chamber content ecosystem, where almost everything is noise and almost nothing is signal. Consuming content feels like listening to static. 

In this kind of environment, our brains become even more sensitive to anything that’s different. We crave content that says something, anything new, especially if it’s provocative. Any kind of music is better than white noise.

The danger, as you are probably now thinking, is in the tendency for this situation to reward more and more salacious content, leading to a vicious cycle. This is certainly how extremist content has become popularized online in recent years, but the same effect can be used for more constructive purposes.

The challenge in content marketing is to be bold enough to attract attention and to direct that attention to the purpose of selling your business.

Hard Facts About Content

Some concrete statistics will help show exactly what state the content marketplace is in today.

Content marketing is changing rapidly. A HubSpot survey found that almost 80% of marketers think their industry has changed more in the past 3 years than in the past 50. Yeah, that’s a TON. 

recent research suggests that 80% of marketers think their industry has changed a lotBusinesses are spending more and more money on content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 66% of businesses will spend more on content marketing in 2022 than in 2021.

Yet most content that is produced yields few good results. One LinkedIn survey found that 55% of B2B owners said that if a piece of thought leadership does not catch their interest in under 60 seconds, they will move on.

71% of B2B owners have higher expectationsAlso, 71% said that less than half of the thought leadership they consume gives them valuable insights. Customers expect what they read to be new and exciting.

How to Make Better Content

Businesses face several choices when crafting content for social media marketing. What medium? Long-form or short-form? How often should you publish?

how to make great contentTo make content that attracts attention, we recommend these four key principles following:

  • Quality over quantity
  • Long-form writing
  • Short-form video
  • Looking at what your competitors are missing

a winning strategy includes short form video and knowing what competitors are missing

Quality Over quantity

A medical blog could effectively duplicate the articles on Healthline, or a finance company could duplicate the articles on Investopedia. But no one would read their content, because we already have Healthline and Investopedia.

To attract attention, write articles that no one has written about before. This might seem counterintuitive, as this may mean writing articles with less popular keywords. But it will ensure that people will be more likely to sit down and actually read your work.

Long-form Writing

Research in the 1920s concluded that long-form works better than short-form in advertising. A hundred years later, a ton has changed, but this insight still holds true. 

While a long article may look daunting, it also looks like it may have more information. People don’t really have a limited attention span online, it’s just that most of what they do see doesn’t look like it’s worth reading. Chances are, you’ve stumbled upon a 5,000-word article once or twice and spent a couple of hours reading it.

Short-form Video

When it comes to video, the situation may actually be reversed. There’s a reason why TikTok is so popular–people love short videos that get right to the point. You can also repurpose your written content to create videos, although this might mean splitting it up into multiple videos. 

The difficulty here is how to attract attention and differentiate yourself from other businesses. You really only have a few seconds to work with–think of Youtube, where most people click away after the 5 seconds are up and they can skip the ad. Customers expect to have their attention hooked fast, if at all.

Look for What Your Competitors are Missing

There’s one line of thinking that says you should do exactly what your competitors are doing, only better. That way, you can outcompete them.

But another line of thinking says you should not do what your competitors are doing because that’s where they are strongest. Instead, act where they are weakest. Look for the types of content they aren’t producing, and go beyond what your customers expect.

Be Original, and Be Different

It may be cliche to repeat the tired advice of “Be yourself”, but it is fundamental to success in the content space. Or more precisely, the advice should be: Don’t try to be someone else. Play your own music and remain authentic.

All you really need to attract attention is to say something new, but that doesn’t mean you have to say anything so bold that it loses validity. Many obvious content topics are not written about, because most businesses are too busy copying each other’s content to write captivating articles about them.

Success in the content space comes down to writing original content that people want to consume. It comes down to standing apart from the crowd, diluting the noise with real information, and going beyond customer expectations.

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