How long can your B2B content live? A week? A month? A quarter?
Most businesses embarking on a content marketing programme struggle to create content either quickly enough or often enough. While they have plenty to say and an awful lot to offer their customers, they just can’t get it out the door in time to make a difference. Then, when they do, all too often they find that it has such a short shelf-life they don’t get the return they expect.
The reasons generally come down to the type of content they choose to focus on. In thrashing around for something to talk about, they’ll latch on to whatever is topical at that particular moment. (Witness the mass of Olympics-related content last summer.) While this is fine as part of a short-term, tactical campaign, it becomes essentially disposable pretty soon after. Put simply, it dies.
Once we look beyond the tactical to the foundation for your content marketing strategy, you need content that can go on and on. Some call this ‘evergreen content’ which has a nice eco thing going on. But we like a little more brains with our content marketing – we are Considered Content after all – and nothing likes a brain more than a zombie.
3 ways to ensure your content meets the zombie test
- Focus on the customer’s most pressing needs
This really should be obvious but we still see way too much content fall flat and die because it focuses on what companies are selling rather than on genuinely helping customers do stuff that matters most to them. Some customer needs are short-term and fleeting but it’s likely that, for most, you will be helping them deal with the same challenges time and time again. You content should talk to these issues – first, last and always.
- Have a plan and stick to it
Short-term thinking leads to short lifespan content. If you’re always scrambling for next week’s content, you’ll tend to develop material that never becomes greater than the sum of its parts. You’ll create one-off hit-or-miss pieces and struggle to grow a repeat audience. As a result, you’ll need to start all over again with every piece of content you produce. Instead, get into the habit of taking a longer term view. We suggest maintaining a 60-day horizon with a unifying theme that holds that quarter’s activity together. You can still do tactical activity of course but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your longer term objectives.
- Ensure content breeds content
Everyone knows what happens if you get bitten by a zombie. Pretty soon you’re doing the undead shuffle yourself. It’s the same (well kind of) with content. Good content should breed more good content. So, an ebook can breed an infographic. A video can breed an expert interview. A white paper can breed a round-table discussion. Get this right and pretty soon you’ll be overrun with good quality content.
If you’re going to see a decent return on your investment in content marketing, you need content that performs day-in, day-out over an extended timeframe. The kind that – short of taking a shovel to the head – your customers will search out time and time again. The kind that takes brains (see what I did there?).
If you’re looking to do more with your content marketing, contact Derek (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll fix up a time to chat.
Image by Kevin Dooley