The marketing environment is constantly changing and evolving with the concepts of inbound marketing, and it’s key component content marketing.
Are you a B2B marketing leader struggling to get executive buy-in for inbound and content marketing initiatives?
Have you started doing inbound and content marketing, but the results are less than expected?
Do you need a better way to measure content marketing results?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then this post is for you.
Inbound marketing using content marketing is the cost of doing business in the modern era. Organizations that are learning, adapting, and executing content marketing are achieving meaningful results and creating a distinct competitive advantage.
I’ll start by defining content marketing. After the definition I’ll provide you the purpose, importance for a B2B organization, goals, metrics, tools, and how to get started.
Defining content marketing is an important first step. Using content marketing is a fundamental tactic within your marketing strategy. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) defines content marketing as:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content marketing is about providing content that is psychologically and socially significant to the targeted audience. Also, content marketing provides content that is valuable and gives the customer a reason to seek your content. Content marketing involves the art and science of communicating without selling.
The fundamental belief of no selling is critical to the success of content marketing. Content marketing is the content, just like a TV show and when an organization tries to sell it becomes interruption marketing.
Interruption marketing is something forced on a consumer, such as a commercial, a spam email, or direct mail. Consumers view interruption marketing as pushy, and customers fast forward through commercials, throw away direct mail, and delete emails.
Organizations that use a hard sell approach typically associated with interruption marketing activate consumer behaviors to avoid these items. Instead, content marketing seeks to be the content that consumers willingly seek and filter everything else out while consuming your content.
Content marketing is focused on solving problems and providing content that resonates with customers or potential customers driving engagement with the brand. Content marketing is a tactical component of a marketing strategy that involves a continuous process of delivering content through multiple channels and media.
Content marketing’s purpose is designed to engage and retain customers through the use of content that customers find truly valuable delivered on a consistent basis.
The content marketing approach purpose provides an organization with a method to earn customers loyalty and business providing a deep value proposition.
I like this quote from leading marketing authority and best-selling author Andrew Davis expressing the purpose of content marketing:
The purpose of content marketing regarding the relationship with the customer/prospect and the organization:
B2B Organizations want to build relationships and at the same time create the trust to stimulate loyalty without selling. The three most important items customers expect from content include:
If your organization does not provide content addressing these needs, customers will seek out your competitors. A critical function of content marketing is ensuring that your brand is in the consumer’s consideration set and assists them to engage in a meaningful manner.
So, you might ask when do the sales come?
Content is a means to an end with the customer/prospect rewarding your organization with their business and loyalty.
Content marketing has a substantial adoption rate in the B2B marketplace with significant potential to provide bottom line business results. A critical requirement to stay competitive in the current business environment is content marketing.
Content and a content marketing approach are essential elements that support trust and loyalty in the relationship between consumers and brands. A subset of an organization’s marketing strategy should include content marketing.
To optimize the effectiveness of content marketing, it should align with your mission, vision, values, business strategy, and marketing strategy.
If you’re not convinced quite yet, here are some important statistics to consider.
The information listed below should help to give you insight into the relevance, critical nature, and effectiveness of content marketing in the marketplace.
Here is a list of some B2B organizations that are successful with using a content marketing approach:
These companies have been able to use an integrated social media strategy effectively, resulting in the achievement of organizational objectives.
Here is a link to a post with 15 B2B case studies involving some of the companies mentioned:
A content marketing approach provides a direct method to communicate an organization’s marketing message (value proposition) to its prospects/customers.
The most common goals for organizations employing content marketing include:
Organizations that utilize a strategic content marketing approach are more effective at reaching the goals listed.
Listed below is a graphic of how content marketing supports business objectives:
According to Jay Baer, the four key content marketing metrics to measure success include:
The following common consumption metrics measure brand awareness and website traffic goals:
Your content overarching marketing goals that include brand awareness and engagement are heavily influenced by sharing metrics. Sharing metrics measure how your content is shared, the degree of resonance, and how often your content shared by your audience. Some of the most commonly used sharing metrics include:
How your organization manages a lead and nurtures a prospect or customer are fundamental concepts of lead generation. The lead generation metrics provide valuable insight guiding overall digital marketing strategy. Lead generation helps an organization answer how often does consumption of content result in a lead? Key lead generation metrics include:
The ultimate goal of content marketing is sales and growth, and sales metrics provide information on performance in this area. Sales metrics reveal how content marketing supports the goals of customer acquisition and sales goals. Key sales metrics include:
A content marketing strategy is most effective in the B2B category using various content tools and delivery media. In any quality strategy defining the target audience, is critical and designing content to reach them is the best approach.
Deciding on the appropriate content that interests the target, establishes credibility, and highlights company strengths and abilities is crucial.
Content choices include:
Selecting the most effective delivery media is critical. In the B2B category, the three most used social media include LinkedIn, Twitter, Slideshare, Facebook, and YouTube. The social media platform choice depends on the choice of content published and the audience.
Pawan Deshpande at Content Marketing Forum has developed an extensive list of content tools that are categorized in the most intuitive manner.
The critical first step is involving a brand champion at the executive level to be a content marketing champion.
Insight and tools within this post can help gain support and advocacy to obtain a content marketing champion at the highest organization level.
The next step would include educating personnel to help understand marketing and content marketing to:
After attaining C-Suite support and educating personnel listed below are the high-level steps to strategize, execute, and continuously improve.
My hope is that you are now far less intimidated and have the tools and insight to help gain support from the c-suite and buy-in from every area of your organization. Now go ahead and get started including content marketing in your upcoming marketing planning.