Marketing is competitive and causes many businesses to lose sight of what’s important.
A common term bandied about in the inbound marketing world is thought-leadership: Visionaries who develop forward-thinking ideas and innovate with their strategies.
It’s an attractive idea in the marketing world. Unlike outbound marketing that relies on spreading your message as far as possible, inbound marketing uses a different strategy:
- Create helpful resources relevant to your market.
- Engage them with your well-crafted content and provide value.
- Keep them coming back for more until they’re ready to enter the buying cycle.
Research indicates that inbound marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing, but it can generate over three times as many leads per dollar spent.
Naturally, the brands that have something new to say will do the best job at engaging potential customers. When it comes to spending money, particularly in business-to-business marketing, people generally favour innovation: People are competitive and want to get an edge on the competition.
The rush to provide that “X factor” to potential customers has given rise to an unfortunate trend in the content marketing world. This brings us back to thought-leadership, or rather, thought-leadership done poorly.
Innovation is great, in theory. In practice, the process isn’t so simple. If innovation were easy, everyone would be doing it!
The push to become thought-leaders in a field has started an influx of marketing content that isn’t designed to sell, but instead, is designed to show off.
This is known as content myopia: A nearsighted approach to content marketing. Content myopia involves trying to posture yourself as an industry leader, so much so that your content suffers in the process. Rather than looking long-term at the big picture (i.e. what your customers need from your content), you focus only on what’s right in front of you.
Typically, “myopic” content features several noticeable trends that give away its intention to show off:
- Jargon, technical language, and industry terminology that sounds fancy, but prospects won’t likely understand them
- Abstract ideas and confusing concepts that make sense to those in the industry but are gibberish to those outside the industry
- Complex reasoning and leaps in logic that the average consumer may get confused by
The mistakes are understandable. Forty-one percent of large organizations have a documented content strategy, meaning that there’s plenty of competition out there. It’s tempting to craft content that makes your business sound like an industry expert, even if you’re still getting on your feet.
Marketers want to push the envelope and come up with something new; after all, you can’t change the game by following the rules. But with that in mind, it’s important to not let rampant creativity nullify the basic purpose of your content marketing: Serving your audience.
Write For Them, Not For You
There’s a fine line between creating industry content that’s helpful for your audience and creating industry content that confuses the heck out of them.
The answer, as we’ve discussed before, is coming up with a web content strategy that is clearly defined, structured, and tailored to your audience’s needs.
Learn about their needs and build your content strategy accordingly. Don’t be afraid to mix it up, either. Use a combination of video, images, content writing services, infographics, and social media outreach to reach as many eyes as possible. The average B2B marketer uses over 13 marketing tactics in his/her strategy. The more you can diversify your message, the less likely it is that you’ll fall into the content myopia trap.
While creativity is essential in the marketing world, we must remember that our prospects don’t live in the same marketing bubble that we do. Their knowledge of the subjects is limited.
To effectively reach them, we need to write with them in mind, rather than trying to use our authority to one up the competition.