In this video, I talk about content analysis and why it’s important to uncover the topics and themes that can inform audience relevance and engagement. According to the 2021 report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 42% of marketers have content marketing strategy, which is up from 33% the previous year. On the flip side, 58% of marketers do not have a strategy and that scares me.
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There are two types of content that B2B brands publish on social media. Lead generation and everything else. Consumer brands are similar. For them they are trying to entertain and create relevancy with new audiences or sell products
I won’t spend a lot of time talking lead generation because most of you watching already know that type of content is and its purpose.
So the question remains, “what is everything else?”
Well I like to refer to it as lazy content or content that’s 100% self-serving. It’s the press releases, product launches, links to product pages, awards, industry recognition And all of the other content that no one in the world cares about.
I have a hard time even saying it because it’s 2020 and still today, I see companies doing this on social media.
They think they are making an impact but they aren’t.
Of course, if you are using LinkedIn to attract talent and share the cultural significance of your brand, well then your content will absolutely be all about you.
But outside of that and generating leads, people don’t care about content that’s all about you.
I’d like to suggest a new way of creating branded content on social media and it’s not branded at all. It starts with a content gap analysis. But first let me define content analysis in research.
Content analysis is the practice of analyzing words and language in order to uncover patterns and eventually white space. A content gap analysis is similar but there is more than one data source–audience content and brand content. When compared, it will show the content gaps that exist which then become an opportunity for brands to change and align their messaging accordingly.
It’s often referred to as data-driven storytelling; and it’s content that is informed based on what’s top of mind and relevant for a specific audience.
Now there are three different ways I like to categorize the data for an audience analytics project.
- Specialized audiences
- Affinity-based audiences
Specialized audiences are built using a combination of bio and content search. This approach is great for finding very specific audiences like the C-Suite, millennials in Oregon, or physicians.
Affinity-based audiences are built based on finding individuals that have similar affinities. This could be as simple as your brands followers on social media, wine lovers or travel enthusiasts.
Micro-audiences are smaller and more influential audiences. A few examples could be the top 100 technology journalists or the top 500 AI influencers.
One audience that I don’t talk much about is the media – not necessarily journalists, but the content that gets published on media publications like Forbes, Fortune and Business Insider.
These are all data sources that would feed into a content analysis, with the intention that you will uncover topics to inform an audience content strategy.
Here’s an example of a content gap analysis.
On the right side you have a content analysis of everything that brand is publishing on its social media channels. The data is broken down into different topics and themes based on volume. The data is collected and clustered into this chart to show the verbatim keywords and phrases that are being used the most in branded content.
On the left side is an analysis based on audience conversations. It’s segmented the same exact way as above based on volume of keywords and phrases being used in social media by these individuals.
When looking at these two examples, you will notice that the gap looks to be wide. The brand talks a lot about RPA and is a lot more specific and technical in nature. On the left you have larger industry related themes and topics.
This is probably not the best content analysis example because most of the time when we do this the branded content shows topics and themes that are about the business, products or services. It’s all self-serving.
if you think about the model mentioned above, the way to relate to an audience is to speak the way they speak. This means that brands must create and publish content that matches and replicates what is top of mind for the audience.
it’s not just about the messaging and narrative either. The style of creative is also important.
Now I explain all this because content that’s informed by one or more of these audience is the type of content that all B2B brands need to be investing in.
Why? Well, I’ll say what every social media, agile content marketing and SEO expert has been saying for years. It’s about relevance.
And what do I mean by unbranded? Well, just that.
Technical audiences want value. They don’t want content that has your fonts, colors, creative and logo in the bottom right corner. They don’t want stock photography either.
The below is another example to consider. On the left you have RPA vendor UIPath. This is a classic example of branded content. It’s on-message, brand colors and identity is on point, The logo is front and center and you have branded hashtags. It’s not bad at all. It’s just not what audience are craving.
On the right you have an example of unbranded content. This is not the greatest example because I’m not a fan of pimping hashtags but the creative piece of it isn’t bad, and it looks like they are sharing influencer content.
So B2B brands need to create content that a) is creative, b) adds value to the audience c) provides your perspective on how to solve technology challenges or technology in general and d) isn’t filled with marketing jargon.
Using real-time audience listening and content analysis in research, you can see what’s top of mind for your audience right now. Where are they in their B2B sales funnel? What’s keeping them up at night? What news articles, white papers, ebooks and blog posts are they sharing with each other?
And then it’s your job to create data driven content quickly that is aligned to your narrative but relevant to what your audience is talking about. That is audience-informed content marketing
And those insights should be fueling your editorial calendar.
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