If you haven’t formalised your content marketing, chances are it’s not as effective as it could be. Everyone from your marketing manager to the article writer penning your blogs posts should understand your audience, purpose and aims. Most content marketing agencies offer strategy development as a service, but for those who plan to do it in-house, we’ve put together a handy guide to the building blocks of good content marketing in the B2B space.
Content marketing refers to the creation and sharing of content for the purpose of promoting a product or service. However, rather than hitting your clients with the hard-sell, this form of marketing provides you with the opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader, and an influential resource for providing information, and solving problems or issues your target clients might have.
Is it the same as inbound marketing?
Almost. The focus of inbound marketing is also creating and sharing content. The terminology is slightly different, but the content marketer and inbound marketer have similar goals and a similar approach.
Types of content marketing
It is highly likely that your organisation has been using various forms of content marketing over the years, even if a formal strategy hasn’t been in place. Some of the mediums include:
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- Social media posts
Why is content marketing important for B2B organisations?
There are four key things that content marketing can do for your business.
- It helps build trust – By developing strong content that helps your clients make the right decisions, you will build a sense of trust so that they don’t feel like they’re making a risky choice if they start buying your products or services.
- It generates leads – Google LOVES fresh content, so by creating regular online content you are more likely to drive traffic to your website. If you have an e-newsletter or e-book, asking website visitors to subscribe or download them provides you with contact details for potential business leads.
- It nurtures leads – As those potential business leads develop, you need to have content that educates and informs to ensure you’re on the way to building strong, lasting relationships.
- It helps with lead scoring – You can determine the sale readiness of a potential client based on the level of interactivity with your website, e-newsletter opens and engagement with your social media.
Do you need a content marketing strategy?
To avoid wasting time, effort and money on ineffective B2B content marketing, it’s vital to set aside time to think about your organisational goals, resources, and how you’re going to measure your success. A strong content marketing strategy should include the following:
- Determine the audience – Who are they, what challenges do they face in their business or industry, and what are their goals?
- Set goals – What do you want to achieve from your content?
- Determine the type of content to share – What type of content will appeal to your audience?
- Identify your brand voice – Will your tone be informal, personal and friendly, or professional?
- Decide on the channels – Which channels do your audience prefer?
- Determine the frequency – How often does your audience want to read your content?
- Measure results – How do you want to measure performance?
Distribution of content
Once you’ve compiled your content, whether it’s a blog, video or white paper, it’s time to send it out across the world wide web! Where you distribute your content will depend a lot on where your target market likes to spend time, but some common channels include your blog, website, social media platforms, e-newsletters, and online industry publications.
Measuring your results
Although it can be a little tricky to quantify the success rate of content marketing, there are a few tools that can provide an indication of whether you’re on the right track or not:
- Website traffic – Keep an eye on the user engagement with your website via Google Analytics. How many unique and returning visitors do you have this month compared to last month? How long did they spend on each page?
- Number of followers – How many people ‘like’ your Facebook page, are ‘following’ you on Twitter and have downloaded your recent e-book? This doesn’t necessarily translate to paying customers, but having this engagement is a good start.
- Comments and feedback – Taking the next step to interact with your company is important. Are people commenting on or reviewing your products/services? Are they sharing relevant content in response to your questions?
Six rules of content creation
When creating your content, keep in mind that you are trying to appeal to your target market, build trust and engage with them, and ultimately encourage them to do business with you. Here are six rules of content creation:
- It is not promotional – If you want to excite and inspire your readers, doing a hard promotional push is not the way to go.
- It is relevant to your customer – With content marketing, you must always keep the customer’s needs in mind. Producing generic materials won’t only deter customers from reading a particular article, it might also impact on whether they continue their e-newsletter subscription or read future articles.
- It closes a gap – Ideally, your content should provide an answer to a business question or problem. Providing information about a topic that is already well known across the industry will be a wasted effort.
- It is well written – Avoid hurting your brand reputation; ensure that your content marketing is well written and that spelling and grammar are double or even triple checked! Engage experienced copywriters if you don’t have the writing expertise in-house.
- It is relevant to your company – It’s important to keep your business goals in mind at all times. If your content doesn’t support your business in any way, then what’s the point in supplying it to potential or current customers?
- It gives proof – Avoid company bias by always including quotes, testimonials, and statistics to support your content.
B2B content marketing can boost your business by building your customer base and helping you to promote your products or services. If you have any other questions about B2B content marketing, or you need help with your content strategy development, feel free to contact us.