October 20, 2015

Content Marketing: Is yours usable?

Your sales teams say they need more case studies and buyer-specific content. Your customers and employees tell you they need more research and thought leadership. SEO demands content too. It seems the more we produce, the more they want.  And yet!

About 70% of the content we produce goes unused. Marketing departments report ‘content non-usage rates’ as even higher.

CONTENT MARKETING: Why isn’t your content getting used?

1. You just don’t get it.

Ultimately, it’s not that you don’t understand audience needs. It’s that most content marketers don’t involve their audience in the content prioritization process.

2. Your audience can’t find what they need, when they need it.

And to that, our impulse is to desperately remind everyone that the content DOES, in fact, exist! It’s hidden somewhere in SalesForce, SharePoint — and then we give instructions (again) on how to find it. This doesn’t solve the problem.

IDC Canada reports that sales teams spend an average of 7 hours/week searching for reference material.

3. Your audience doesn’t see value in the content.

I think lack of value is the hurdle with the biggest impact. If a system, process, tool or message seems like too much work — why would anyone take the time?


1. Engage your audience.

Consistently schedule conversations with your audience. Grab a Starbucks and get their balanced insights on the content they value.

2. Tap into data collected.

I recently co-wrote an article in Direct Marketing News explaining the importance technology plays in enabling sales/marketing teams to track marketing materials AFTER being delivered to audiences. This technology produces a goldmine of audience engagement data for content marketers like us—

Marketing insights are game changers when it comes to ensuring your readers get the content they need, when they need it, in the format they prefer.

3. Market your message.

Don’t rely on email to get critical content noticed by employees. Many of my clients are taking advantage of SnapComms—a cloud-based software that gets critical content noticed in a visual, targeted and measured way.

4. Make the complex simple.

This is an art in itself—and a very important takeaway. Is the content you’re producing providing new insights? Is it engaging? Does it inspire action? Is it providing value? Will it get shared?


Streamlining communication, collaboration, measuring audience engagement, leveraging data and technology to refine content—these are just a few practices we content marketers must embrace to get off the content marketing treadmill.

How are you mastering the art of producing content, smarter?