A recent report by CMI / Outbrain concluded (unsurprisingly) that the major content marketing challenges faced by B2B marketers are producing enough content, producing content that engages and producing sufficient content variety. A 2013 CMO Council report concluded that the delivery method has a major impact on the trustworthiness of content.
Several other research papers conclude that one of the major reasons inbound marketing fails is the failure to plan effectively before starting the process. It is suggested the plan should contain both the overall strategy and required outcomes and a detailed schedule detailing what type of content will be delivered, by what delivery method, on what dates and (critically) who will be responsible for creating the content.
Some content may be new and created by the marketing department but much is often created by others within the business with a view of value to customers and prospects. A great source of content, that requires considerably less effort, is information on products, how to guides, quality, manufacturing etc that already resides in the business and simply needs editing to be of value to customers.
The Problem With Inbound Marketing
One of the problems with any inbound marketing process, particularly in B2B markets, is securing higher management buy in to the process. Businesses used to outbound marketing often find it difficult to see the value in a new way of working with only the promise of medium to long term results rather than immediate returns.
Without a detailed plan the content marketing process will tend to drift, after the excitement of the initial push. Enthusiasm may soon wane among the mass of other priorities within the business and content may be delivered on an ad hoc basis (if at all). This reduces (or at best delays) the prospect of any returns and leads higher management to believe their initial suspicions were correct and cancel the process.
The Content Editor In Chief Role
One potential solution is to allocate a single person to drive the process, to provide help and support to those tasked with delivering content, to ensure the plan is achieved and to write, edit and source content that has the best chance of engaging customers. This is a demanding position but without it the content marketing process has little chance of delivering results.
The person may be recruited from within or brought in from outside on a temporary basis. Appointment of an internal person has some distinct advantages as they will be best placed to identify existing information that may be converted and thought leaders in the business able to create useful content. With existing personal relationships in place an internal person will be best placed to cajole those involved to deliver on their promises.
An external person with the appropriate experience will be more likely to understand the complexities of an inbound marketing process and deliver more effective content to the marketplace. An experienced external person is also more likely to have more refined content writing and editing skills than a person promoted from within.