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Are you sending the right signals?

Social media and self-publishing have opened up many opportunities for marketers, to get heard and build profile without going through an editorial quality filter.

Context or Content?

That’s the headline of a great article in Linkedin’s recent The Sophisticated Marketer Quarterly magazine. It talks about the importance of context in sending signals to buyers, discussing advertising (the medium versus the message) and in particular the pitfalls of programmatic buying. But it strikes me that context is also important when we look at organic content and thought leadership in the B2B space.

Social media and self-publishing have opened up many opportunities for marketers, to get heard and build profile without going through an editorial quality filter (those pesky journalists and editors, for example).

However, just because you can instantly publish anything, it doesn’t mean that you should. Why? Because when you self-publish, you are creating your own context; publish poor or mediocre content, and you are sending a signal to your audience. A message that it’s not worth opening the next email or post you manage to get in front of them.

Consistently publish good quality, well thought out, relevant and timely content, and you are sending positive signals to your audience, setting the best possible context for you to build a positive, trusted relationship in the future. Let’s take, for example, Linkedin. They consistently publish relevant, helpful and high-quality top, middle and bottom of funnel content. So when Linkedin’s magazine lands on my doormat, I get genuinely excited, in fact, one Friday night I settled down for a good read and a nice gin and tonic! (so saaaddddd!)

Creating good content is not as easy as it sounds – in Edelman and Linkedin’s latest B2B Demand Generation survey, 73% of decision-makers said that half or more of the thought leadership they encounter does not provide valuable insights.

But, get it right, and the rewards are immense. In the same Edelman/LinkedIn study, 50% of decision-makers said they were willing to pay a premium to work with an organisation that has articulated a clear vision, versus one that does not publish thought leadership.

The ‘Context or Content’ article cites research from the INSEAD Business School and the University of Bonn, who discovered that a high price for a bottle of wine changes how drinkers experience the taste of that wine. They say of drinkers, ‘once they are primed to expect to drink something of superior quality, the regions of their brain associated with pleasure and enjoyment spark up in advance, predisposing them to enjoy and appreciate it more.’ So, if we go back to the context of your content, if you are consistently creating good quality, relevant content for your audience, you’re sending the right signals and priming your audience to engage, appreciate and the enjoy your content all the more.

So, what should you be doing to create the right context, and send the right signals? Firstly, stop letting poor quality content out of the door – editorial quality control might sound boring and challenging, but it’s essential. Secondly, just because you can just hit the button and publish, it doesn’t mean you should.

Angela Brown, Regional Director, PM Forum North West

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