Too Much Content Too Much Waste
Oct 19, 2016
A while back, I was having coffee with the CMO of a mid-size professional services firm on the East Coast. We were talking about how marketing has changed...and remained the same...until they mentioned that their team was creating:
- 5 emails per week for 5 different audience segments;
- 5 white papers per month for the same segments
- Daily blog posts, as well as posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram
- Monthly video content for YouTube
- Monthly Podcast
- 1 monthly direct mail campaign aimed at a general audience
- 1 webinar per month which required 1 invitation and 2 reminder emails
And this was on top of new business development and retention activities....
So I asked...how big is your team and when he told me "4, if you count me", I about fell out of my chair.
That's too much content.
What's the Right Amount of Content?
Okay, this will vary based on the organization, the people within the organization, the audience, the competition, the market.....
But the key is leveraging what you have.
For example, with a recent client, we had a monthly webinar that featured an industry expert talking about current events, trends, and future opportunities and threats in the market. (This was for an ed tech firm and the audience was CIO for school districts, colleges, etc. so they wanted to know what was going on in the ed tech world today and what they needed to be prepared for in the near and longer term.)
As preparation for the webinar, we would interview the guest(s). This would be [ex] 5 to 10 questions our team asked and they were different from what would be asked by the webinar audience. That would be turned into a white paper and several blog posts. Because we recorded the audio, we had audio content. And because we filmed the interview (sometimes on site in our video production area and sometimes using their webcam), we had video content.
We turned the webinar into an archived asset - and the actual webinar would address issues not addressed in the staff interview. From this we had audio, video content. We had PowerPoint. And we turned the transcripts into a white paper, using the guest(s) comments to drive other blog posts.
Now that's a lot of content but it's leveraging one event, one source to create many different pieces of content addressing one key topic for our audience.
So, what is the right amount of content?
The right amount of content is what your audience needs to make an informed decision with confidence. Nothing more. Nothing less.
“I don’t think how much is the right question,” Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, challenged. “It’s more about how effective your content is. Focus on whether it’s meeting your objectives: Is it igniting conversations? Is it enabling relationships? Is it sparking business?” Source: Creating Content: How Much is Too Much?
And that requires testing, measuring, analyzing. Unfortunately, not many are testing or measuring or analyzing for a variety of reasons.
According to the 2016 Content Marketing Institute report, marketers spend 28% of their budget on content marketing and 51% say they will increase their spending. Source: Are We Creating Too Much Content?
There is definitely more money and time being put into content marketing but, unlike the author in the above article, I'm not hearing that content marketing works with anything more than conjecture mixed with two shots of "God I hope so!" No metrics beyond downloads, shares, likes...not many tying the content to sales.
How Can We Track and Measure the Impact of Content Marketing More Effectively?
Effectively tracking and measuring the impact of your content marketing requires an effective process for collecting and storing data.
And it also helps to realize that nothing is perfect so there will be times when [ex] someone comes across a piece of your content and then makes themselves known to you without you ever uncovering the fact that that one piece of content is responsible for the relationship...and the sales.
The marketer’s job isn’t only to produce content, but also to use analytics to identify the ideal volume and frequency. Source: Creating Content: How Much is Too Much?
Too many marketers have their heads down writing, designing, generating, distributing content...but they stay away from the collecting and analyzing the data necessary to answer "Was all that work worth the results?"
For example, I do a lot of work with colleges and some love to mail out these crazy expensive direct mail packages to anyone and everyone that inquires about a program. Some of these packages, including postage and handling, cost as much as $15 to $20. And if there is an offer in that package that is more than "Call me if you have a question", it's an offer that directs them to a web page and a form that doesn't capture "This person came from that $20 direct mail package".
That, boys and girls, is career suicide.
What's the answer? Have a strong call to action in the piece and make it explicitly clear to the recipient that this is what they need to do in order to move forward with your organization/school. Call a unique toll free number. Go to a unique URL. Email a unique account.
Then have a way to capture that action so you can evaluate performance.
Yes, I think many organizations are creating way too much content. All you have to do is look at your Inbox and do the occasional Google Search to see how much. Some of it's great. Most is alright. Too much is repetitive crap that never should have been allowed out of the building.
Talk with your audience. Find out what they need to know and when they need to know it during their buying process.
Use that insight to develop a messaging, offer, media and contact strategy...also known as a marketing communication plan. You need to do this for each segment/persona you are targeting.
Create a process for capturing key data so you can analyze it and determine if the content is seen as valuable, useful. Include some survey work here as well because downloads, shares, inquiries are nice to measure but hearing from your audience that [ex] the piece addressed everything I needed or the piece addressed most of what I needed or I wish the piece had addressed this information I needed, is key.
Don't look to add more...look to improve what you have. Then identify gaps in what you have versus what they tell you they want/need. Create to fill in the gaps...and test to make sure your proposed solution is accepted by your audience as valuable.
What are your thoughts? Was this helpful? Please share your comments here or contact us if you have questions.
Patrick McGraw is VP of Higher Educaton Marketing Services and has more than 25 years experience in market research, competitive intelligence, business intelligence including database marketing and CRM, strategic planning, brand development and management as well as operations/campaign management. His work has consistently helped his clients and employers develop and implement more efficient ways to attract and retain profitable customers, enter new markets and launch new products. His areas of focus include the education, hospitality, travel and tourism, hi-tech, telecommunications, financial services, and retail industries on both the agency and customer sides.