The great con of content generation

 You know all those B2B marketing whitepapers, articles and blogs heralding the benefits of content generation? They forgot to tell you something.

steve ballantyne content marketing tipsDespite the fact business buyers genuinely want and need relevant information, we’re in danger of drowning them. Content has reached a tsunami-like state.

 Articles are more likely to be shared when the share buttons are at the top, because people are just reading the headlines. An article like this one with a lot of text and no pictures requires an intrepid soul with an unusually durable attention span to reach the final full stop. (That’s a polite way of saying if you finish this you’re mad, get help.)

 We humans now produce the same amount of information in 48 hours as we did from the dawn of civilisation up until 2003. And very little of it is original.

 Just to power the digital warehouses that house all this new data takes roughly the equivalent of the output of 30 nuclear power plants.

 It’s now quite normal for a business to produce regular e-newsletters, e-books, whitepapers, blogs, webinars, podcasts, Facebook updates, Tweets and LinkedIn feeds. Mostly it’s the same tired crap that’s already been said a million times, a thousand more interesting ways.

Yet with stats saying 93 percent of business buyers begin the buying process with an online search, and 64 percent of senior execs search online for business information more than six times a day, it’s unlikely the flow of B2B marketing content will slow.

Instead, imagination will hold more power. With so much content out there, and more being produced all the time, you need to either be strategic or very lucky to make any kind of ripple. I recommend strategic.

 Here are some tips, but ultimately, it’s what you do differently that will make your content stand out.

Attractive content attracts

Use nice design, compelling headlines, fewer words and more pictures, infographics and videos.

Be different

If it’s already been said, shared, and is freely available, you’re wasting your time. Take a unique angle or use an unexpected medium.


Find out what’s important to them and what they find interesting, then craft your content with that in mind.

Buyers are humans too

Give B2B content a unique twist by tapping into topical events, human interest stories, internet memes etc.

Embrace dissent

Think of content like conversation, respond to feedback and encourage other opinions. Multiple viewpoints make a discussion interesting.

Prove it

Generate relevant powerful statistics and create content around them for a fresh vantage point that’s more likely to be shared.

Pay attention

Track click-throughs and time spent, split test subject lines and refine your messaging in response. Keep testing and evolving as your audience does.

Mind your language

Make sure your content is written in the same language your target audience uses. Humour’s good. Unnecessarily long words, not good.

Steve Ballantyne is a brand strategist, B2B marketing specialist and managing director of BallantyneTaylor. Email him at

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