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Categories Advertising, B2B, Content

Here’s What the C-suite Has to Say about Your Content

Content marketing is in need of an overhaul that puts return on investment at its core, according to a new study from Grist. Andrew Rogerson, Grist’s founder, sheds light on how content can satisfy the C-suite.

Senior executives ignore 69 per cent of content that comes across their desks. Long-form material is likelier to be swept aside. And content that proves too generic, lacks originality or puts the adviser before the reader is expected to fail.

However, 84 per cent of senior executives believe good content plays an important part in adding value to their role. And over a quarter of the content that does get noticed has a direct impact on decision making.

These nuggets come from a new study, The Value of B2B Thought Leadership Survey, which we conducted to understand what senior executives look for in content. The survey is based on over 200 interviews with the C-suite at FTSE 350 organisations, in roles spanning CEO, legal, finance, risk, marketing, sales, HR and tech.

While the study found much to be desired with content marketing today, there is also lots to be positive about. According to the respondents, the problem isn’t with content marketing in principle – it’s that the content being produced isn’t up to scratch.

Honest content marketers are likely to be aware of this dichotomy. But how can we fix it? A few years ago, content was heralded as the saviour of marketing. But times have changed. Today, according to Gartner’s Hype Cycle, content marketing is stuck in “the trough of disillusionment”, something that the Content Marketing Institute has also been quick to acknowledge.

Marketers had been quick to hop on the content bandwagon. However, much content was delivered without a thought-out strategy – or a sense of long-term value. Essentially, they tried to master too much too quickly. As such, much content today is ill-defined, poorly executed and lacking in original insight and ideas, leading to content marketers becoming disillusioned with their work.

This was clearly captured in our research. That content is often below par has been noticed by senior executives. But content marketers should be motivated by the fact that good thought leadership is valued by them and they are happy to receive it from their advisors. So, what next?

Without doubt, there needs to be a rallying among content marketers to safeguard the future of the industry. But we need to learn from past mistakes. We need a plan.

Our research proved that there is a disconnect between why content is produced and what those for whom it is intended really want. When asked what they would most like to see in the future, there is an overwhelming desire among senior executives for content that they and their peers have been involved in developing (80 per cent). Personalisation (55 per cent) and content that incorporates dialogue with the readers’ peers (50 per cent) were second and third most important. It is clear content needs to become more dynamic, interactive and inclusive.

While there is no silver bullet in content marketing, one thing is clear. It needs to provide a return on investment, both for the businesses producing it and for those investing the time to view it. To achieve this – and to begin climbing towards a more fulfilling future – marketers need to take a step back, get to know their audiences and start channelling these insights into strategies that put them first.

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