Content could still be royalty, but it’s no longer King.
I’ve spent a large part of my working life, helping businesses to get leads – mainly through online campaigns. More specifically, value exchange campaigns (“Here’s a whitepaper, give us your data so we can put it in the top of our funnel or waterfall, and you can have a copy”).
There’s a few small issues with this, and one large problem:
The small issues:
People are consuming information in different ways these days – video usage continues to rise, and written content tends to be preferred if it is shorter, sharper, more socially-shareable. So whilst the good old whitepaper still has a place in the sales cycle, it’s further down that funnel, and diminishing in value.
The longest forms of content these days tend to be blogs such as this – even then it can be read and consumed in one view.
And shorter, more visual content is harder to put behind a value exchange, because its size is perceived to be directly linked to its value (even though that isn’t reality).
There’s definitely still value in insight-led content, irrelevant of length (such as strategy guides or perspectives) but it’s still sometimes difficult to create (as it always was) because you still have to wait for the ‘expert’ to get around to it.
The large problem:
The real issue is that the sheer quantity of content means that the overall value has diminished. It’s often no longer enough to offer content in return for a place on in your automated marketing programme. Customers and prospects want more. They want to know what tangible outcomes will happen as a result of giving ‘opt in’. On that basis, content has been usurped.
Usurped by what?
It’s still important to exchange value, but the value of what you do offer must be increased.
Firstly, if your call to action is some form of face to face engagement, they need to get something tangible from it. So instead of inviting them to hang out in your innovation centre and look at something, you need to solve a problem for them, or leave them with a specific way forward.
Dare I say it, for the more straightforward transactional exchanges, we need to get back to straightforward offers. Buy one get one free anyone?
Either way, nothing’s out of the question. Start with what you think your customer really needs or wants, and then work out how you offer it to them. The content in between will work itself out.