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In 2011, marketers began saying that "content marketing is more important than advertising" and given the growth of content marketing in 2012, it would appear that they meant what they said.
And not just in the consumer space. Although selling content marketing to leadership has been a challenge for some B2B marketers, the use of content marketing at B2B organizations is growing rapidly.
Most digital marketers have a content strategy they would confidently defend and rightly so. Content strategies ensure there’s always something new and useful on your site for visitors and define how that content will be promoted.
The main problem with this is that something that probably started off with all the best intentions can quickly become lip service and a chore.
Keeping it fresh and relevant is a challenge.
Most content marketing experts say, "engaging content drives sales." In reality even the most engaging blogs, Facebook timelines or LinkedIn discussions fail to produce leads and sales.
For most businesses, engaging customers creates profitless prosperity. They have impressive marketing statistics that ultimately don't directly help generate leads and sales. Businesses who DO create leads and sales using social selling seem to know something the rest of us don't.
In B2B content marketing, what you write about can be as important as what you write.
But there's a hell of a lot of so-called 'thought leadership' out there that isn't leading anyone's thought at all. That's because it isn't written from the company's true sphere of authority -- from the 'sweet spot'.
If you're committed to content marketing (as I'm sure you are) it's incredibly important to think about your sweet spot and keep your content inside it.
As content marketing leaps 'the chasm' and lands in Geoffrey Moore's back garden, more and more marketers are on the lookout for a B2B content marketing agency that can make them famous.
That's a good thing. But almost every B2B agency out there is hurriedly carving a new 'Content Marketing' sign for their front door.
So it pays to have a think before you get yourself committed.
As content marketing goes mainstream in B2B, it's becoming something of a religion. And like all religions, a lot of it is based on articles of faith that are handed down, tweet by tweet, until they're considered gospel.
To question them is to risk being denounced as a heretic and made to do any of those horrible things religions do to their heretics (many involving fire or flaying or feathers).
I'm not in the market for a flaying or a feathering but there's one article of faith that I'd like to challenge here.
The one that says, "Content marketing is not about you, it's about your customers. Great content marketing is as far from old-school, interruption-based, broadcast-style marketing as Jamon Iberico is to Pepperami".
Let's pick that one apart...
Your audience's opinions abut your content depends largely on their expectations, but few B2B marketers think about managing expectations around their content marketing.