Engaging today’s business buyers is no easy feat. Not only do the messages you send out need to be personalised and relevant to the challenges your audience faces, but the content you produce must be actionable – letting your buyers know what the next step in the process is and where they can go to find more information.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, you have to create content that people actually want to read.
Successful marketers produce informative content, personalise it and deliver it to specific leads throughout every phase of the buying cycle. Content needs to not only showcase your expertise, knowledge and thought-leadership, but address the challenges and concerns of your buyers.
The best content will enlighten prospects, facilitate the buying process and lay the foundations for an ongoing conversation.
Produce some eye-catching original content
When you are considering what to feature as your content marketing strategy, remember that your messaging is not limited to articles and whitepapers. Think videos, webinars, microsites, infographics, ebooks and apps. Or set your content apart with a more unique tactic – a video game, movie or cartoon. There’s no end to the ways to interact with your brand; just be clear about who you are creating content for and what purpose it serves.
Curate content to fill the gaps
The average sales cycle for a B2B technology purchase can take up to five months and involve as many as seven people, each of which will be consuming multiple pieces of content during their journey. You probably have a thousand ideas on how to reach each of these buyers, but is your budget going to cover them all?
Curating content isn’t stealing; in fact, it’s a respected social practice. It will help you fill the gaps between original content ideas and will take some of the pressure off your budget. But don’t run the risk of landing yourself in hot water, make sure you credit the source.
Promote your content
Now that you have some brilliantly worded original content and a catalogue of curated content, how do you promote it? How will you get the word out and ensure the right people see it and share it?
There are three promotional techniques to advertise your content: Owned, Earned and Paid.
- Owned media is when you leverage a channel you create and control. This could be your company blog, YouTube channel, website and Facebook page. This is your chance to make the most of what you’ve got – but make sure your buyers stay front and center. And think about the devices your buyers use to connect with you – desktop, mobile, tablet? We strongly suggest responsive design to cover all your bases.
- Earned media is when customers, press and public share your content and discuss your brand. Every B2B marketer should be involved in the social media that matter to their customers, and the content you produce should be repurposed to suit each channel.
- Paid media is when you pay to have third-party channel distribute your message. This includes advertisements, paying for media coverage or distributing press releases on paid sites. The hard part, however, is sifting through the options and keeping track of what is and isn’t working. If you’re buying display advertising, experiment with design and calls-to-action. If it’s pay-per-click (PPC), change up keywords and search terms. Advertising on Facebook or LinkedIn? Target different user interests, groups or job titles. Find out what works for your audience, but bear in mind that people generally put more trust into non-paid channels, so set your expectations accordingly.
Last but not least, make sure your content is easy to find. You could have the most compelling blog, the greatest website and the most informative articles, but it’s all for naught if no one can find it. Keep a consistent look and feel across your content as well; you don’t want your webinar and looking like it came from a completely different company than the ebook!
Over the course of the next few weeks we will be exploring the pertinence of content marketing to any company’s marketing strategy. Check back in each week as we delve deeper into this topic and find out how you can improve your own efforts and strategies.
In the meantime, you can check out our ebook: The Superheroes of B2B Marketing!