Social media and content marketing strategies that worked well in 2012 are running out of steam. And in many cases, they just don’t work anymore.
Your customers have changed their behavior.
This was highlighted by a story published by Buffer, a leading social media software company. The company revealed that in late 2015 it had lost nearly half of its social media referral traffic in the previous twelve months.
For any marketer, this was a shocking admission.
Buffer wasn’t losing due to poor marketing or bad writing. Their content is the best in the business. And the company wasn’t alone. BuzzSumo dug into the data and found social media referral traffic was falling across the board in comparable companies like Social Media Examiner, Moz, and Copyblogger.
Mark Schaefer calls this phenomenon “content shock.” He explains, “The volume of free content is exploding at a ridiculous rate … However, our ability to consume that content (the demand) is finite. There are only so many hours in a day and even if we consume content while we eat, work and drive, there is a theoretical and inviolable limit to consumption, which we are now approaching.”
B2B content has hit the critical mass, and our customers have responded. They’re not reading as much. They’re not sharing as much. They’re not following as much.
For brands, that means we have to change our approach. As Mark aptly points out, “The idea that ‘great content rises to the top’ is over.”
B2B Buyers Binge
Content shock hasn’t displaced content marketing, it’s just changed it.
B2B buyers may not be following your posts on a daily or weekly basis, but they still want your content.
When a buyer has a major purchase to make, they read everything!
They download your white papers. They watch your videos. They search your blog. They engage with you on social media. They read the review sites. They binge on everything.
A major purchase decision triggers a fear response. As a result, the buyer works to mitigate the risks by getting informed. Bingeing on content is like putting on armor. The more you know, the more secure you feel.
Automate the Binge Response
The tried and true model of content marketing was methodical: establish an editorial calendar and stick to it.
That’s what I advocated in 2010, Market Like You’re Producing For TV. I wrote, “Producing content is not a hobby; at least not in a marketing context. Treat your content like a TV station. Set a schedule and stick to it.”
I don’t subscribe to that advice anymore. Now I look at two distinct modes of content marketing:
- Platform Building to grow your audience and reputation.
- Sales Enablement to engage buyers at strategic points in the purchase cycle.
Platform Building is a big part of what I do as a speaker and thought leader, but most organizations focus on Sales Enablement. Their objective is to use content to move the sales needle.
For Sales Enablement invest in a marketing automation tool like Pardot. Marketing automation provides you the platform to serve customers that are bingeing before they buy. It connects your website, content, email, and CRM to automate workflows while gathering data so you can respond more intelligently.
For example, I am implementing Pardot to drive my keynote speaking business. One of the workflows notifies my sales team to pick up the phone when a prospect is engaging with key pieces of content on our website. We are watching for the binges so we can be more proactive in the sales process.
This is the new era of content marketing. The strategies and tactics that worked well in 2012 don’t have the same impact in 2016. Feeds and drip marketing are rapidly losing their potency. Today we are working in the era of the binge.
How are you responding to the shifting state of social media and content marketing?