Over the past few years, as content marketing (aka inbound marketing) has become more widely incorporated into the marketing mix, the amount of content being created by marketers has exploded. Content marketing is now used for lead generation by 83% of B2B marketers, and it’s become more commonplace than ever for companies to have a blog or to use landing pages to capture leads. Why? The reason is simple: 93% of B2B companies say content marketing generates more leads than traditional marketing strategies.
Everyone Else is Doing It
Just because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something that is right for your company. If your company is considering implementing a content marketing program, this is very important to hear. What you don’t want to do is become just another voice in a crowded marketplace that leads to prospects being unable to differentiate your message from that of the competition. No, you need to make sure that you have a plan in place to be the leading voice in your industry and the one that is not just heard, but listened to.
Inbound Marketing Planning
At LeadG2, when we begin to work with a client on developing their content strategy, we ask a number of questions about who their target persona is and who they are trying to reach. We encourage each of our clients to come up with a “blog pledge” that helps to outline what topics their blog will address, who the writers will be, and how frequently they plan to publish. It’s all very systematic and helps to outline some of the basic components that need to be determined in order to begin creating content and generating leads.
Planning these elements is essential, but something that clients often miss in their strategy is to identify their authentic voice.
The Missing Element
Every company has a story to tell, and what’s often missing from underperforming content marketing programs isn’t necessarily that they are not posting enough or don’t have a large enough social presence to be heard. No, it’s something much more fundamental than that. Content marketing programs that lack an “authentic voice” are simply drowned out by the competition. You can’t stand out because even though you continue to turn up the volume by posting more, it’s the same pitch and same message — and it falls on deaf ears.
You are missing the key ingredient to content marketing: having an “authentic voice."
Creating an Authentic Voice
What does your brand stand for? How was your company created? How do you help your prospects solve their most challenging problems? Why do your customers love you?
Answering questions like those above and making these answers part of your core beliefs when creating content can help you develop the authentic voice that’s struggling to get out. In order to rise above the cacophony of the crowd and let your prospects hear what you have to say, it’s crucial that you have an authentic and original message. Whatever your industry is, I can probably find 3 blogs that have almost identical articles. If I removed the branding from them and put them side by side, you wouldn’t be able to tell which company was which. It’s true. Some companies are so generic about what they publish on their blogs that there is absolutely no personality and you can’t even tell a human wrote the blog post. And you wonder why no one shares these blog posts on LinkedIn or Twitter? They have no personality and the content isn’t that insightful or even interesting. Anyone could have written it.
Our Challenge to Marketers
If you are considering starting a content marketing or inbound marketing program and haven’t thought about what your company’s story is or found your authentic voice, stop. Yes, put your plans on hold and go back to the fundamentals of marketing: know who your target persona is and what challenges they are facing, and then craft your story of how your company solves their challenges. And make sure to do it with an authentic voice so you are not just another voice in the crowd.