Smart businesses use the word “content” in every phase of the buyer's cycle – in marketing, sales, loyalty programs, and more. They get that useful information and relatable stories move a prospect from “Who are you”' to “I want to do business with you,” and finally to, “Let's do more business.”But not just any piece of content will accomplish that.

Here are a few stats about the volume of content produced globally in 2016:

  • More than 350,000 tweets were sent per minute
  • 400 hours worth of new video were uploaded to YouTube each minute
  • Since 2013, Facebook posts shared per minute increased 22% to 3 million from 2.5 million

Bottom line: content shock, as Mark Schaefer called it back in 2014, has only become worse. There is just too much average-quality content on virtually every topic.

So here’s what you do

Your potential buyers are spoiled when it comes to content. They've probably seen tons of videos and read hundreds of articles on your topic or industry. So how will you differentiate your content from all the rest?

Make it authentic.  

Authentic marketing content is an extension of your company. It must be 100% in line with what your business stands for. It’s something that couldn’t have been created by a competitor, because it wouldn't be in line with their brand values.

Remember Stratos by Red Bull? The World Record Jump from the edge of the atmosphere by Felix Baumgartner? That would not have made sense for any other beverage brand. It is genuinely Red Bull, it fits seamlessly in their buyers’ experience and perception of the brand. It is authentic.

Authentic content can only come from within, which means:

Authentic content is best produced in-house

Here is an example. Jerry, a trusted colleague of mine and the Account Director at an IT services and staffing company, decided to engage in content marketing. They have two goals:

  • Sell digital projects
  • Hire the best IT graduates

One of the things he knew he had to do to succeed was produce content in-house. When asked why, he told me:

"To make our content marketing successful, authenticity is essential for both our target groups. There is enough content being published about digital and technology – it's one of the most crowded topics, probably. So as a specialised company and potential employer, it is critical that our content lives and breathes who we are. Our content must be authentic to be of added value in the buyer’s experience."  

Jerry hired his own content marketer, Valérie, who works among people in Jerry’s company everyday.

“When our content marketer writes, say, a blog post, you can feel that it comes straight from the company. That is almost impossible to achieve if you outsource your content."

And that leads me to the next point:

Creating content with character is the only way to stand out

Authenticity in content marketing is content with character – well, with your business’ character. It's got your personality, and that's why it stands out.

So if you're thinking about outsourcing your content marketing, or already doing it, think twice. We all know that impersonating a character never works. We can all tell the difference between Elvis and an Elvis impersonator. No matter how hard the impersonator tries, he will never be the real thing. The same is true for content.

Authenticity is one of five arguments to Own Your Content Marketing for maximum effectiveness. Discover the other four by requesting Jelle's E-Manifesto on his website.

As a Content Marketing Coach, Jelle Annaars works with content marketers inside businesses to improve their effectiveness. He carries certifications from Content Marketing Institute and Copyblogger, and works from Belgium.

To learn more about why mapping your content to the buyer journey is the core business of your marketing team, watch this on demand webinar.

Last update: May 10, 2017
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