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Bad Thought Leadership, Irrelevant Content, and a New Media Network

Surveys from Edelman and Forrester show that frustrated B2B readers give thought leadership content low marks, and most will skip out on anything they deem irrelevant. On the B2C side, Lowe’s adds a new aisle for media.

B2B thought leadership is plentiful – and pretty bad

Just 15% of decision-makers say the quality of thought leadership content is good or excellent.

That was one of the findings in a new report from Edelman – the rest of the data isn’t good either. The “glut of low-quality content” dilutes the value of thought leadership. And nearly 40% of decision-makers say there was “more content than they can manage or keep up with” during the pandemic.

More than half the decision-makers surveyed say they spend over an hour a week reading or reviewing thought leadership content. But, they say, no more than half of the content gives them “valuable insight.”

That doesn’t mean they don’t consider B2B thought leadership necessary. The study found that 65% say thought leadership can significantly change the perception of a company for the better. And 46% say it can be important in repairing the reputation of a company mired in controversy.

“Quality content grounded in fresh insights, demonstrating personality and which puts people at the center of stories, is more important than ever,” said Andrew Mildren, head of business marketing at Edelman UK and Ireland, in a press release about the survey.

WHY IT’S HOT: Poor quality content should concern all publishers of B2B thought leadership. As volume increases and quality diminishes, decision-makers likely will give thought leadership content less time and attention.

Of course, there’s a promising side, too. If you grab decision makers’ attention with high-quality, relevant content, you’re more likely to stay in their content circle of trust even as they click “unsubscribe” or ignore the rest.

Poor quality #B2B thought leadership #content is a problem. As volume increases and quality diminishes, decision-makers will give it less attention. But there is a bright side, says @CMIContent @EdelmanUK. Click To Tweet

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Buyers want content; marketers worry they can’t engage

Almost two-thirds of buyers will disregard content not relevant to their needs, industry, or role, according to a new study released by Forrester and commissioned by Uberflip. That’s why “exceptional content experiences deliver a competitive advantage,” according to the report’s authors.

Yet consistently scaling content for account-based marketing programs remains the top content marketing challenge, the study found.

Among the study’s other results: 74% of marketers say they can identify the right accounts, and 63% say they can attract them. But only 11% are confident they can engage the buyer. To move forward, marketers must deliver more personalized experiences and engage buyers through every stage in the journey, according to the report.

“This is why curating relevant, valuable content, and offering it in a self-navigated initiative and appealing content destination is so critical to reaching today’s buyers,” says Randy Frisch, co-founder of Uberflip.

74% of marketers say they can identify the right accounts. But only 11% feel confident they can engage them per @Forrester and @Uberflip research via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

WHY IT’S HOT: That only 63% say they disregard irrelevant content seems low. But the fact that only 11% of marketers are confident they can engage buyers is troubling.

It should be standard practice for content marketing teams to create relevant content. Sounds simple, right? It’s not. The key is to understand what “relevant” means. It depends not only on the buyer’s role but where they are in the journey and when they need (or want) that information.

To increase confidence that you can engage buyers, start by taking off the blinders. Track metrics that indicate whether you’re achieving the connection you want (even if that means recognizing your content isn’t connecting.)

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Lowe’s adds media to its wares for sale

The home improvement retailer is getting into the retail media business with the launch of Lowe’s One Roof Media Network.

Peter Christofferson of Chicago Faucet shared this news with us after learning about it from an agency partner making media placement recommendations. As Peter explains: “The old spray-and-pray strategy of dropping ads in as many trade publications as possible and hoping for a response has all but collapsed, especially now that trade magazines just don’t provide a useful lead-generation mechanism.”

“Are there better ways to use our advertising dollars to directly reach the audiences who are interested in our products? Has this retail media phenomenon, as represented by Lowe’s and others, reached into the B2B realm? We know some of our distributor partners are undertaking such efforts; are there others? These are the questions we need answered in order to plan intelligently for the coming years.”

Media networks like @Lowes got @CF_Peter to wonder: Are there better ways to use our advertising dollars to directly reach the audiences who are interested in our products? Via @CMIContent Click To Tweet

Among the services Lowe’s One Roof Media Network will offer by 2022:

  • Sponsored home editorial content on Lowe’s social channels and website
  • Customer research and thought leadership on future shopping behaviors, trends, etc.
  • Ad placement on high-traffic Lowe’s pages and the app
  • Digital and social media extensions to help brands better reach target buyers

WHY IT’S HOT: Lowe’s isn’t the first to do this (Walmart, Petco, Target, and others already have), but the company’s new content venture serves as a reminder that these major retail brands have an underappreciated asset – their customers. Partnering with brands that have established audiences gives you access to those eyeballs – but also credibility with those who trust that brand but may not be familiar with yours.

What companies have an audience that would be beneficial to your business? How can you come up with a mutually beneficial partnership with them and access their built-in audience?

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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