Your customers ain’t dumb.

Online, they’ve been bombarded with 11,150 ads per month, and so 22% of them have downloaded software to block them.

This is part of the reason brands turned to content marketing to build relationships and drive sales. Corporate blogs sprung up left, right and centre, branded emails became popular, the business that supplied your widgets was now on Twitter, LOLing at cats pics and firing gifs into your face.

The messaging was not ‘buy our thing’, it was ‘hey, let us help’ and, also, ‘let’s be friends.’

In 2018, that means:

In terms of blogging, WordPress (which has 60% of the CMS market covered worldwide) is used to publish about 87.2 million new posts every month. You can see what this looks like live here.

Your client was once swamped with advertising; now they’re swamped with content.

With exposure comes experience and with experience comes knowledge. The business leaders, marketing managers, operations directors, COOs, whatever, that you’re targeting know what content looks like now. Not only that: in B2B, they understand the mechanics of a content campaign.

Email nurture campaigns aren’t a mystery. Clients know your newsletter (and this one, soz!) is not just for them, despite the personalised hi at the top. They can see through a thinly disguised sales message dressed in a blog’s clothing. In short, they understand marketing better than ever.

This means a well defined inbound strategy is more important than ever. One that’s built on a sturdy foundation of customer research and personas, and one that takes in every step of the customer journey – from start to finish.

And at each of those stages needs to be content that delights and engages. These could be big things or little touches. It doesn’t matter.

Our client Calvium recently published a comprehensive, 8,000-word deep-dive into the practice of Digital Placemaking. Look at the care and attention that’s gone into creating that huge and valuable resource. Which other app developers are going that extra mile?

Another of our clients, event agency Rapiergroup, sent LEGO kits to a select number of potential clients. This isn’t inbound in and of itself, but they also created a landing page with more info, a nurture email series after it and social campaign for recipients.

I received a pair of socks in the post last week from a copywriter with a card saying ‘Here’s an extra pair for when I knock your socks off.’

The prospective client may well see it as a content/inbound marketing campaign, but if they can say ‘damn, that’s a fucking brilliant campaign’ or ‘I love their marketing’, then it’s still a win.

These are just a few examples of touchpoints, but remember, content works as a whole, not in parts. That LEGO campaign won’t win business alone. The ‘pillar page’ for Calvium will have a positive impact on SEO and website conversions, but what is the next step for the customer and is that a delight too?

One more thing

One quick note to finish on: results. Yes, content works as a whole, but you still need to make sure each element is doing its job, too. Test and measure are always true. But you have to make sure you set realistic goals for each element.

Are you going to close a load more business because you have a weekly blog? Probably not. But the job of the blog is to drive more traffic to your site. Is it doing that? Then it’s working. Would it work better if we spoke about this rather than that? Yes? Do more of that then.

If there were two messages I’d want you to take away from this it’s this:

1) Think creatively about your whole inbound infrastructure. Highlight touchpoints and think of creative ways to delight your audience.

2) Define your goals and establish what success looks like before you do anything.

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I’m the Head of Content for Future Content and the man in charge of words. As a former journalist for a number of publications, from Chat to MailOnline to that’s Shanghai, I have a wealth of editorial experience and a way of making words do good.

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