Content Marketing 101.
Director Lauren Perry is part of the Caliber leadership team, working across client accounts to develop and execute successful public relations and marketing plans. She is also the head of content for the firm, and helps clients to develop impactful content and effective content strategies with the help of our team of content pros & writers.
Content plays a vital role in the marketing and communications mix for businesses today. And this is not only true for consumer-facing businesses, but B2B firms as well. According to a DemandGen survey, 75 percent of B2B buyers reported that the content of potential vendors that they researched had a “significant impact” on which partner they eventually chose to work with.
With that said, when it comes to creating content, you need to have a plan. Here are a few strategic considerations to take into account to get the most from your content and achieve your marketing goals.
Measure contents impact
- Obviously, a key priority for any content initiative is to make sure you are reaching your target audience and ultimately seeing ROI from those efforts. But how do you measure that? There are a number of different metrics you can take into account. Pageviews for a blog post, for example, can demonstrate how successful a piece of content was in drawing eyeballs to your website. You can even measure time spent per session to see if people are poking around further or just leaving right away.
- Downloads and page views can also give a good impression of the reach and impact of each piece. Sales teams can leverage this data to evaluate what articles are most impactful as well as who at an organization is reading the content, such as a CCO, CMO, CIO, etc. This allows, in order to better reach their target audience in a more specific and personalized way. by sales team to promote with clients.
- There are also measures such as determining how many quality leads derived from a piece of content, or how it helped improve your overall SEO standing. Whatever KPIs you choose, just make sure you are measuring, and measuring regularly to focus on trends, successes and areas for improvement.
- This is another point that may sound obvious, but too many B2B content marketing materials are filled with buzzwords, meaningless platitudes and generally read like they were written by a committee. Having a strong opinion, however, can and will help you stand out.
- Don’t be controversial for the sake of it, but also don’t be afraid to take a strong stance. Is there a trend or shift in your industry that is the hot topic at every conference, but that you think is overhyped? Don’t be afraid to call it out. As long as you back up your opinion with solid supporting points, a well-written piece can really catch the eye and get people talking.
Be pithy – and visual
- Longer form research-based pieces of content such as whitepapers will always have a place in the content mix, but these days, people are more likely to consume short, snappy pieces. The Content Marketing Institute reports that being concise – short and pithy – resonates best with readers, which makes sense given the high volume of content available today. Creating content that is direct, smart and interesting is the best way to stand out and make an impact with your target audience.
- Also, make use of images – they are a very powerful way to tell a story. In fact, posts with visuals earn 94% more visits and engagements than posts without visuals, according to MIT research.
- To take it to the next level – try and produce audio and video content on a regular basis. It’s a multimedia world out there and people consume content in various ways, not just by reading it, so reach people the way they want to be reached.
Offer “news you can use”
- Promoting your company is great, and you certainly should be touting big sales wins, industry award wins and the other big news items in press releases – we certainly know the power of those things! But much of the focus of your content should be of the “thought leadership” variety.
- Your potential customers are doing research on a certain topic because they’re looking for information; not a sales pitch. And by being a trusted source of information, they are much more likely to view your company as a trusted source in the industries you operate in.
Have a strategy
- A strategy is what turns just simply producing content into effective content marketing. A content strategy involves figuring out the frequency with which you will publish pieces, the format you will use, the venues the content will live on, how you will amplify the content (i.e. social media posts or email blasts) and so much more.
- Without a good strategy behind it, even the most compelling piece of content will not reach its full potential. Before you even start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) develop a robust strategy of how the content will be used, where and when. You should aim to plan at least 6 months out to ensure you’re thinking for the long-term.
With these tips, you should be well on your way to creating a great content marketing program that will drive engagement, guide leads through the sales funnel and ultimately reach prospective customers.