Most B2B marketing practitioners understand the value of good content. The “2017 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, North America” report states that 89 percent of B2B marketers practice content marketing. As a result, this is driving a big chunk of marketing budgets as organizations glom onto content marketing’s promises for lead gen, ROI and tangible results. This is all good –at Catapult we firmly believe in the power of content. In fact, content marketing plays an important role in Strategic Narrative Marketing (SNM), the new industry-level approach to company messaging that we created for marketers and PR professionals to help their organizations stand out and drive markets.
But (there’s always a but) when 89 percent of B2B organizations are pushing their content into the digital world – and this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the B2C organizations – does that good thing get old? In the same report, 70 percent of B2B organizations said they plan to create MORE content this year than last year. That is a heck of a lot of content being distributed through the channels that we all use (social media, email, third party media sites and publications, etc.).
At what point does your audience begin to tune you out because they are overwhelmed by all the “shouting” that is happening around them?
If your plan is to out-perform the competition – good luck. We just learned that 70 percent of B2B marketers are increasing the amount of content they create. If your plan is to out shine your competition with your brilliant, high quality content – remember that there are a ton of creative and talented marketers just like you at competing B2B organizations and they too are developing great content.
The simple answer is that you need to find something totally unique to say in these crowded content channels. This is where the SNM approach shines. Think about the most disruptive, successful companies right now (hint: Amazon, Apple, Airbnb, etc.). These companies are all category leaders. When you set yourself apart from your competition by launching and owning a category your content is going to be completely unique and it’s going to set you apart from your competition.
Besides, who doesn’t want to own an industry category or a unique space they can call their own? The path to owning a category requires an industry-level narrative that will drive all of your marketing and PR efforts – including content creation and distribution. What you should immediately stop doing is talking about yourself and your brand. The good news is that a lot of marketers are catching on to this – 69 percent of survey respondents said that they are focusing on creating content for their audience, not their brand.
Building an industry-level narrative is a dedicated process. You need to carefully examine the state of your industry – what is happening right now? What are the perceptions, misperceptions, megatrends? This is where your company can find a narrative that is not only unique, but serves as a contribution to the industry at large, aligns with the overall company vision and defines what the organization stands for. As content marketers, this approach can truly serve as the foundation for setting the company apart from the competition. It is unique and high-level and rises above the industry noise.
Content marketing is good. But now that everyone is doing it, that good thing has the potential to lose steam. We need to step up our game and rethink our strategy. We need to be thinking about how our content can help us win the market and own a unique space in the industry. The Strategic Narrative Marketing approach includes the process that can help us get there.