In content marketing, “more” has traditionally meant, well, more. Prospects typically consume 13 pieces of content before making a buying decision, according to studies.
However, that’s the old world. Today’s marketers should do better.
It’s time to use content more strategically. That means putting the quality of the content experience ahead of the quantity.
Why 13 Pieces of Content?
You might be wondering how we got to 13 pieces of content in the first place.
On average, B2B buyers consume up to eight vendor-created pieces of content and five third-party pieces before making a buying decision, according to research by FocusVision. That content includes videos, blog posts, whitepapers, analyst reports, testimonials, and reviews.
Accordingly, marketers create a lot of content as part of their strategy, regardless of whether every piece is consumed.
Reframing the Concept of ‘Bingeing’
We often use the phrase “binge-watching” to describe a lazy Netflix weekend. Though it’s fine to enjoy a good binge from time to time, we as marketers need to think through the journey we want our buyers to take—and help them binge the right content that will help them come to a buying decision.
If we do it right, we should be able to achieve our goal of leading them toward action in fewer content pieces. The best way to do that is by providing an experience full of relevant content they can consume, tailored to their needs, via an experience that encourages thoughtful bingeing behavior.
Why Less Is Now More
These days, a powerful content experience is about sending prospects to a location where they can find what they need quickly, without having to consume a lot of peripheral content in the process.
To make that happen, your content needs to align with who the prospects are, what they’re looking for, and where they are in the buyer journey. Perhaps you give them eight relevant content pieces you want them to binge. Those should be the best eight pieces you think will serve their needs and propel them to act.
Think of it as bingeing an awesome 12-episode series versus taking in a 150-episode series that doesn’t really have an end (or purpose) outside of being watched for the sake of watching.
Relevance Means Speed
To achieve the “less is more” approach, you need to provide relevant content to your audience. After all, irrelevant content is the top reason for lost engagement between brands and buyers, a CMO Council study found.
The more appropriate the content you provide prospects, the faster you can educate and inform them—and the shorter the time to a buying decision.
Speed doesn’t mean being fast; it means providing the right content so prospects get the information they need and not wasting time on anything irrelevant. It also means being timely; otherwise, you miss the relevance window.
So, plan to be relevant and to respond quickly. That’s the best way to break through to your audience.
Doing a Content Audit
So, how do you know what content works and what doesn’t?
Before building a content marketing strategy, perform a content audit.
Just because you have three e-books, four whitepapers, and five webinars doesn’t mean you need to send them all to every prospect. In fact, you shouldn’t. It also doesn’t mean you have to keep creating new content, because it often gets buried and it’s seldom revisited or reused.
Conducting a content audit means listing, analyzing, and evaluating all of your content assets.
Define your goals, and figure out whether your content aligns with your current marketing objectives. Identify assets that need improvement and those that can be repurposed into other formats; and combine or dispense with assets if you discover some that aren’t delivering the results you would like.
It’s Time to Change Your Approach to Content Marketing
Marketers must change their approach to content, and they must aim for the quality of the experience instead of the quantity of assets. When building a content marketing strategy, you must determine what content prospects need to consume and how to give it to them quickly, in a way that makes them want to engage.
If there’s ever a good time to be bold with your content strategy, it’s now. Don’t accept old benchmarks and assume you need to have a certain number of content assets.
Instead, focus on producing great content experiences that deliver the right information to the right people, without flooding them with materials that aren’t relevant.
When you understand your buyer personas thoroughly, you’ll have a clearer view of what their buyer journey looks like. You’ll know what questions you need to answer, and the barriers buyers face in choosing your product. Then you can map your content to answer those questions and fill in the gaps.
More Resources on Content Marketing Quality
How Agile Can Help You Balance Content Quality and Quantity
Six Tips to Ensure Your B2B Content Marketing Efforts Are Not Wasted
Content Marketing, Employee Advocacy, and the Future of B2B: Michael Brenner on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]