By Jason Ball, founder of B2B marketing agency Considered Content
If your inbox is anything like mine, it’s full to bursting with emails and newsletters that are promptly dumped because I lack the time to digest them.
The few that grab and hold my attention do so for one simple reason: they add value. I can relate what I’m reading to a situation or circumstance that’s taking up headspace, often an enduring problem that I haven’t yet found an answer to. Sound familiar?
That’s why a blog about that 10K charity fun run your team did, or an award you won for being Northumberland’s SME of the year, is not worth writing. More than that, it suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of what content is actually for.
Done well, content plays a leading role in a bigger marketing strategy, one that ought to be squarely focused on your customer: their needs, wants and pain points. It serves a very important purpose: to help move prospects along the buyer journey, from the earliest stage, where they don’t think they have a problem, to later stages where they’ve recognised their problems, shortlisted possible solutions, and (preferably) signed up for your service or product.
But that charity event or award has nothing to do with your customer and everything to do with you. It’s a common mistake for businesses to think their customers care about them and what they’re up to. And, for sure, there will be a handful of highly engaged people who’ve worked with you for years, and know your kids’ names, who do care. But the other 99.5% don’t. Sorry. Best to save this sort of content for personal social media posts, and keep your business content laser-focused on your customers.
Now, you might argue its relevance if your marketing strategy is primarily designed to attract new talent. But consider the notion of underwhelm once more. Is that time you all took part in a Zoom call in fancy dress really going to convince top people to come and work for you? Of course not. While a promising candidate might enjoy an hour or two in a scratchy wig, it’s the opportunity for professional development; an inclusive, vibrant culture; flexibility; benefits and much more that will get their attention.
For employer branding, you’ll need content that helps you build a brand that clearly gets across your company’s DNA to potential recruits. It will need to be relevant to a suitable candidate’s skills and aspirations, believable in the market, offer proof you can deliver, and be different from other companies you compete with for talent.
Underwhelming content you can cut:
● Anything that’s all about you, and not what you do for customers
● Content that doesn’t either grow the brand, build demand or proactively move the customer along the buyer journey
● Thought leadership pieces that say the same as everyone else in your industry (because this isn't leadership)
● Content that pushes values like openness, honesty, integrity and service. These are simply the price of doing business today. As a gauge, if you can’t imagine someone saying the opposite, there’s no need to say it