Is your B2B content working? This might seem like a pretty upfront question, but the fact is that many people either do not regularly evaluate their strategy or struggle to answer the question: Does my content achieve my goals? There are only 2 possible answers to this question: A. yes things are great and B. no I am not seeing the results that I would like. If your content campaign has failed to deliver results, how can you break down why it failed, learn from the experience and knock it out of the park next time around? Well that is just what we will help you with in this article by sharing 5 lessons to learn from failed content.
Create a content marketing strategy
If we go back to the beginning of the process, did you start out with a solid content marketing strategy? According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Content Management & Strategy Survey, 92% of marketers say that their brands value content as a business asset, but only 46% have a strategy in place for managing it as such. So, if your content failed due to the lack of strategy, you are not alone.
B2B content marketing is a marathon not a sprint. It takes dedication and persistence to develop quality content that your readers find significant value in. You will need to define your objectives and KPI’s, get to know your audience, develop your publishing processes, analyse your campaigns and after all of this, fine tune each of these as you learn and grow.
Define clear goals and KPI’s
At the beginning of your campaign, did you set up your goals and KPI’s? To set a content marketing campaign up for success, it’s important to first identify what your content marketing goals are and then tie these specific goals into Key Performance Indicator’s or (KPI’s). A KPI is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively you are achieving key business objectives. Organisations use KPIs at multiple levels to evaluate their success in reaching targets. For the purposes of our conversation today we’re using them to measure the success of our content. A few good examples of KPI’s include:
- Brand awareness
- Audience engagement
- Lead generation
- Sales enablement
After you have identified which KPI’s you will use to measure your specific business goals, you will be on your way to developing the content you will share with your readers. If you did not take these initial steps it is likely that your content didn’t hit the mark when it came to your expectations. But never fear, it is through trial and error that we often glean the best lessons.
Take your reader into account when brainstorming ideas
While you were creating your ideas and writing your content did you create buyer personas so that you had a solid understanding of who your readers were? Basically, a buyer persona is a detailed description of what your ideal customer looks like. It should include as much information as you can gather, including demographic information, career background, age range, interests, pain points, and conversely what they are not interested in. By creating buyer personas, you can clearly define your target customers and create marketing messages that will resonate with them. It is likely that you will need to create more than one buyer persona and develop different marketing messages for each of these targets.
If you did not take your reader into account during this phase, it is likely that the content produced and published did not resonate with your target audience. In the crowded world of web content, it is important that you are delivering the information that your audience is looking for, that will help them in their day to day work, and provide a solution to their problem. Moving forward, make sure to develop these personas before launching your next campaign to achieve the most impact.
Execute the right content at the right time in the right place
Successful B2B content marketing delivers the correct information to a target audience, on the right platform, at the best time for them. Did you take all of this into account when you decided where and when to post your content? If not, that could have contributed to the failure of your campaign.
The basis of many content strategies is a consistent blog post schedule, and this is a good place to start. After you have devised this, there are numerous other avenues your content marketing can take to expand your presence and reach your audience. A few of these include, case studies, infographics, and audio and video presentations. We have written an in-depth white paper about the trends that will drive savvy B2B content marketing in 2019 that you can download here.
In addition to getting the correct information to your readers you need to post to the right platforms at the right times. LinkedIn is the #1 platform for B2B sharing. So that is a good place to start. Studies show that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. Generally speaking, it is best to post Monday to Friday between 10am-2pm, since that is when most business executives are online. But due to LinkedIn’s algorithm, we would also suggest posting more often than this for exposure on the highest number of newsfeeds.
Measure and analyse your campaign
Did you set up a process by which to measure your efforts? If not, this is one more factor to consider when determining why your campaign failed. The way you analyse your campaign will vary depending on where you posted your content. If you published on your company’s blog, there are a few metrics that will be useful such as unique visits, time spent on the article, time on your site, total page views and return visits. If you posted to social media channels, you will want to measure the referrals, how many readers clicked back through to your blog to read the whole article.
As mentioned earlier in this post, you will be fine tuning your methods iteratively and you cannot refine your content marketing unless you understand how it is performing. Over time, trends will surface that will make it easier to make more informed decisions about topics and distribution.
So there you have it, 5 lessons to learn from failed B2B content which you can use to help make sure that the next campaign hits the mark. There is no need to worry if you have come up against any of these roadblocks in your content marketing endeavours:
“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to use failure that often leads to greater success”. – J.K. Rowling
If you would like to explore any of these lessons further or need help evaluating your B2B content marketing strategy, reach out to us at [email protected].