It's all a content game...
Zoe Pedersen - Head of Commercial Services
Content Marketing: It’s a favourite and much utilised marketing buzz phrase and has been for a while.
Content is King. We’ve all heard that one for many many years too!
The thing is, it’s true. Content truly is King and perhaps nevermore so in today’s age of digital channels, messaging, social media and the ability of content to take so many forms. Content Marketing is meant to be about providing value, delivering information that customers will find useful, insightful, helpful. It’s meant to be about solving a problem and sharing something for free. That’s the important bit to remember...for free.
Content Marketing is NOT meant to be about selling or pitching your products or services.
Seems rather counterintuitive to say something “marketing” related, is not meant to be connected to sales but here’s the thing - customer today are far more savvy, informed and critical and aware of when they are being sold to.
Content will succeed for a brand on the basis of whether or not a customer judges it to be authentic in free value or if it gets perceived as a thinly veiled attempt at a sales pitch.
Interruption Marketing is the opposite to true Content Marketing. It’s the forced-on-the-customer pitch that usually comes in the form of the traditional advert, a direct email, a spam email or spam letter in your mailbox. Customers react to these pushy, old school sales tools by fast forwarding through commercials, tossing away the mail and deleting or unsubscribing from the emails.
That’s not to say there isn’t still a place for the Hard Sell. It is still needed, but at the right time and the right place.
Content Marketing needs to account for more of the marketing strategy in today’s marketplace. It needs to be the content that consumers are actively seeking out for themselves; it has to resonate, be relevant and genuine in its attempt to help solve a consumer problem.
Content Marketing is meant to be the emotional hook and channel that builds the relationship between the Brand and the Customer. It can:
Create positive brand sentiment
Provide knowledge and value for customers
Build brand, product and service awareness
Build relationships by earning trust and credibility
And perhaps the Golden Bullet: convert customers into long term brand advocates
For retail or B2C brands, Content Marketing can appear relatively easy - brand storytelling has been a cornerstone for many direct-to-consumer brands for many years.
For B2B brands, it is just as important and follows the same methodology and reasoning. How does a B2B business go about building their brand story, developing those customer relationships and creating the necessary trust without actually selling? By producing content that is useful, customised to users needs and by truly adding value to the digital and online brand experience.
So, why should Content Marketing be part of your brand’s marketing strategy?
Informative content demonstrates expertise and helps attract B2B buyers. A recent study by Forrester highlighted that 74% of B2B buyers research online before making an offline purchase. What content are you putting into that early stage of the user’s sales journey? Either you are creating content to help that early stage research phase, or your competitor will be doing it and they will win the customer.
The good news for B2B businesses is that Content Marketing is typically one of the more affordable marketing tactics. The cost per lead typically tends to be lower than other marketing channels and activities.
And what B2B business doesn’t love efficiency? Content Management plans, well crafted and based on creative brand and audience understanding, experience better efficiencies in spend, return on investment and long-term customer value.
Content produced consistently, that is relevant and well profiled with keywords can assist a website’s rankings and organic search success, ensuring overall digital awareness. Business websites with well curated blogs typically see better digital performance that those without afterall!
So what content could you, and should you be producing? Well, that does depend on brand and business objectives, audience needs and persona’s but some things to consider could include:
Ebooks and whitepapers
Thought Leadership/Opinion Pieces across your particular industry
And how about formats? Well, that is totally up to the creative interest of the business and the desire to be as engaging as possible:
Written form content
Round table content discussions/hosted own events
The Content Landscape can be a pretty rich and exciting place to get stuck into for brands. Done well, it can be a lynchpin at the heart of all brand, marketing and communication efforts and will directly deliver positive ROI for both B2C as well as B2B businesses.
We regularly work with clients to achieve measurable results through Content Marketing programmes, have you taken a fresh look at your Content Marketing opportunities? We’d love to help you leverage your brand story and your brand content so get in touch now.