Lindsay Tjepkema is CEO and co-founder at castthe world’s first Amplified Marketing Platform.
The creative renaissance is here. The bar for creativity is raising every day everywhere. We watch, listen and read exceptional content from all kinds of individuals and brands. The coolest, most compelling thing you’ve seen on the web lately may have been created by someone with a smartphone, a friend, and an idea.
I call it the “Netflixization” of content. Whether you’re a teen making videos on TikTok, a brand that posts stories on Instagram, or a production company premiering a series on Disney+, audiences have high expectations for everything they experience. We are all human. We experience ourselves. We all want smarter, sharper and more relevant work – consistently.
What do these expectations mean for content marketers in the B2B space? We don’t just compete with each other. We compete with everything: the Denny’s Twitter account, the Duolingo owl on TikTok, the audiobook or podcast and all streaming services.
Your audience has limited time, but also infinite possibilities for content consumption. Your work has to stand out, otherwise the public will (rightly) relegate it to the black hole of dullness.
If I want richer, more engaging content, it might sound like I’m instructing marketers to do even more work, expecting to keep creating at breakneck speed while increasing their creativity and quality. After all, who needs sleep? But fear not. I’m not advocating insomnia – I know there’s a better way for us to create content that stuns audiences and gives marketers the freedom to follow their creativity.
Do more with less
The burden on B2B content marketers to constantly create is overwhelming. I know it’s because I’ve built my career as a B2B marketer and I’ve seen demand grow and resources dwindle. Over 100 marketers surveyed by my company for a 2022 report said they were about… 33 hours a week creating content, leaving only seven hours to tackle their myriad other responsibilities. I know that marketers chase unrealistic expectations, while the pursuit of creativity and focus on connection fly out the window.
Rather than add another voice to the cacophony asking marketers to do more with less, I suggest we look at the bigger picture. What if the premise of current content marketing strategies is the problem?
believe the lies
I believe that we content marketers are victims of confabulation (my new favorite word, compliments from Brene Brown† A confabulation is a lie told honestly. We have internalized the lie that:
• Constantly producing more content, regardless of quality, is better.
• The algorithm is king.
• Rankings and statistics (usually vanity) are the main measure of success.
These lies fueled the acceleration towards a flood of “nonsense content” others have been warning about it for ten years.
We also believe that we should all do it. Each channel has its own strategy, with exhausted marketers create, create, create. Then when a new format comes on the market, we also have to master it along with the point solution we use to manage it. We don’t get a better connection with our audience or more creative content – we get chaos.
Strengthen for better results
A reinforced marketing strategy can take your marketing team back to the cornerstones of creativity and connection and ultimately allow, even encourage, them to catch their breath.
By rejecting the pursuit of quantity and focusing on authentic communication, invigorated marketing gives marketers time to chase their creative impulses and create big, bold expectations that compete with the Marvels and Pixars of the world.
The first step in an enhanced marketing strategy is targeting the audience. Who are they and what are they looking for? Determine what has been done well in the past to establish audience preferences, such as keywords and topics that resonate. Instead of spending hours researching what an expert might say to inform a blog post you write, find and talk to the real experts. Determine who is qualified to engage your audience’s interests, inspire them, and answer their questions. Maybe it’s an expert in your business or an industry thought leader with big ideas and a story to share.
But you don’t have to start all over again. Find pieces from the past that performed well and work them into future storylines: a podcast clip here, a transcribed quote there. Fog rich content from your past as building blocks for new work.
Once you’ve found a relevant topic and found your expert, you can start a conversation. Record it with whatever you have: professional recording equipment, a Zoom call or even a smartphone.
Treat this conversation as a resource, an infinite source of inspiration to fuel your content creation. Transform the conversation into podcast episodes or a series of webinars. Use the transcript to inspire a series of blog posts. Pick the best one-liners and essential discussions, and embed them as video and audio clips into email campaigns and social media. Blend the old with the new, working past content in your new creations to provide maximum value.
Amplified marketing works best when your content and teams are aligned. When capturing an extended conversation, identify the other available formats to increase the reach. Adjust it for each channel. Share the specified content across your marketing teams and through the channels your audience uses most.
Once you release it into the wild, measure the effectiveness of your content in any format using metrics designed to tell you about engagement. Then repeat the steps to pursue your success.
I don’t want content marketers to feel bored and exhausted. I don’t want them to watch others create exciting, engaging content as they dabble and publish work that is “good enough to go live.” I also don’t want the public to suffer from mountains of irrelevant content because eventually they will back off and walk away altogether.
Let’s let go of the lies. Let’s stop creating low-quality work for search engines and prioritize the needs of our target audience. Let’s make it great and maximize its reach. It’s better here, I promise.