Content still rules!
In 1996 when Bill Gates famously coined the well used phrase ‘content is king’, not only was he making an accurate prediction for the future, but he was also setting a precedent for marketeers everywhere.
Content is still leading the way in digital marketing tactics and should be a major part of your company’s digital strategy. Useful and focused content can build trust for your brand and improve customer acquisition and retention rates, and with 2017 trends for B2B marketing focusing heavily on SEO, video, personalisation and immersive content, it’s important to have a strategy in place to make the most of your opportunities throughout the year ahead.
WHAT IS MEANT BY CONTENT?
Content is a broad term that is widely used, but what does it mean for your organisation? In layman’s terms, it is free and original information related to your service or product, which you provide to demonstrate your value, knowledge and understanding of your customers. However, with the sea of information readily available online – connecting and engaging your target audience is no easy task. Consumer loyalty is dwindling and this is partly because of the ease with which consumers can make direct comparisons between competitors. Great content can really set you apart from the competition. You must offer your audience something truly unique, valuable and consistent.
“TRADITIONAL MARKETING AND ADVERTISING IS TELLING THE WORLD YOU’RE A ROCK STAR. CONTENT MARKETING IS SHOWING THE WORLD THAT YOU ARE ONE!”
LET’S GET STRATEGIC
Now you’re on board with content, what next? You’ll need to put an agile strategy in place. This will enable you to plan bit by bit, continuously testing and improving along the way. There may be times when you need to be reactive due to real-time events or trends, such as political, social or industry changes that cannot be predicted. You need to be prepared to keep an eye on what’s happening in the external environment and an incremental approach will allow for flexibility.
A content marketing strategy can utilise all marketing communication channels and can incorporate various stages of the sales cycle and customer journey. When planning your strategy, make sure you take into consideration the outcomes you want to achieve and whether they are measurable. The end goal should always be realistic to the time frame you are applying.
Content strategy should walk hand in hand with your SEO strategy, as one only works with the other. Keywords, headlines, title tags, link building and social media sharing are all considerations for content and SEO to work together successfully.
DOS AND DON’TS
• Don’t just put up any old content for the sake of it, make sure it’s thought-out and there’s a reason behind it. Don’t publish content that is not of interest to your audience.
• Don’t unleash your content to the public without making sure it has been proof read and checked by a fresh pair of eyes. This one may seem obvious but you’d be amazed at the amount of content posted daily with spelling mistakes. There’s nothing worse than reading an article with spelling mistakes or poor grammar – it will be the only thing the reader remembers at the end of it!
• Do, however, communicate your brand’s story. Show your brand has a personality. You can use humour, depending on what you want to convey. Even though your content is directed at a B2B audience, it doesn’t have to be stuffy. Engagement is key.
• Do research before you write an industry insight. Your material needs to communicate to your customers that you know what you’re talking about.
• Do practise consistency with your content sharing, but remember quality comes before quantity.
• Do keep on top of what your competitors are doing; reviews of their content can help you stay ahead of the game.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE
There are other channels to explore, which shouldn’t be dismissed for B2B marketing, especially if you’re looking to stay ahead of the competition.
• Video tells a thousand words… well closer to 1.8 million actually. Studies show that 1 minute of video can be worth up to 1.8 million words. Video content is becoming more and more popular in B2B marketing.
• Personalised content is always preferable in B2B marketing, especially when interpersonal relationships are so important. This ties in quite nicely with the use of automation as part of your content strategy.
• Immersive – If you really want to stand out from the crowd immersive content can really set you apart. Immersive content whether through the medium of virtual reality or augmented reality can offer a real-time experience to customers. This is an important digital disruptor to keep an eye on and although costly can have some great benefits for both your organisation and consumer.
SHARING IS CARING
Ideally you want your content to be shared with a wider audience outside your own direct audience. The best and cheapest way is for your articles to be shared on social media by others. If you want this to happen, try to do the same back. Sharing insightful articles and quotes from relevant sources, even if they’re not your own, can really interest your audience and add value to their online experience that day. Make sure you give credit or mentions and you’ll soon start finding they do the same back for you.
MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE
Like any strategy or campaign, there needs to be a measurable outcome. You need to see whether your content is working to achieve positive results. Quantify ROI, lead generation and content purpose so your efforts don’t go in vain. This is where your social media and website analytics can be insightful. If you’re not getting the results you expected, it’s time to change tack.
FOR CONTENT’S SAKE!
Whatever channels you decide to use to deliver your content, remember to provide your audience with consistent and relevant information. But don’t go to the extreme and bombard your consumers with vast amounts of irrelevant material. They will just switch off. Make sure your content isn’t there merely for the sake of it. Happy planning!