There's no doubt about it -- content came, saw and conquered the marketing world. Unlike the empires of past that did the same, content marketing isn't going away. Google, Bing and major search engines are placing more emphasis on the content businesses, bloggers and marketers deliver in an effort to provide users and customers with better experiences. Content marketing is a top priority for B2B marketers and in this post we'll share insights into the best tactics and strategies.
A Dominating Trend
A recent infographic from Uberflip pulled data from eMarketer, Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and IDG Knowledge Hub to find out just how B2B marketers are using content. In case you're still skeptical of the impact content marketing can make, studies show that more than two-thirds of CMOs plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2013 (Tweet this!). This marketing trend isn't just a fad -- it's an idea and concept that is here to stay. CMI found that the top content marketing objectives for B2B marketers include:
- Engaging customers/prospects (82%)
- Driving sales (55%)
- Educating the marketing (44%)
- Building thought leadership (43%)
- Increasing web traffic (43%)
It seems that, across the board, the content marketing objectives remain the same. The KPIs and metrics your business looks at, however, will differ depending on what you do with the content created. If your goal is to increase web traffic, sharing plays an important role. If your measurements of success are dependent upon lead quality for your sales team, you'll need to have a lead nurturing plan that works cohesively with your content marketing strategy. The top 5 measurement criteria among B2B content marketers are: web traffic, sales lead quality, social media sharing, sales lead quantity, and direct sales.
B2B Content Best Practices
The best types of content vary from business to business so it's up to you to find what will work for you and your audience. Video marketing, podcasts, email newsletters and white papers are just a few of the options available. Content marketing is about creating pieces of content that will engage your audience and prompt them to take an action. As you develop a content marketing strategy, or redefine the one you already have, consider what your content goals are and how creation and distribution need to take place in order for those goals to be met.
- Be valuable. Your content can't be spun so far that it's no longer valuable to your audience. Focus on providing content that adds value. White papers, industry case studies and relevant blog posts are all places you can get started.
- Learn from your audience. Measure the types of content your audience has the most positive response to. You'll gain insight into what your customers are looking for in terms of content, be able to provide tips that touch their pain points and receive feedback that can help your business redefine products or processes for greater success in the long run.
- Understand your customer and your sales cycle. The sales cycle has lengthened for many businesses according to recent studies and more people are involved in the decision making process than ever before. Understand who your content needs to reach directly and indirectly and where they need to receive it in the buying process.
- Repurpose. The majority of marketers create their content from scratch, but a common challenge is finding enough to create fresh, engaging content. If your business is constantly creating brand new content, you are wasting time and energy. Repurpose your own older content, repost or share new insight from third-parties, and look for ways to up-cycle the content you already own.
Now that you've determined your goals and the content needed to meet those, determine what social networks your business can distribute that content on. 83% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn, followed by 80% for Facebook and another 80% using Twitter. In order for your business to conquer with content marketing, you need to create content that your audience is after and distribute it to them directly, whether it's through an email newsletter, LinkedIn or an in-person meeting.
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