Content marketing is the talk of the town and it's a slim chance your B2B marketing team hasn't heard about how "Content is King." Content marketing is the technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience. Of course, the objective is driving profitable customer action. But, there is a good chance many of them haven't heard just what it is that makes a content marketer successful.
In a recent study of B2B marketers by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Marketing Profs, they found there are the 5 common traits of successful B2B content marketers. Each of these characteristics is necessary for a content marketing team to successful.
- Committed. In order for a B2B marketer to be successful, they need to commit resources, including time and finances, to their content marketing efforts.
- Creative. Successful content marketers cross-promote across social media channels using a wide variety of tactics.
- Personal. Content marketing is successful when it is geared toward specific people and personas. Profitable marketers must be able to personalize their content, on both the business and consumer end.
- Talented. Creating engaging, compelling content isn't always easy. Successful content marketers must be talented and able to come up with great, unique content on a regular basis.
- Supported. Content marketers are not often at the top of a business's marketing food chain. In order to have success, content marketers need the support of the higher ups.
Content Marketing Success
Finding success in content marketing will depend on what your business defines as success for each channel you are using. While it may be safe to assume that an increase in traffic and sales are at the forefront when it comes to measuring content marketing success, B2B marketers will define success and failure differently depending on their business and industry. Some key takeaways from the CMI and Marketing Profs study are:
- B2B marketers define content marketing success as increases in web traffic, sales lead quality and social media sharing, in that order. With regard to organizational goals for content marketing, the top five (in order) are brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, customer retention/loyalty, and thought leadership.
- The three biggest challenges B2B content marketers reported were producing enough content, producing engaging content and producing a variety of content.
- The content marketing tactics that have had the biggest gains over last year are videos (70%), research reports (44%), mobile content (33%), and virtual conferences (28%).
Developing a Content Marketing Strategy
When developing or looking to improve a content marketing strategy, there a few different things you'll want to focus on. Remember, content marketing is about stepping back from advertisements and moving forward with providing customers and business decision makers with valuable information. Spend time thinking about the following as you develop a marketing strategy that is content-driven.
- Who -- Who is your target audience? Your content needs to be specific towards the people you are trying to reach. Define your target audience before moving forward to "what."
- What -- Once you know your audience, determine what kind of content they will be most interested in and most likely to share. What kind of content, visual or written, will your target customer prefer?
- Where -- Where is your target audience consuming content? Consider mobile devices, tablets, PCs, blogs, social media, etc. and the best content you can produce for each.
- How -- How will your content be found and shared? Understanding how your potential customer will search and/or share your content can influence what it is your marketing team produces.
- When -- When is a customer going to look for your content or find it valuable? Are they looking for entertainment, information or something else? Take into account when your target audience will interact with your business when producing content.
If you're still on the fence about content marketing, consider the study by Roper Public Affairs, which found 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. 70% of the respondents said content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company, while 60% say that a company's content helps them make better product decisions. Successful content marketing takes place when a content marketing team is able to create unique and personalized content that speaks to each segment of the brand's target audience and can use relevant social media channels to promote the existing content and create new, social-based content.