Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Content Marketing is King

Content marketing is coming of age: 82% of marketers say that it is a top tactic, according to the recent B2B Marketing 2012 Trends Report by Curata.
It makes perfect sense.  For complex sales, B2B marketers are constantly challenged to find ways to keep in front of key contacts.  Not only do we as marketers need to stay part of the company’s consideration set when it comes time to buy our product, we need to frame our solution as one that will help solve their problems in advance.  In some cases, we even need to propose problems they weren’t aware they needed solutions to.

Said simply, marketers’ job is to “date” to give Sales the comfort level they need to “pop the question.”  And that’s the key for content marketing: BtoB magazine’s report, B2B Content Marketing: Ready for Prime Time, cites the top two reasons marketers use content marketing is that it “improves engagement with audiences” and “makes brand a trusted source.”

While it can be challenging to keep up with content once you discover how valuable content marketing can be, it’s easy to start.  Just write a short article that helps your target market in some way.   But don’t try to sell your product – that comes later.

Articles are the most used content marketing vehicle, and 79% of marketers use articles for content marketing, according to B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends by the Content Marketing Institute.  Articles are a good way to get your feet wet with content marketing without having to start a blog, put together a longer-format white paper or host a live webinar.  And if your article is truly relevant to your target audience, your article could “go viral” or get it published by a trade magazine or association.  

Challenged for topics?  Dig deep and think about what your clients’ needs – either to complete their day-to-day tasks or how their company as a whole can benefit.  Or, get someone in your company to help.  Your product is designed to solve a company’s problem – no doubt there’s a subject matter expert nearby that understands the market and can give valuable insight and help you to get started.  Bottom line is, make sure you give your audience something – advice, information, resources – that they want and can use.
Now get out there and create some content.  Content marketing is the hottest B2B tactic out there today.  

Ian Eccleston is a marketing director at a major financial services company.  Ian has 14 years of experience marketing for the B2B complex sale, and is a student at Northwestern's Integrated Marketing Communications masters program.


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