You know that thing marketing people do where they provide current and potential customers with content that builds a sense of trust, awareness, and thought leadership?  I think they call this “content marketing.”   Of course you know what I’m talking about. Needless to say, content marketing is on fire.  How do I know?  Well according to the Content Marketing Institute 93% of B2B brands and 90% of B2C brands are now using content marketing to generate leads and build brand awareness.  That’s a lot of companies.

So why is there so much interest in content marketing?  Well first, according to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and it generates about 3 times as many leads.  The reason content marketing performs so well is because consumers have become immune to traditional marketing like advertising, which pounds the consumer with content that they perceive as irrelevant.  Today, this type of marketing typically does more to annoy a potential customer than it does to help nurture the prospect into a new client.  However, even though content marketing offers great promise, many organizations have issues effectively executing a content marketing initiative.

The Content Marketing Institute did a survey and found that for the majority of content marketers across all business types – producing enough content was a top challenge.  Yet, according to a Marketing Charts survey, 72% of B2C marketers and 73% of B2B marketers are planning on increasing the quantity of content they produce.  Seems like there is a great deal of concern about the quantity of content that is produced.  This might be at least part of the reason behind some of the content marketing ineffectiveness many businesses are experiencing.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is defined as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience.”   It’s important to note the words “valuable” and “relevant.”  I guess you could argue that for content to be “valuable” it must be “relevant.”  So the key word here – in my opinion – is “relevant.”  The more relevant the content is then the more valuable it will be to the consumer.  But there are degrees of relevancy and there is little said about the degree of content relevancy that is needed to be effective.

Let’s be clear, content relevancy is directly related to personalization.  The more personalized a piece of content is – the more relevant it is.  We can write a white paper that is relevant to anyone who has internet access and make it available on our website – but does this meet the relevancy threshold to be effective?  What if we promote a blog post to a group of people with common characteristics – does this meet the relevancy threshold to generate a lead?  The optimum in relevancy is that which is personalized to the specific needs of an individual.  Therefore, the most relevant a piece of content can be for you is that which is tailored specifically to your individual needs.

I think, that increasingly marketing professionals will need to provide content that is personalized to the needs of an individual in order to maximize the potential of their content marketing efforts.  Personalization around groups or personas is a great start and will always be helpful but what is relevant is relative.  And, what is perceived as relevant today won’t be tomorrow.