Taking a long-term view on content promotion

There’s something about the concept of the overnight sensation that really captures our imagination. Maybe it’s because we all want to believe that cream always rises to the top, and the really good stuff gets there without having to pay the same dues. Or it might be because we want to believe there’s a shortcut that might allow us to skip the drudgery and enjoy the rewards for our ideas and talents.

When developing and distributing content, there’s a tendency—you could chalk it up to misplaced optimism—to want to make a big, onetime impact with content and then focus on capitalizing on the benefits: more leads, more clients, and more revenues. In the vast majority of cases, content promotion is more of a marathon than a sprint. That reality isn’t a comment on the quality of your content as much as a reflection on the quantity of content currently available.

Successful businesses aren’t built overnight. Experienced executives don’t implement a strategy and expect instantaneous results. So why should disseminating your ideas be any different? After all, the buying funnel for most businesses—particularly B2B companies—isn’t short. Therefore, a content strategy must take a long-term perspective and build a solid foundation to support other initiatives.

A couple of my clients exemplify different approaches, with vastly different results.

The first company was intent on making a splash and wanted to pursue a traditional-media strategy: pitch stories about the company to major industry publications and hope to get an in-depth feature that lent credibility to its business strategy. The major challenge with this approach was that the company’s recent developments simply weren’t newsworthy. It was highly unlikely that an industry publication would devote any resources to developing a feature about the company.

However, what the company lacked in bombshell announcements it more than compensated for with industry knowledge accumulated over a decade of firsthand work with national clients. This insight set the company apart from its competition and could have been the basis for an effective campaign—if executives had committed to a sustained effort.

Another client took a different approach by focusing on developing content to highlight the common challenges that prospective customers face as well as how the company’s products and experience could address those challenges. Every white paper and case study became source material for blogs, external publications, demand-generation campaigns, and webinars. Through a sustained commitment to content, the company has significantly increased its SEO traffic to its blogs as well as referrals from social media sites.

For B2B companies, the overarching goal of a content development and distribution strategy should be to have more—and higher-quality—conversations with promising prospects. Companies that make a sustained commitment to content development are far more likely to see real results.

Scott Leff

Scott is the founder of LEFF. He’s spent his career helping executives and subject matter experts tell their story in a compelling way. In the process, he’s had the opportunity to work with C-suite executives, politicians, academics, and Olympians, not to mention dozens of talented writers, editors, and designers in the business world. Scott developed the concept of “lean content creation” as a cost-effective way to support comprehensive, integrated communication strategies.

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