Content marketing: get the Innovator’s Dividend

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Doug Kessler

13. 05. 2013 | 3 min read

Content marketing: get the Innovator’s Dividend

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I hate to say this, but marketers do tend to exhibit herd behavior just when they should be romping off on their own, inventing stuff.

When something new and exciting hits, too many of us are apt to say, “Me too” instead of “Where can I take this?”.

Today, content marketing (digital style) is the new and exciting thing. And, true to form, most marketers are running along after the bandwagon instead of starting their own band and wrecking some hotel rooms.

As a result, the world doesn’t just get one version of “Five Ways to Use Social Media in Blah Blah Blah”, we get 312,000,000 (really: I Googled it).

We’re all guilty of setting WordPress on auto-pilot and cranking out the blog post we feel we ‘should’ write instead of the one we really want to write. But when we do that, we’re taking away any chance there is of really hitting a nerve with anyone out there.

Because now more than ever, the content marketing goodies go to the innovators. The pioneers. The people who love to leap out of packs instead of just leaping into them.

The Innovator’s Dividend

There’s a hefty reward at stake here. Because, in content marketing, being the first to tell a compelling story multiplies your impact. If you nail a timely issue before anyone else, or give a fresh spin to an idea, you get a big, big boost.

Even if the story isn’t exactly brand, spanking new, you can still get this Innovator’s Dividend by telling it in a new way — by using a new style or medium or technique.

A parallel from the consumer electronics market: Camera brands have known for a long time that the first few months after a new product launch are the highest-margin months it will ever have. The new camera earns more profit for two reasons:

  • New things make an impact – they shake up our mind’s tendency towards habituation.
  • The competition hasn’t yet matched the new features – so the innovator can maintain their high margins until they catch up.

Simplistic Graph A:
It kind of looks like this, with the product launch happening at Time Zero:

Content Marketing - the value of novelty

Now let’s translate that over to content marketing.

Simplistic Graph B:
The only difference is that we replace the word ‘Margin’ with the word ‘Attention’ – the currency of the content marketer:

High-Margin Content


New things earn a higher margin (of attention)

A new story or a new way of telling that story create that golden period – the time when camera manufacturers make all their money and when content marketers get the bulk of their shares and likes and views and visits and up-thumbs. So the idea is to generate a high peak and extend it out as long as possible.

New stories. Told in new ways. That’s what creates High Margin Content.

Be a pioneer.

So your job as a content marketer isn’t just to create content that maps to this persona and that purchase stage. Or to fulfill the obligations of your editorial calendar, on time and under budget. Or to build an efficient, sustainable content machine.

Your job as a content marketer is to be a pioneer:

Find the new stories that aren’t yet being told.
Look at emerging issues not just the same old things everyone has already picked over. Invent a new metric. Research a new topic. Generate some new data. Share new insights.

Tell your stories in new ways.
Come up with a different angle or a fresh metaphor. Deploy some startling attitude and energy. Use a medium that hasn’t been used yet in your market (like Prezi or a mobile app or letterpress or stop-motion animation – it doesn’t have to be new to the world, just new to your market).

If you can do either of these, you’ll benefit from the Innovator’s Dividend.

And if you can do both at the same time, the God of Content* will shower you with shares, lap you with Likes and titillate you with tweets.

Which feels really nice.


* Looks like a cross between Ann Handley and Joe Pulizzi but with dreadlocks.

Published in:

  • B2B Content Marketing

  • b2b-lead-generation

  • b2b-marketing

  • content

  • Thought Leadership

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