Most of us have a pretty good handle on B2B content marketing at this point. Sure, there are a few of you who are still dragging your feet wondering how to get your blog going, or what you actually are doing on LinkedIn besides receiving endless requests in your inbox to endorse someone you barely know for a skill you're not sure they have. (By the way if I've just described you, click here. You need help.)
But, for the rest of you, you're ready to sit back and enjoy this groove you've comfortably carved out for yourself and your marketing team. Right?
Get ready to get uncomfortable again.
That's right, I foresee another shift in B2B content marketing. What is it this time?
The Future of B2B Content Marketing, as I see it
My prediction for 2016 B2B content marketing is:
The overwhelming amount of free content will force prospects into tunnel vision. They will only view what they absolutely need to view. Marketers will need to find their niche in order to continue reaching prospects.
You've likely had the same premonition that I've had, perhaps without its being a conscious thought. This is because you subscribe yourself to countless blog posts and updates that you think will be useful. In fact, they may very well be useful to you. However, it's the sheer quantity of information that completely stalls any progressive activity. It's analyzation paralyzation.
"Because of its success, content marketers are creating an ever-increasing amount of content (27,000,000 pieces per day), doubling (depending on who you talk to) the entire amount of available web-based information every 9–24 months." ~ James Scherer, Content Strategist at Wishpond
Certainly that's not a term that any marketer wants to hear, but if you get a jump start on things, you can turn content shock into an advantage. Let's check out how to do that.
5 Ways to Beat Content Shock in 2016
This is serious business. Let's dive right in.
1. Research New and Old Platforms
Platforms are constantly changing. It's hard to keep up with what the new Facebook guidelines are, never mind researching the new platforms.
Well, I'm here to tell you that there's no excuse for not keeping up with the changes. It's the first step in avoiding content shock. Why? Because you need to know which platforms exist and how they work, perform, and fit into your industry.
How to do it: Set aside time each week to scan social media news. Never tried Periscope? Not sure if you can auto-post to Pinterest? These are the kinds of things you, or someone on your team, needs to know.
2. Get Your Analytics in Order
If you don't track your success, you'll never make progress.
After you've researched your platforms, you'll want to test the waters. Chances are, you're already on at least a few platforms. However, they're likely not all working for you. Your analytics will tell you which ones need either an overhaul or walking papers.
How does this help content shock? Because you want to whittle your audience down to those who are actually listening and will want to continue listening. You don't want to be static.
"You can't be everything to everyone but you can be something to someone." ~ Drew Davis, Brandscaping
How to do it: Get on Google analytics, or use a CRM, like Hubspot, to help you get a better picture of what's working and what's not. After that, take some time to decide what to use and what to toss
3. Decide if You Want to Promote Thought Leadership or Lead Generation
These two concepts are quite different, but many try to meld them into one. "If I say something pithy on Twitter and then add a link to my site, I'll become a industry leader and get leads at the same time!"
Try again. These are really two separate campaigns. And if you want prospects to hear a distinguishable sound coming from your corner, you need to decide which means you'll use to accomplish each campaign.
For example, Twitter is often an excellent platform to build thought leadership or to build a network of leaders. However, you may drive more leads by a carefully-crafted email campaign to segmented contacts.
How to do it: Really only you can decide which is more important to you. If you're aiming to move to the consulting field, by all means, get your thought leadership campaign moving. However, if your current operation needs more customers, it's time to build leads. Can you do both? Sure. Just make sure you remember that they're not one and the same.
(Click here to find out how a B2B content strategy can help your content to be more successful.)
4. Focus on What You do Best
Let's face it, if you hate creating videos, it will show. The point is, don't create content just to create content. Either do it right or don't do it.
However, if you find yourself constantly coming up with ideas for new blog posts, or love creating infographics, go with it. Creating content you love is another way to segment your audience. You know what they say:
"When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks, but celebrate them with cries of "Me, too!" be sure to cherish them because those weirdos are your tribe."
Yes, you may be quirky, straight-laced, or somewhere in between, and if you let all shine through, you'll find your tribe.
(Click here to learn how owned content can benefit your small business PR.)
How to do it: Hone in on just one or two types of content that you really enjoy creating, and focus the majority of your efforts on that. If there's a type of content that's really specific to your industry and you dislike (or are really bad at) creating it, consider outsourcing it to someone who can get the job done and enjoys doing it.
5. Yeah, That's What LinkedIn is for
No matter what your industry, it's a good bet that you need LinkedIn more than you realize. While you're narrowing your focus on which B2B content marketing tools are the most effective for you, don't throw out LinkedIn.
This platform is a must-have for any B2B. It's an excellent platform to launch auxiliary blog posts, as well as create industry groups.
How to do it: Create a company and personal presence on LinkedIn that can't be ignored.
For more about that, check out our latest ebook, A Visual Guide to Creating the Perfect LinkedIn Company Page. You'll learn all about how to create a killer company description, how to make your page pop with images, and you'll even get some tips from the pros!
How are you planning on shifting your B2B marketing strategy in 2016? Let me know in the comments below!