The Content Marketing Institute (CMI), defines content marketing as
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Often enterprises treat sales and marketing function as a single entity; however these are two different approaches to attract the attention of your existing as well as potential customers.
|Goals||Focus on positioning. Aligns brand with specific industry or niche
||Focus on meeting sales quota; actual numbers count
|Thinking Style||For continued success, integrated marketing strategy includes branding, messaging, communications, and sales
||Utilizing tried and tested methods to achieve sales target
|Knowledge||High; marketers must have skills to employ, measure and report about marketing campaigns; good knowledge of PPC, CPC, Analytics, reporting methods, CRM etc
||Only caters to features of product/service. Sales execution is important
|Affinity||Reinventing the brand continuously
||Sales reps focus on customer needs to encourage repeat business and referrals
|Audience||Reach investors and manage public relations through different types of content
||Focuses only on customer
|Perspective||Shifting towards a customer-centric approach
||Learn to present company objectives better with support from marketing team
Types of Content
The following infographic explains the role each type of content plays in influencing the customer in different stages of the buying process. B2B enterprises must carefully use the checklist to arrive at a wise business decision.
1. Infographics. These are long, vertical graphics including statistics, graphs, charts as well as other information. Infographics can be effective if it is good it and it can be shared across social media and posted on websites for several years. Get it designed by a contractor or a professional company. Promote infographics on various social media channels. In addition, you can create a board on Pinterest to curate infographics related to your business. It takes time, but is a rewarding form of content marketing.
2. Webpages. How does a webpage for content marketing differ from a normal one? The former is viewed millions of times and brings in countless customers who otherwise might never have stopped by your company website. The design of case studies on a content marketing website attracts more site visitors.
3. Podcasts: Modern B2B enterprises must consider launching their own podcasts because it increases business visibility and reaches millions of online users. Million Dollar Insights, for example, is a SaaS analytics podcast that helps businesses collect their enterprise data and transform it into huge revenue streams. Cara Hogan, the host, interviews thought leaders, sales experts and data analysts to understand how business analytics can help enterprises drive reliable and sustainable growth.
4. Videos. Gary Vaynerchuk, a master of content marketing through online videos, has his own YouTube channel. He began promoting his family’s wine store through these videos along with other tactics of online marketing and eventually built a $45M empire. Videos and podcasts are not the usual form of content marketing since it is presumed to be hard and expensive. But with easy availability of professional equipment, it has become easier to create a high quality video and audio content.
5. Books. Businesses, often consider books, to be a good marketing tool. Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid is an excellent sales manual for salespeople, entrepreneurs, and marketers. The book is also a tool for driving customers to his coaching and speaking services. Self-publishing has made it easier to publish a book; however business leaders perceive it as a difficult task and believe it is meant only for only reputable professionals. Publish your eBook on Amazon, at least use it as a marketing tool as and when you are introduced as the author
Content Creation Or Content Curation … which works best for you?
Content Creation refers to creation of your own content from the scratch and marketing it to your subscribers or followers. On the other hand, Content Curation involves gathering information from sources like blogs, social media posts or, ebooks relevant to specific topic and sharing it with brand’s followers.
|Generates Leads. Original content helps in creating a brand image. Examples – ebook, webinars, whitepaper
||Relationship-building: Introduces your offering and helps you build strong relationships with industry influencers.
|Avoids plagiarism: Incorrect information will make you liable for legal jurisdiction. Even, sharing links from another company’s website is wrong if you don’t mention the proper source
||Saves Time: Social media channels requires enterprises to generate different forms of content – blog, FB posts, Tweets, press release, brochures, fliers etc. A good idea when you are facing a lack of resources. A safe way of protecting brand value is to curate content on twitter while posting original ideas on the company blog.
|Drive traffic: It is SEO-friendly and thus attracts more traffic to your website. A fresh post will increase your search rankings.
||Wider Knowledge Expertise: Though, you have a niche product content curation helps enterprise exhibit expertise in every aspect of a specific industry. However, sources must be reputable to increase brand value as many social users share your content inadvertently.
|Increases Brand Value: The content reflects your brand value; 45% of your brand image is a result of how and what your content says
|Thought Leadership: Original ideas help your brand become desirable. Customers understand the differentiated value of your value proposition. Examples of thought leaders include Steve Jobs, Richard Branson who have set a standard through consistent content.
Several technologies generate automated content that helps enterprises create content on the basis of factors such as reader’s location, relevant format, and improves the quality and consistency of content generation. 70% of B2B marketers use CMS and automated decision engines to design website and email content. Content management systems (CMS) like Drupal 8 help enterprises create, manage and promote content quickly and efficiently.
Importance of Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing
Storytelling helps enterprises develop powerful content and strengthens their overall marketing strategy.
Few important benefits of storytelling include:
- Brand Personality: Stories help customers relate to your brand; it can be user-generated, created by your brand, or a combination. You are sharing your brand’s personality, so remember to tell about your brand’s actual journey in the market.
- Brand is the Lead: Social media marketing lays emphasis on storytelling as an important tool. Detailed description of your customer journey will be beneficial. Present your brand as the protagonist. In this way, the story’s message will link to your brand value; you can communicate company objectives like delivering superior quality or gaining competitive edge. Remember the message needs to communicate brand value through a simple message/ moral of the story.
- Emotional Quotient: Brands that strike the emotional chord with their customers adopt the method of storytelling. Real stories based on true experiences will evoke feelings in the customer’s mind thereby increasing customer loyalty and enhancing user experience. Remember not to hurt anyone’s feelings in the process. Genuine, honest, real stories are the best bet.
- Recall: Storytelling helps brands increase their recall value since the customers remember the message forever. Telling about numbers only does not help much. You need to leave behind an impression about your mind. It also helps in promoting your brand through word-of-mouth advertising.
Stay ahead with content marketing
Why content marketing? The following benefits helps enterprises gain a competitive edge.
- Low investment cost: Not much investment goes into writing a blog post or social media content. You can do it yourself. Even if you want to hire a marketing agency, this strategy is cost-effective and any brand can access this form of marketing.
- Visibility: Your brand can achieve higher visibility. In addition, original content will help you establish your brand as a thought leader. Therefore, more people will be attracted to your business. You will gain an edge over any other industry competitor.
- Increased traffic: SEO strategy relies on content marketing. Essential keywords will result in higher search rankings. Content helps you remain ahead by diverting the competitor’s traffic by using relevant keywords.
- Better conversion rate: Increase conversion rates and retain your existing clients by generating relevant and personalized content. It will help you gain competitive edge and increase brand loyalty.
Content marketing is a strategy that provides long-term benefits to enterprises. If you invest more efforts in creating original content, it will definitely add more value to your offering and thereby help you sustain a better growth rate in the market.
Ideal Content Strategy
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 35% of marketers who have a documented content strategy are more effective in all aspects of content marketing than those who have not.
To stay ahead, enterprises must focus on preparing a documented content strategy and review its performance periodically. Use different types of content, as mentioned above, at different stages of the business lifecycle and see the difference.
Content Marketing Trends in 2016
- Focus more on user-generated content
- Have an editorial calendar
- Interactive storytelling
- Videos including episodic content
- Personalized content
- Selection of social media channels for content promotion
Application of appropriate SEO methods