What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a digital marketing tactic that B2B companies use to increase leads. It uses content creation as the main tool to drive relevant traffic to a website and convert that traffic into leads for the company.
To put it another way, many B2B companies are marketing to prospective clients through “content.”
What is CONTENT?
Content is anything that communicates an idea from one person to another. Common examples include blog articles (very similar to newspaper articles, but published on your website); whitepapers; spec sheets; ebooks (this is an electronic book, or a book available online); brochures; videos; podcasts (similar to radio shows); infographics (graphics designed to convey information); and even social media posts.
Content is anything you create for your clients to read, listen to, or watch; content is made for consumption. You’ll routinely read the phrase in marketing blogs about “consuming content,” which means that your target audience is ingesting the content you’ve created and is “eating it up” (hopefully). Or, in other words, they’re reading or listening to or watching it.
“Content Marketing” is the act of utilizing the content you create to connect with your current and prospective clients (also called your “target audience”).
How Do I Market My Brand with Content?
Content Marketing is used heavily as a tactic in Inbound Marketing strategies to target key personas. Key personas are the people you’re targeting – the people you want to sell to. They’re also called your Target Audience (for more information, read my blog called, “What is a Target Audience”). This is who matters – the people who are interested in what you offer, people who value your services, and people who want to spend money on what you sell.
Keep your focus on this group of people – they’re the only ones who matter.
And that’s what Content Marketing is all about: Creating content for people who are interested in it.
What Can Content Marketing Do For Me?
Content Marketing is how you, as a B2B brand, connect to your prospective clients. Content creates a relationship between the author (you) and the reader (your target audience).
It’s like a friendship – through your website, blog, and social accounts you share unique, authentic content with an audience of people. And those people who consume your content start to get to know you. They look forward to what you write; they listen to what you say. They take your advice.
Because you’ve taken the first step – you’ve revealed your thoughts and now they know what you think. They can review your opinions and ideas and make intelligent decisions based on what you present. They can choose to agree or disagree.
And guess what? Many times, your audience will like it! They are hungry to devour the content you create – to watch the videos you shoot, read the blogs you post, and listen to the podcasts you record.
But you want to build your B2B brand, not make friends. What does Content Marketing do for you?
The goal of Content Marketing is to increase website traffic, generate qualified leads, and convert those leads into paying clients. And that’s easier to do with Content Marketing.
Increasing leads is the most important objective of most Content Marketing strategies, but other goals can be met using content:
- Improve engagement with customers
- Increase brand awareness
- Nurture leads
- Increase amount of traffic to the website
- Increase sales revenue
- Improve rankings in Google
- Retain more customers
Does Content Marketing really work? Have other B2Bs found it to be successful?
Is Content Marketing Successful?
Yes – Content Marketing is successful. It does help B2B brands increase leads, and there are many stats that prove it:
82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content. —Demand Metric, 2014
36 percent of B2B companies with a documented content marketing strategy considered themselves very effective, three times more than those without a documented strategy. —LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community
Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to have a positive ROI. —HubSpot
Kraft estimates that it generates the equivalent of 1.1 billion ad impressions a year and a four-times-better ROI through content marketing than through even targeted advertising, according to Julie Fleischer, the company’s director of data, content, and media. —AdAge
Okay, that’s something to think about. But why does it work? Why is it successful?
Why Is Content Marketing Successful?
Why it’s successful should be obvious by now. It’s because Content Marketing is all about the consumer, the person reading or watching or listening to it. And when it’s all about the consumer, the consumer is interested. When the consumer is interested, he’s more likely to buy into whatever you’re selling.
Wait, My Content Is About What?
Are you thinking, “Why am I writing about the consumer? And not my B2B brand?”
Think of it this way – your B2B brand exists for a reason, right? You solve some type of problem that people have. That’s why you’re a business.
And how you fix problems is why people buy what you sell. Your process – the way you solve that problem – attracts people to you. So write about it. Talk about it. Make a video about it. Express yourself; show ‘em what you’ve got!
But make it about them. That’s really the key.
When you write that article, write it to them. When you speak into the microphone for your podcast, speak to them. Find out what their questions are, what they struggle with. Answer their concerns, calm their fears, educate them. They’ll thank you for it, and will repay you with loyalty, which is pretty much gold (it is to our B2B).
So Now What?
Now comes the fun part – creating content and marketing it to your target audience.
No need to panic; you’ll do a great job! All you need to learn to do is communicate with your target audience in a way that means something to them. And you’ve already been doing this for years through the way you treat customers and help fix their problems. Now just turn that into content, and start building relationships with those who matter.
Help with Content Marketing
Need some guidance? We understand. Content Marketing takes some getting used to, but once you get it, you’ll embrace Content Marketing as a lead generation tool for your B2B.
If you’d like to discuss Content Marketing, I’m here – I love to talk about Content Marketing, as do many of my expert co-workers in marketing and strategy. So, pick up a phone, send us an email, or fill out our contact form, and we’ll talk!
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