$958 million is a lot of money.

But according to a recent survey by Gleanster, B2B companies waste approximately $958 million each year on inefficient and ineffective content.

I spoke to Mark W. Schaefer, marketing faculty member at Rutgers University, author of The Content Code, and Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, to get to the bottom of why so much money is wasted and how you can avoid throwing your marketing budget away.
Schaefer said the survey highlighted the two hardest parts of content marketing – overcoming the advertising mindset and consistently providing content for enough time to build trust.
Schaefer explained that marketing professionals have spent their entire careers selling “stuff” and seeing an immediate impact, so it can be hard to shift to helping people with information. But when done correctly, content marketing builds trust because your information will help customers and potential customers solve their problems, making it more likely they’ll turn to your company when they need to buy.
“Search engines are like 1-800 numbers these days. When people have a question, they go to the internet. Who do you want to pick up the ‘phone’ and give them their answer with content, you or your competitor?” said Schaefer.
Here are five tips for making sure that your company doesn’t become a contributor to the $958 million in wasted content marketing dollars, and makes the most of their investment instead:
  1. Publish content consistently

    You can’t build a real-life relationship without communicating with your friend or loved one. The same is true with content marketing. Schaefer said that you will not increase loyalty that leads to sales, build the authority of your website, or increase your search ranking if you only publish once a year or even once a month. He recommends publishing on Facebook daily, Twitter three times a day, LinkedIn once a week, and on your blog at least weekly.

  2. Think outside the blog

    Everyone automatically thinks of a blog when they think of content. But there are many other ways to deliver content – infographics, video, podcasts, even apps. If you play up your company’s strengths and current resources, the content will be more authentic, higher quality, and less expensive to produce. “If you don’t have any great writers on staff, maybe you are more comfortable with video or podcasting,” said Schaefer.

  3. Write about what your customers care about

    Instead of spending hours brainstorming topics and still possibly missing the mark, talk with your sales and customer service representatives to create a list of potential content topics. They spend all day talking with customers and potential customers, so they know what your target audience cares about as well as their challenges.

  4. Use what you have

    If you are new to content marketing, you probably think you’re starting from scratch. But in reality, you’re not. Your company already has plenty of content that you can either revise for your audience or repurpose to another content form, such as customer interviews, employee speeches at conferences, case studies, and company history. Start with what you have and see how you can use this to create content that will be helpful and interesting to your audience.

  5. Make it easy to share your content

    The real results from content marketing happen when people share your content with others. Content that no one sees is pretty much wasted money. Schaefer said that the most important step is to create content that people want to share, but you should also make it as easy to share as possible by including social sharing buttons. HubSpot’s Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Creating Social Media Buttons gives templates and step-by-step instructions on creating buttons to get you started.

“People want to save money, save time, and have a happier and healthier life,” said Schaefer. “If your content can help them do this, then they will see you like a friend that is trying to help them and trust your company.”
Jennifer Goforth Gregory has been writing professionally for over 20 years. Her work has been published in places like Entreprenuer.com, Huffington Post, MSN Money, FOX Business, American Express OPENForum and QSR Magazine.
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