The Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing has become a staple in the B2B marketing playbook, and with good reason. Creating high-quality content is a great way for brands to build awareness, and gain credibility and trust within a target audience.
In order to sell, you need to build an audience. Here is a thread from @davegerhardt that reinforces the importance of content:
B2B marketing content can take on many forms, what you chose to create is less important than simply committing to make content marketing a priority for your organization.
Content that is targeted, unique, and educational.
Types of B2B Marketing Content
Product content is designed to help your customers and potential customers understand how to leverage your product to accomplish their objectives.
Your product content is some of your most valuable content, and can really help you improve overall product experience, get proactive with customer success, score and prioritize prospects, drive feature adoption, and inform sales enablement initiatives.
If you’re not currently including this content in your mix, I just gave you five reasons to consider including product-focused content in your mix … and here are two more.
- When you start focusing on your product, you’ll naturally uncover points of confusion and/or friction in your product, enabling you to address them before they impact your customers.
- A library of content focused on your product is great for SEO and will fuel campaigns in nearly every other channel. You can literally cut up your product content and use it for social, ads, messaging, onboarding, new hires, webinars, etc.
A significant portion of the business content people consume falls into this category (this publication for example). This content is focused on education, entertainment, and opinion. People consume it to learn and grow.
Consuming it does not indicate the intent to purchase. And, it does not mean the person consuming it is even remotely interested in your product.
The right content marketing will:
- Attract your target audience
- Build brand credibility, and trust
- Extend your reach
- Allow you to stay top of mind with potential consumers
- Build a community
- Reinforce the need for your product
This is important content and it enables you to cast a wider net. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to have success selling into content leads, and it doesn’t mean you should assume you have the opportunity to convert every content reader to a free account.
Not right away anyway.
You’re building brand awareness through your content – and over time – some of the people you attract through your content effort will move over to your product and become customers, but it takes time so be patient.
Understanding your customer is critical here. You need to ensure the content you’re creating is attracting the right audience … people that are a good fit for the product you are selling.
Once you’re confident you’re targeting is sound, focus your b2b content effort on driving traffic and deep engagement with your content. Not leads, or trials, or demos, or downloads.
You want to strive for engaged readers.
If your visitors are not consuming your content, something is wrong. Figure it out and keep going.
Popular B2B Content Types
B2B Marketing Website
Yea, I know … obviously. Here is the thing to pay attention to when it comes to your website – the messaging needs to resonate with your target customer. Not 4 different personas associated with your target customer, but THE TARGET CUSTOMER.
If you truly have 4 specific personas that need to be addressed I suggest you build a web experience that allows visitors to self identify and choose their own adventure.
Ideally, there is one target and you can target them exclusively with messaging that speaks their language, addresses their pain, and triggers an emotional connection.
Try not to over complicate things, and don’t over promise.
This is where you create a breadth of content in high-value categories that are meaningful to your audience’s business objectives and growth. Ideally, blog posts are 2,000 – 2,500 words and go deep on the topic being addressed.
Treat your blog like a product and focus on user experience and delivering value to your readers.
Typically value will come in the form of education.
Whitepapers are long-form content and can be considered an extension of your blog. A great strategy is for one to feed the other. There are two options here:
- Create blogs in series that build on a bigger topic and then combines them all onto a whitepaper, or
- Create the long-form whitepaper first and then release a series of blogs to support and promote the whitepaper.
I do not recommend you gate white papers.
They should be designed to benefit you through engagement, and build interest in your b2b product and/or service; emails collected in this manner are a distraction – focus on content consumption.
When done well, reports based on research boost credibility and trust, perhaps more than any other form of content. Follow the same guidelines for whitepapers and focus on consumption.
Live webinars are great for presenting educational content, whether it be product-focused or thought leadership. Live webinars also require users to register so you’re creating an opportunity to build a long term relationship with people.
When it comes to marketing to your webinar signups, just make sure you’re honoring the expectations you set at signup regarding future communications. e.g. it’s probably not the best idea to ship thought leadership webinar attendees to your sales team.
Continue to build trust through content with this audience and allow them to move to product at their own pace.
A podcast is a bit easier to consume than a webinar because it doesn’t require your listener to be in front of a screen in order to consume. This is a great medium for educational content and storytelling.
There is a ton of information here: https://www.podcastinsights.com/start-a-podcast/ on getting started with podcasting.
Always Add Value
There is a lot of debate around “quality” or “quantity” when it comes to content marketing, and in a perfect scenario, you want to try to accomplish both. I prefer not to think of content in these terms, instead, I measure the content idea in terms of the value it is going to add to the person consuming it.
The next time you’re brainstorming ideas for content consider asking yourself and team this important question:
Is the content you are considering, creating, sending, or sharing adding value for the recipient?
If the answer is no, skip it.
If you’re not sure, skip it.
Only pursue ideas that will add value to the relationship you’re building with your audience. Ultimately this is what your content is intended to do.
Each piece of b2b marketing content you create that adds value increases your credibility, the value of your brand, and the strength of the relationship you have with your target audience.
Set the bar high and build a B2B brand people trust.