HomeBlog B-to-B Content: Three Common Mistakes

B-to-B Content: Three Common Mistakes

October 09, 2014 | By Jessica Lillian

B-to-b organizations typically spend a significant amount of money producing and managing content. How to make sure that the money is well spent?

B-to-b organizations typically spend a significant amount of money producing and managing content. So, how can they ensure that this money is well spent and avoid creating content assets that sit unused on portals or fail to resonate with buyers, sales reps and other users?

b-to-b contentAnswering this question was on the agenda at SiriusDecisions’ recent Intelligent Growth Live Google Hangout, as Marisa Kopec, Erin Provey and Jacques Begin discussed how best-in-class organizations create, use and measure their content.

As the analysts mentioned during their Hangout, developing a successful b-to-b content process is typically a lengthy journey. For example, implementing the SiriusDecisions Content Model requires creating a content operations role and overhauling multiple existing processes.

However, any organization can start improving its content processes by taking an honest look at its current state and recognizing the most critical problems to address. The Hangout focused on three content mistakes that b-to-b organizations often make:

1. Having too much content. If existing content assets fall flat with users – whether new buyers, existing customers or the organization’s own sales reps – marketers might be tempted to respond by pumping out ever-increasing volumes of content. As portals become more disorganized and redundant, users struggle to find what they’re looking for – and more and more content goes unused.

The first step to stopping the vicious cycle of content overproduction is acknowledging the current waste, Erin said. Later, marketers can conduct a deep analysis of their content libraries’ various audiences. This audit can help determine which subjects, content types and specific assets are most relevant, and which are no longer needed.

2. Treating technology as a panacea. The recent rise of software-as-a-service offerings has unshackled technology purchase and ownership from corporate IT departments, allowing marketing and other functions to select, purchase and operate function-specific tools independently, Jacques said.

Purchasing and using content marketing software, for example, can help marketers collaboratively create content assets, organize and manage large collections, automate publication and produce detailed reports on content usage and effectiveness.

However, Jacques warned, software is no substitute for a well-structured, audience-centric content process. Organizations must still create audience personas, develop insights on those personas and tailor all content to meet their needs.

3. Not measuring content effectiveness properly. Organizations often measure content performance by its capability to generate leads, Erin said. But this narrow view of content value ignores the many other purposes that content can serve and fails to accurately assess the performance of many asset types (e.g. thought leadership articles intended to improve reputation).

A thorough measurement system requires assessing content through several lenses. First, measure utilization not just by views, downloads and other raw numbers, but also by whether the content was consumed by the right audiences and at the intended stage of the buyer’s journey. Measure content quality through online rating systems as well as conversations with sales reps on whether buyers and customers found the content useful.

Don’t forget to factor in the content creation process when evaluating assets, Erin added. A piece of content might perform well, but if it required significantly more time and money to create than the average piece of content, its ROI might be reduced.

Want more tips on creating and using b-to-b content? Watch the full replay of the Hangout here.

Jessica Lillian

Jessica F. Lillian is a senior editor at SiriusDecisions and has more than seven years of b-to-b editorial experience, including five years as the editor of national b-to-b magazines. Follow Jessica on Twitter @jessica_lillian

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