Today, someone trumped your content. Just now, they become a more useful source of information to your audience.
How Your Content was Trumped
Content quality is relative. As more companies focus on developing and producing quality content, the overall quality of content will improve and the expectations of content will increase. Your content may have been good when it was created, but now it’s merely average.
In content marketing, your competitors are not just product competitors. Analyst firms (irony: whose papers you may license and distribute), media companies (who you purchase advertising from) and individual influencers are all competing to be your audience’s primary information source.
Publishing companies are experts at building and serving an audience by meeting their needs. Increasingly, content marketers are vying for this position.
Breaking Your Internal Mindset
As content standards increase, focusing content on your internal needs while meeting the audience’s needs is increasingly difficult.
Despite the proliferation of persona development and buyer-centric marketing, a true external mindset continues to be a challenge for most corporate marketers. Consider how you handle situations like the following:
- Your audience’s priorities are mobile, cloud and security. Your solution doesn’t work on mobile devices or manage cloud-based applications.
- A key competitor released a major upgrade that includes a number of firsts in the category. These features have been well received in the market.
- You are sunsetting a product and dictating to your clients that they need to upgrade. The market sees it as a bad move and an opportunity for your competitors.
As a modern content marketer, how do you respond to these situations? If you publish research and best practices, but ignore mobile and cloud (first bullet), you are not serving your audience’s needs. Someone else will.
If you provide perspectives on the industry, but are not willing to cover the industry advances your competitors are making, someone else will. When they do, they will become the information source that is meeting your audience’s needs.
When you sunset a product, do you focus on the positives while sweeping the negative implications of resources or costs under the rug. When you minimize the negative implications your customers see, you send the message you are not listening to them. If you are not listening, you certainly cannot meet their needs.
Your audience is gold. Maintaining your audience requires putting them first. You cannot be a news source for only the favorable news, or the source of analysis that only shares analysis that fits your products perfectly.
Content marketing is a never ending journey of continuing to refine your focus on meeting the needs of your audience better than anyone else. Last quarter’s content won’t be good enough this quarter.
How do you plan to meet the challenge of an increasingly competitive content marketing environment? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).