Content marketing standards might be at an all-time low. Many business-to-business companies are outsourcing content creation, often to “jack-of-all-trades”-content farms who do not have a deep understanding of the businesses they are writing about. Also, we are seeing automated content and the use of robots or AI for content creation grow in popularity. Heck, even journalism organizations like the Associated Press are using robots to write stories, so why not?
But is all of this content really creating value or is it just making more noise? Are we drowning in a sea of buzzwords and sacrificing the art of writing to SEO? Any writer who values the art (and their job) would say yes.
By making a small monthly investment, any startup or tech company can have an active blog and an arsenal of marketing emails ready to blast into the ether, but chances are, the audience isn’t really reading anything and worse, the audience is not inspired or incited to take action or believe in the company’s cause. It’s just spam.
A company’s content needs to be guided by an industry narrative, and like chapters in a book, each piece of content helps to tell a story.
A Strategic Industry Narrative is:
- Most important, it is inclusive, not exclusive – even your competitors are allowed
It is a vision statement—not for the company, but for the industry as a whole, one that your company can define and lead. Strategic Narratives create new categories and new language, rather than regurgitating what already exists. Sure, the new approach takes some time and thought, unlike outsourcing to a robot, but in the end it is worth it.
How does an organization align all content marketing efforts with a Strategic Narrative?
Guy Murrel, author of “A Practical Guide to Strategic Narrative Marketing: How to Lead Markets, Stand Apart and Say Something Compelling in a Crowded Content World,” outlines the process like this:
“In the context of marketing and executive leadership, we look at strategic narratives as brand new spaces of messaging. And, the best way to do that is to NOT talk about yourself – but paint an industry vision and make a contribution to the overall good of the category. Successful, forward-thinking companies develop a strategic narrative that accomplishes one or more of the following four things:
- Creates a new industry or product/service category;
- Re-defines and reinvigorates an existing category;
- Develops a new product or process framework;
- Educates and/or clarifies a major industry misconception.
If a company can successfully develop a strategic narrative around these core tenets, it can actively lead and take hold of a stagnant market. It can move from convincing to leading.”
Of course your company and products fit into this framework, but once you have a strategic industry narrative guiding your content creation efforts, you no longer have to try and convince the market that they need you. Instead, you become the thought leadership expert on a new innovative view of the world and watch your customers, prospects, the analyst community and your competitors follow along. While everyone else has his/her nose to the grindstone, you take part in shaping the future itself.
An industry narrative creates compelling content – based on industry mega-trends, company insights and category vision. This kind of content doesn’t land in the spam folder because now, rather than shaping your content around the next big thing, you become the next big thing. Inevitably your audience will grow.
A Strategic Narrative should serve as an industry contribution that is open to all – even competitors. In fact, when competitors pick up the narrative it is a validation of the success of your industry leadership.
It is time for B2B companies to stop filling our spam folders and take a more thoughtful approach. It is still true that quality beats quantity in the end and that will never change.
In an age where robots create news and email messaging is automated, let’s re-think content creation in light of strategic narrative marketing. Let’s use our human brains to create meaningful, inspiring messages that revolutionize the industry.