'Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.' – Mike Tyson
When the rubber hits the road, how much of your B2B marketing programme goes to plan? All those assumptions and pre-conceptions meet the real test of the market.
You launch your 'sure-fire winner' of a well-researched white paper, only to see it scrape just a handful of likes.
Meanwhile, your blog hashed together from curated stats is somehow gaining exponential reach across the Twittersphere, while your afterthought experiment with Facebook advertising is going viral.
If one thing's certain in content marketing – it's that nothing's certain in content marketing.
Success lies in conducting many small experiments. Challenging your assumptions and pivoting as required.
It requires an open mind and a new level of granularity in your analytics to understand what's working.
In other words, you need to get ready, fire – then aim.
This is often the biggest eye-opener for B2B brands that cling to the fallacies around thought leadership – 'We should only talk about the bigger picture. It will make us look clever'.
Try testing two content narratives:
The hypothesis on test: audiences don't really care what you think - only how you can help them.
Look at the data and adjust your editorial calendar accordingly.
Think your audiences only read your content during the working day?
A Contentology study across a variety of content marketing programmes in different sectors identified a consistent download pattern: 8-10pm on an iPad.
It makes sense. Who actually has time to read and think during the working day?
Some other assumptions we've challenged: Which day in December saw the highest number of content downloads for an industrial manufacturer?
Looking to reach marketing decision makers in retail?
Try Facebook on a Sunday night.
This is about your practice. Continue to apply intelligence-led experiments to see significant improvements in your content marketing results.
It takes pragmatism. The pragmatism to accept that under Pareto Law, 80% of your hard work could be a non-starter.
But by focusing on the winning 20% you can quickly shift from 'active' content marketer to 'productive'.