The benefits of search engine optimization are only successfully realized when companies can actually pull the trigger on delivering content. In too many circumstances, B2B marketers sit on content, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. The marketing content automation provider TechValidate recently released a report conducted with B2B marketing professionals finding 42 percent of respondents took between two and five weeks to create each piece of content (Tweet This Stat!). What's more, 13 percent said it took 10 weeks or more to create content.
A Shift to Longer Pieces And while content marketing managers weigh their options on what strategies to employ, their online presence falls further and further into obscurity. Granted, the type of content that marketers are being asked to develop is shifting. The study found content that helps companies becoming thought leaders - white papers, case studies and product videos - take an inordinate amount of time to create. As opposed to a press release or a blog post about a singular event, long form pieces require a significant amount of research.
And we also need to consider businesses are investing more in content. A recent study conducted by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute among B2B marketers found 93 percent use content marketing as part of their overall strategy.
Don't Get Distracted by Complexity More content doesn't necessarily have to mean more complicated content. To combat much of the complexity facing companies, B2B marketers should embrace a policy of simplicity that leverages the most successful practices of a number of businesses, especially as the evidence to develop more complex content seems to be mounting.
If you are going to depend on white papers to establish your brand as a thought leader, it's probably a good idea to utilize the resources of a third-party content marketing agency. It's not actually a new policy, as the report indicated 64 percent of B2B marketers outsource writing, with large firms (1,000 or more employees) doing so more frequently that small ones. However, both tend to strike a balance between using in-house and outsourced resources.
With this strategy, you can avoid working on a white paper that was scheduled to take one month for five months. The TechValidate study found the number of marketers reporting they needed very high or high levels of time to create business or thought leadership white papers dropped from about 71 percent to 46 percent for third-party white papers.
Embrace Simplicity Another way to simplify your content creation strategy is to leverage pop culture. There is one example of this that seems easy, but really relied on exceptional timing. Do you remember when the power went out during Super Bowl XLVII? Real-time marketing is a term that gets mentioned frequently, but the list of companies that have been able to take advantage of it is sparse. It's anything but simple, but Oreo was one business that used social media to launch 10,000 retweets based off the amazingly simple phrase "You Can Still Dunk in the Dark." The media loved it, and while the ability to develop this content quickly is not easy, the idea behind it isn't.
In a similar vein, the cloud security firm SunGard developed a content marketing strategy based on the popular craze for zombies. In effect, the company prepared businesses' IT departments for a transition to the cloud using the same logic as getting ready for a zombie apocalypse. As a result, the company increased its download rate by 300 percent and email open rate by nearly 6 percent. One of the trickiest parts of creating content is making it compelling. Pop culture is a simple way to make sure your audience is interested and can understand the message.