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What is Efficient Marketing Content & Collateral?

Only 5% of branded content garners 90% of all engagement (Source). That must mean that 95% of content and collateral produced by a brand is a waste of time, money and effort.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketers in the UK dedicated an average of 36% of their marketing budget to content marketing. If your content and collateral isn’t up to scratch, that’s a lot of money being wasted.

Content Marketing in the UK 2017: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: Content Marketing Institute

Content Marketing in the UK 2017: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: Content Marketing Institute

As a content marketer, that’s a pretty tough pill to swallow. And yet the phrase ‘not all content is created equally’ is bandied about like a tennis ball at Wimbledon.  

What Is Inefficient Content?

The 95% is inefficient content. If it’s not engaging or resonating with consumers, if it’s not furthering them down the sales funnel or encouraging them to take desired actions, then it’s bad content.

It’s ignorable, uninteresting, unmemorable and… it’s pushing good consumers into the arms of your competitors.

Think back to the Content Conundrum; the cycle of consumer being content creator and content seeker, needing the same element of content that they create from peers, to help them make their purchasing decisions.

If consumers are disappointed by the marketing collateral they are receiving from your brand, it’s very easy for them to get what they need elsewhere. And your competitors are out there, with their better content, ready to Search Snatch.

So what’s going on to make content such a turn off?

Content Issues

1. It’s Boring – Interest is in the eye of the beholder/consumer. What attracts one consumer may not engage another. Not doing research or understanding segments means your content won’t even register on their radar.

2. It’s Untrustworthy – Only 22% of brands in North America and 31% in Western Europe are trusted (Source). That goes for their content too. Why? Usually because it’s salesy, biased and has an agenda to make money. Savvy consumers can see right through that.

3. It’s Irrelevant – Either it doesn’t have a clear point or purpose, or it’s on a topic completely unrelated to consumers needs, wants and interests.

4. It’s Untargeted – Mass, vague communications should be a thing of the past. There are enough resources available nowadays to help you understand who your consumers are, what they like and what they don’t. Take that information and make beautiful targeting and personalisation happen.

5. It’s Poorly Timed – Consumers need to receive the right content, at the right time in order for it to have an influential effect.

6. It Has No Purpose – Each piece of content you create needs a purpose, a reason for spending time, money and effort into creating it. What do you want consumers to do with it? How do you want them to respond to it? If you don’t have an objective for the content, how can you make it happen?

7. It’s Being Distributed Incorrectly – If the majority of your target consumers are on Facebook and Instagram, then adverts on Twitter aren’t going to see much traction. If they aren’t on there, they can’t interact.

Main Challenges Marketers Encounter When Creating Content

Bad content isn’t an accident, it’s the consequence of an accumulation of all too familiar marketing issues.

1. A Lot Of Brands Don’t Know What Content They Already Have – Or how it has previously performed. A lot have brands have content spread higgledy-piggledy across the business. Items could be saved locally on hard drives, hidden in random Windows or Google Drive files or buried within one of several tools your brand uses. Not only does this mean that marketers waste time reinventing the wheel, they may be recreating a piece that has previously flopped.

2. Time And Resource Constraints – 48% of marketers have sited not having enough time devoted to content marketing as a major issue (Source). Comprehensive planning and a detailed strategy will help focus priorities and direct where time is best spent. Curating consumer content is also a quick and easy way to increase the volume of content.

3. Lack Of Budget – Budget is always on the minds of marketers, particularly when having to justify every penny spent and proving ROI. Determining content goals, accurately measuring the right metrics and actively responding to them is the best way to make sure money is being wisely spent.

4. Repetitive Topics – There are hundreds of thousands of pieces of promotional content (subtle or not) created and published every day. Publishing original, unique content has become a race for many brands. But in a world of content saturation, there can only be one winner. A lot of marketers have fallen into the trap of developing as much content as possible, when in fact they should be focusing on creating the least amount of content to generate the largest impact. As such a lot of the content produced is monotonous and lacking in variety. Every piece of content should be planned with the following questions in mind; is it different to what competitors have done? Why should the consumer care? Why would consumers pick this piece of content over others?

5. Subjective Quality – Quality is still a big issue in content marketing. Writers and producers are biased and protective over their work and not all people have the same opinions about what is high quality. At the end of the day, the only people qualified to decide whether content is valuable are the consumers, and they’ll let you know with their lack of interaction (or negative interaction) if they don’t like it. Your job as a marketer is to pay attention to them.

Creating Efficient Content

So if ineffective content is forgettable, uninspiring and insipid, then efficient content is the opposite. It’s engaging, exciting and compelling. It both has a purpose and fulfils that function. Consumers and brands alike benefit from it.  

Benefits include;

  • Increased brand visibility, awareness and recognition
  • Strong consumer relationships
  • Heightened consumer interest and trust
  • Increased traffic and improved lead generation
  • Better consumer journey and stable funnel movement
  • Improved marketing ROI and goal achievement
  • A rise in conversions

Producing content that can wow and create a buzz isn’t going to happen overnight, but adopting the following tips will set you on the right track.

  • Get Organised – Start with a content audit. Understand what content your brand already owns, pulling it from all corners of the business and from all locations. Store it all in one easy to use location and make that all appropriate employees have access. Dig deeper and evaluate the performance of each piece. With those that have done well, try to understand why and how you can build that into your ongoing strategies. Make sure that knowledge is easily accessible to all marketers across the brand and break down communication silos.
  • Define Clear Content Goals – A clear strategy should be in place to make sure your brand is maximising its marketing efforts. Examine the wider scope of your brands needs and wants to create content goals. Do you need to support increased traffic to a particular site? Do you need to generate more leads? Would you like to simply boost consumer engagement? When your goals are clear, the direction you need to take with your content will also become clear. Give content an explicit purpose and make it work hard for you.
  • Understand Target Consumers/Research – Be aware of the industry and society you work in, the way it’s changing and how this impacts consumers. What do they want, what do they need and what do they hate. Once you fully understand their needs, but them at the heart of all your campaigns. Your consumers are your ultimate concern, so produce content that reflects that.
  • Reach Out To Consumers – Curate and repurpose consumers content to backup your overall marketing messages and take off some of the heat associated with producing lots of content. Let their words do the selling for you, after all 92% of consumers worldwide say they trust word-of mouth more than any kind of advertising (Source). FYI, there are a range of technologies that can help you find and repurpose this User Generated Content (UGC).
  • Evaluate And Action – So many resources are wasted by marketers that continuously churn out ineffective marketing assets. If it didn’t work yesterday, it’s certainly not going to work tomorrow, and yet here it is, being blindly distributed time and time again. If certain types of content or particular topics aren’t generating engagement, then cut it out. Likewise, if it’s doing well, then monopolise on that. And don’t forget to make high performing content go further by adding on CTA’s.

Having effective, compelling marketing content and collateral is only way to advance your brand, win consumers from your competitors and hit your marketing goals. Whilst there are many hurdles in the way, have a succinct plan of action will help you and your team to keep on top of the tasks.

Collaborative content management and optimisation tools can help take some of the burden off your shoulders. Content Acceleration capabilities can mobilise the ultimate mix of your owned content (Brand Generated Content or BGC) and UGC to offer eye-catching displays of authentic information. Intelligence competencies can simplify analytics and control the optimisation process, making sure that only the best content is shared with the world. Smart publishing proficiencies will manage the distribution process, automatically optimising content for its destination.

A single tool that can do all of that and more sounds like a myth, and yet it actually exists. Here at StoryStream we’ve developed a responsive, intelligent platform that can easily become your right hand man and make your job easier.

Contact our marketing content experts today to find out more.

First published on the StoryStream blog site