Content Marketing

No One is Reading Your Stuff: The Content Marketer’s Worst Fear

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to take a look at what terrifies content marketers most and what you can do to dispel your worst fears. First, you might want to take a deep breath and brace yourself because it’s pretty scary: No one is reading your stuff. Or are they? Let’s grab our ghost-busting gear and investigate.

Your eBook is Done!
So you’ve shed buckets of blood, sweat and tears to create the definitive eBook. You’ve strained your eyes, neck and fingers through 4 weeks and 10 revs, with countless edits from too many stakeholders to count. You’ve finally wrangled everyone and gotten sign off on something that’s not only genuinely useful, but has a clear point of view, personality and real writing panache.

And now that it’s out in the world, your latest eBook is a resounding success and the leads are rolling in. You should sleep easy, right? Well done, bravo. But guess what? You don’t know if anyone’s actually reading your latest B2B opus or if it’s just sitting in a download folder waiting for a sad express ride to the junk bin. For a content marketer, not knowing if anyone is really reading your content is the stuff of nightmares.

Facing the Fear Head-on
You go to great effort to create this amazing stuff to win hearts and minds, to educate, influence and, yes, delight your buyers. But without any insight into what happens after the click, you can’t really gauge whether your efforts are effective, what works and what doesn’t, and how you can iterate and improve next time (because you’re only as good as your next piece of content). Without real content engagement metrics that show you who read what and for how long, let’s face it, you’re flying blind and there isn’t much more terrifying than that.

At this point, if you’re looking to put your mind at ease, do not take a peek at the stats – not if you ever want to sleep well again! According to The Economist Group*:

“Although 93% of marketers plan to maintain or increase their investment in content creation…. 40% feel they aren’t getting sufficient ROI for their content and 33% don’t feel they even have sufficient metrics to measure content ROI.”

Belief in the Power of Words Won’t Save You
In modern marketing, the “build it and they will come” approach to producing content doesn’t cut it, and form fills alone won’t tell you if your content is actually engaging buyers, influencing their purchase decisions or moving them one inch closer to being sales-ready.

In B2B content marketing, as in life, what you can’t see can hurt you. It’s time for content marketers to shine a light into those dark corners and start looking at what happens after the click, conversion and download. To avoid nasty surprises, you need to find better ways to track content engagement and measure content ROI; otherwise the next thing that goes bump in the night just might be your awesome new eBook thudding into the junk bin.

Speaking of eBooks….
Lucky for you, there is new research out there about how busy and distracted buyers consume content today and new metrics to track how much time they’re spending with yours. Turns out engaged buyers, busy as they are, have a Netflix-sized appetite for consuming a lot of content in a short period of time. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Always-on Nurturing for tips from the pros on how to banish the ghosts of nurturing past (slow, time-bound and underperforming) and satisfy your buyer’s craving for more right now.

Source: “Missing the Mark: Global Content Survey of Brand Marketers and their B2B Audiences,” The Economist Group, October 2014.