Google “chicken cacciatore recipe” and you will get over 350,000 hits. Which raises the question: When does one more recipe for chicken cacciatore constitute one too many?
It is 2013, and content marketing is a bandwagon. For proof, turn to this recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute and others:
- 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing
- 30% of their budgets are devoted to it
- 58% plan to increase their content marketing budgets over the next year
- Each uses 13 content marketing tactics on average
The picture for B2C is only slightly less spectacular. Another recent study found that:
- 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing
- 28% of their budgets are devoted to it
- 55% plan to increase their budgets over the next year
- Each uses 12 tactics on average
Great news, right? Not necessarily. Like any burgeoning trend, content marketing could easily fall victim to success. One problem: As the vast majority of companies embrace content marketing, many of them are cranking out content that is remarkably similar.
To some extent, this is unavoidable and inevitable. Food manufacturers – especially those in the chicken business – will post recipes for chicken cacciatore. In B2B, cloud service providers will post articles hailing the wonders of automatic online backup. And so on. But as duplication of this sort occurs, the Web is growing cluttered with “me too” content that adds little value, blurs the distinctions between companies and threatens to dull the interest of customers and prospects.
Conclusion? As content marketing goes mainstream, it must place a premium on innovation. Here are four ways to go about it:
1. Make it special.
Look past the products/services you share with competitors and focus on what makes your business truly unique. Not all chicken companies are alike. Some, for example, produce low-fat chicken or free-range chicken or really plump chicken. Cacciatore recipes won’t necessarily highlight distinctions of this sort. What kind of content can you produce that highlights your unique value proposition?
2. Try new content formats.
The Internet is filling up with advice articles. Does the Internet really need another wall of text on planning for a natural disaster or buying a used car? Get more adventurous with how you present information. Anything with graphics is a good idea: animations, infographics, short-form videos, multimedia presentations.
Don’t think of content as a consumable. Instead of hoping people will come to you, push your content to them and then do everything you can to get a conversation going. The goal is to create engaging interactive experiences that make the reader or user part of the process of content creation. People always listen to themselves much more than they do to others.
Think of content as an experience that gives people exactly what they want, exactly when they want it. Take advantage of marketing personalization and automation tools that help you deliver content to targets based on their profiles, behavior or position in the sales funnel. Yes, you will have to invest more in the creation of different varieties of content. But the payback from well-done personalization can far exceed a mass marketing approach.
Content marketing agencies also have an obligation to help their clients innovate. They should resist the temptation to recycle the same proposals for companies in the same industries. Instead, they should see it as their duty to educate clients about possibilities for innovation that they may not know exist.
What are you doing to innovate in content marketing? Let us know in the comments below.