Content marketing is a hot topic! In fact, 86% of B2B Marketers are using content marketing (CMI) . So what is it? We define content marketing as the creation and distribution of educational and/or compelling content in multiple formats to attract and/or retain customers.
Below we will take you through the content marketing process. Planning; deciding what type of content marketing works best for your company and a content schedule. Implementation; including tips on how to write blogs, case studies, and white papers, and how to distribute your content. And finally, measurement; metrics to use to determine if your content marketing is effective.
Content Marketing Planning
The quality of a content plan can support both the effectiveness and efficiency of your content marketing initiative. Begin your planning by determining the mission of your content marketing initiatives and stick to it. Then, you can move on to determining what kind you will use.
Just a few examples include:
- Social Media
- Case Studies
- White papers
But how do you know which tactic to choose? In B2B companies, buyers of products and services want the question “can you fix my problem?” answered.
The bulk of a buyer’s selection criteria and process is aimed at determining whether a prospective firm can solve their problem. Do they understand my issues? Have you solved similar problems in the past? Does the specific team have the necessary skills and experience?
Blogs, case studies, and white papers as part of your content marketing plan can help answer these questions. For B2B companies, blogs, case studies, and white papers are content marketing gold.
You can use a blog to demonstrate you understand your buyer’s issues by creating content that is relevant to their needs. Your blog can include how to’s, tips, etc. pertaining to your buyer’s issues.
Case studies can show you have solved similar problems in the past, which builds credibility and trust with B2B buyers. Not to mention the fact that opinions from other people are more compelling then your words.
White papers should be used for B2B companies that are selling new, complex, or expensive products or services. New products are not easy to research. Therefore, your piece of white paper can be a resource for those conducting research. Or, they can demonstrate your expertise/ skills on a particular subject matter.
How often should you be publishing content? When? And Where? There is no silver bullet here; frequency, timing, and mediums are a function of your audience and your business. However, an understanding of those factors can help you develop your content calendar.
Content can be organized in a variety of ways. First, you can develop a medium-specific calendar. In other words, develop an individual calendar for each delivery vehicle; i.e blogging, case studies, or white papers. Based on your needs develop a weekly/ monthly/yearly content schedule for each delivery vehicle. This makes the production process run more smoothly! Another method is to plan around specific keywords/content topics or the audience you are targeting.
Finally, throughout your content planning process, consider that all content can be repurposed over a variety of mediums. For example, that glossy capabilities print brochure or catalog should be leveraged across all electronic mediums for maximum exposure! Place a thumbnail on your website homepage that links to a registration page for immediate download.
Content Marketing Implementation
Your content marketing efforts should definitely be focused on quality over quantity. Following are tips and best practices for three of the most popular types of content we mentioned above: blogging, case studies, and whitepapers.
- Keep blogs between 250-1000 words
- Provide unique, original, and useful content
- Each blog post should focus on one topic for clarity and ease of reading
- Optimize images for SEO in 3 ways; image file name, image title, and image alt tag (use keywords!)
- Use tags and categories to help users locate blog content
- Set up an RSS Feed. An RSS feed allows your readers/visitors to sign up to be emailed when you publish a new blog
- Every blog should have a call-to-action
- Brand your blog – custom design should extend your visual identity and reflect company goals and vision
- Add social sharing features
- Make sure to tell the story from start to finish
- Create a template – a common way to organize a case study is to sequence through the business challenges, solution, and results
- Don’t be generic, give real numbers! Instead of saying website traffic tripled, say website traffic increased from 10,000 to 30,000 visits
- Get to the point – keep case studies to about 500 words
- Identify a problem that your audience can relate to
- Make it easy to read; headers, bulleted lists, etc. and use your audience’s language (don’t get too technical!)
- Use compelling headlines
- Keep your white paper to 6-10 pages. If your white paper is based on a highly technical subject, keep it under 20
- Avoid jargon/buzzwords, instead write clear and concise
- Use sidebars and call-outs through out the white paper to keep interest
- Write in the third person
- Do not write overly-promotional
- Typical white paper format: opening summary, introduction, body, closing summary, company profile, contact information
- When appropriate, provide examples that reinforce an explanation
- Provide sources
Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. Every piece of content needs to be distributed across a variety of channels to ensure it reaches your target audience.
Content Marketing Measurement
Measuring your content marketing efforts is critical to determine if you are meeting objectives. There are so many ways to monitor your content marketing program. Use the following to get started:
Google Analytics – which web pages are people visiting on a regular basis?
Google Alerts – are you setting up alerts on your top keywords to see if your content shows up high in search results? If you don’t see your content, what are you seeing from others/your competition?
YouTube Insights – who is viewing your videos and how often? What parts are they watching? Does a low search volume mean the content in the video is not interesting?
Inbound Links – how many people/websites are linking to your content?
Facebook Insights – how many new likes do you get each month? Are your posts shared? How many people are talking about you and what is the reach for each post?
Blog Subscriptions – how many people have registered to receive updates from your blog?
LinkedIn – how many connections do you have on LinkedIn? How many people are following your company/are group members? How often do group members comment on your posts or generate posts themselves?
Downloads – how many people have downloaded a piece of content?
Blog Comments – how often do people make comments on blog posts? Is there a dialogue occurring?
Sales – has your content impacted sales?
Content marketing is a requirement in the modern marketing world. For B2B companies, blogs, case studies, are effective tactics. They all can help answer the question, “can you fix my problem?” Use blogging to demonstrate you understand their issues, case studies to show you have solved similar problems in the past, and white papers to show your expertise/skills on a particular subject matter relevant to your buyers. Throughout your content creation, ensure you are following best practices and always measure the results of content marketing initiatives through your predetermined success metrics. The use of content marketing will only increase over the next year, so don’t miss out!
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