About the author: Anu Ramani is the founder and CEO of Isoline Communications, a worthy partner of Consonna specializing in B2B content marketing for small and large businesses. This blog post was originally published on isolinecomms.com.
As we are just starting this year, we thought it might be appropriate to go back to content marketing 101. What is it? How does it work? Is it for me? And how to do it right? We all benefit from going back to the basics now and then. As you probably already know, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. Let’s dissect that definition from the perspective of a B2B marketer, shall we.
Part 1: Creating valuable and relevant content
This is the focus of content marketing. Every day, we all see thousands of marketing materials aimed in our direction. Some of these attempts miss the mark completely and just fly by and straight out into the ether. Other bits of information may pique our attention but veer off course to crash and burn. Then there are those messages that seem like they are tailored just for us, address our current need and provide the answers we are looking for. It’s the goal of every company to create that type of content. Part of achieving this is knowing your target market inside and out – knowing their preferences, needs and goals. Then, targeting your content to meet those specific requirements. After you’ve determined what your audience wants, you have to decide how to format that information in a way that reaches them at the right time, in the right context. Then you can move on to producing relevant information that addresses the pain points of your audiences.
Part 2: Being consistent
In order to make a lasting impression you need to communicate regularly. Maria Montessori once said that preschool children needed an instruction clearly repeated three times before they retained it. While this might not be exactly the same for a B2B prospect, it is undeniable that we all learn over time and with repetition. So, in order for your B2B target audiences to take notice, you have to be persistent with your outreach. Providing pertinent information over a period of time will build trust and establish you and your brand as experts in the field, that your customers will want to consult with when they are looking for insight.
Part 3: Attracting and retaining an audience
The last part of the definition of content marketing is, in itself, the benefit. Everybody in every industry is trying to build an audience. Whether you provide a blockchain based fintech product or an IoT solution, you want to get the word out there and convert information seekers into customers. Content marketing is your prime pathway through in this regard. It’s your chance to establish a bond with potential customers through conversation because in essence, you are starting a conversation and inviting them to engage with you.
Read more: Three aspects of great B2B client communications.
Here are a few final thoughts on how to do content marketing right.
Focus on building trust
You know the old adage “relationships are built on trust”. Well, that sentiment is no less true when applied to a company-to-company relationship. First and foremost, you have to build a relationship with your audience. That’s where honest, helpful engagement can help. In most cases, a prospect has a range of options regarding where to go for the products or services they are looking to purchase, and 81% of shoppers conduct research online before even making a purchase. Establishing yourself as the ‘go to’ in your field for information will instill that trust and secure this relationship.
Share, share, share
Part of attracting your audience is, of course, building brand awareness. And yup, you guessed it, content is prime for attaining this goal as well. Currently, social media is all we talk about when we talk about spreading the word. How much engagement are you getting on Twitter? Is LinkedIn-based social selling a good strategy for you? How is your video doing on YouTube? Putting high quality content where your audience will find it is the best way to improve engagement. If people find value in the information you are providing, they are likely to share that value with their communities, in turn, spreading the word about your brand.
Growing and transforming your business
Here’s where we hit you with some hard facts. Content marketing is the road to take to grow your business. According to Hubspot, companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages than businesses without. And as you publish more content, Google will increase your page ranking, making it easier for businesses to find you. And since 77% of Internet users read blogs, your content is a way to gain your audience’s attention. And a majority of people prefer to learn about a company through an article than an ad. So, to reap the benefits, get to work writing and posting.