Debunking the 5 Myths of Content Marketing
September 23, 2016
If you were to visit any of our three LinkedIn India offices this past week, you could not have missed the vibe, the exuberance and the sheer pride amongst the employees.
We had good reason to turn it into a week long celebration – Our CEO Jeff Weiner and CMO Shannon Stubo were in the country. Towards the end of their visit, we launched three new products – LinkedIn Starter Pack, LinkedIn Lite and LinkedIn Placements – developed by the LinkedIn India team for the India market.
To close off their visit, we gathered over 400 Indian marketers together in Gurgaon, India, to talk about the transformation of the marketing role. You can view highlights of the day here. If you missed the event, here are some of the content marketing myths debunked during the sessions.
Myth 1: B2B Content Needs to be Serious
We are used to B2B content that comes from a subject matter expert, has tons of technical terms, buzzwords and data points. This has somehow built a perception that B2B content will stand out only when it adopts a serious tone. This notion prevents B2B marketers from exploring the lighter side of their brand thorough content. Therefore we miss out on building a human connect with potential customers.
So our advice for all B2B marketers out there is this – your content needs to be engaging. Research conducted among Indian Marketers shows that while 66% plan to invest more in content marketing because they feel that it is one of the top tactics to positively impact performance, the biggest struggle for them is creating engaging content.
Myth 2: Content Marketing Takes a Village
Marketers understand the importance of content marketing and know that it is a long-term strategic bet. They feel doing it right requires tons of resources and this becomes a barrier for brands to explore strategic content marketing. If any marketer reading this feels the same, we are here to tell you that it definitely does not take a village to be great at content marketing.
At LinkedIn, we have a global team of 4 that produces all the content needed to power the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions campaigns across the various stages of the purchase path. We have a couple of people in regions like APAC who leverage the great work done globally and also manage local campaigns. This small team not only leans on the sales team to promote content amongst clients, but subject matter experts from within the team are also invited for content co-creation.
We believe that if we can do it with such a small team, anyone can.
Myth 3: Lead Generation is a KPI for the Demand Gen Marketer Alone
The marketing function is increasingly rated on revenue generated and not the top funnel metrics alone. However, it’s only the demand gen marketer on the team whose everyday operating priority reflects this key performance indicator.
For maximum impact, we need to build an integrated marketing function that not only works seamlessly across all marketing functions but also coordinates with sales, PR and the training teams. Effective lead generation does not happen at the desk of the demand gen marketer alone.
As an example, if the demand gen marketer is planning to launch a gated webinar, the sales team is involved in getting the right people to register for it, the website needs to have relevant content so that after the webinar a prospect can find out more, the tele calling team needs to be trained on what the webinar is going to address and so on and so forth. Done in an integrated manner, we refer to it as demand management rather than demand generation.
Myth 4: Social Media Followers Care About Your Brand
The discovery that buyers are online 24/7 and a brand cannot control all conversations brought social media to the center of marketing strategy. We invested a lot of time and effort into aggregating the right set of followers on these channels and some of us even did PR around having the highest social media followers in our industry. Since we put in the effort in building this relevant channel it was natural to start using these channels for selling our products and services.
What we fail to remember is that none of the social media followers wake up every morning thinking: What new product is brand X going to inform me about today?
To really unlock the power of these social media channels our content should be about giving, not selling. Andrea Edwards, CEO of The Digital Conversationalist, calls it the 'Giving Economy'. If we want to create long-term relationships with our customers and prospects, let’s really create content with the customer at the center and not pieces that are just a thinly veiled attempt at selling our products.
Myth 5: More Content = Better Performance
Content engagement is now at the center of lead scoring. The more a prospect interacts with content on our website, the higher their lead score.
This is proving to be inefficient because it's encouraging us to produce more content in the hope that people will touch it more. But it doesn't necessarily mean that it was valuable to them.
In other words, our marketing world is going through a Content Shock. Just in the last 5 minutes that you've been reading this blog, you probably have received multiple messages on email, social media and messaging apps combined. Just pause and think about how many you saw and of those, how many you recollect. Research shows that “we've gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day today.”
On one hand we are creating this abundant content and on the other hand our ability to retain and pay attention to this content is lower than that of a goldfish.
Whether you are a small business owner with one person creating and managing content or a large organization with internal and external teams, remember to keep the customer at the center of content creation and always think customer value before distributing the piece of content.
As Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute said, “Mediocre content will hurt your brand more than doing nothing at all.”
To learn more about how to apply best practices to your own content marketing, download The Indian Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing today!