The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) held a webinar on December 18 about content strategy called “Roundtable: 5 Tips for Maximizing the ROI of Your Content Marketing Strategy”. The roundtable panelists were Joe Pulizzi of CMI, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, and Steve Rotter of Brightcove.
These three content marketing gurus began the webinar by discussing the findings of a recent study conducted by Pulizzi and Handley, for which they surveyed B2B companies about their content marketing efforts in order to uncover the field’s direction. The panelists showed surprise that the top content marketing goal for B2B companies is brand awareness, with 82% of respondents identifying it as a driving factor behind content marketing efforts.
Additionally, 74% of respondents to the Pulizzi and Handley case study pointed to lead generation as an important reason for investing in content marketing, and 71% selected customer acquisition as a goal.
The panelists threw out guesses as to why most B2B companies would select building brand awareness as one of the most important content marketing objectives. They pointed to the dearth of data around brand awareness as the reason why most companies have a strong brand awareness mission. With a lack of information to analyze and draw upon to calculate future strategies, it makes sense that B2B companies feel lost in the dark when it comes to building brand awareness, and thus keep it as a top priority when engaging online audiences.
Acquiring a handful of Facebook likes on a business page or even a few retweets of a particularly thought-provoking Twitter message do not necessarily correlate with stronger brand awareness. Yes, it does mean that Facebook and Twitter users are actively engaging with a company’s brand on social media through the act of liking or retweeting, but as some content marketers believe, the act of liking or retweeting has become a passive act. It requires an action as simple as clicking a button.
Thus, liking and retweeting do not advance the mission of creating brand awareness. One measurement B2B companies can look to in order to draw a parallel between online engagement and brand awareness is comments.
Responding to a Facebook post, Twitter message, or blog post with a thoughtfully composed comment means that, to a certain degree, the visitor understands the brand, and is drawn to the brand’s message to such a degree that more meaningful interaction is desirable.
If a company has set out to grow their brand awareness, and has also decided that comments trump likes as a meaningful measurement, then how does a brand begin to go after their goal of attaining more comments?
One of the most compelling insights shared during the CMI webinar was the fact that many marketers no longer sound human. Thus, the panelists recommended learning to speak like a human being again, and in the process, unlearning corporate speak. The online audience is made up of human beings, after all, so it is important to communicate messages to them as one human to another.
With the new year nearly upon us, examine your own company’s brand messages to determine if they sound like corporate claptrap, or communication imbued with human sensibility.
Good luck on your content marketing journey!
From all of us at webShine, we wish you a happy holiday season!