There’s no denying it. Content Marketing is booming. With 89% of B2B marketers already creating content, and another 6% planning to follow suit in 2017, more companies than ever are generating promotional online material. Leading brands are investing in this approach for one simple reason; it works. Whether you’ve got a plan in place or not, this is the year to crack your content and keep up with your competition. Still not convinced? Read on to find out what a killer content strategy could do for you.
What is content marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) defines content marketing as:
“… 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.”
Instead of sending communications to clients, you create useful information aimed at solving their problems. They search for and find, this information. And, because your company has solved their challenge, a relationship based on trust is formed. When your prospective client next needs your product or service, your company is uppermost in their minds. It’s you they contact, not your competitors.
Why bother with a content marketing strategy?
Having a considered content strategy is key component in B2B marketing success. Yet only 37% of businesses have a written strategy in place. If you want to catapult yourself ahead of the competition but still need convincing that a content strategy is for you, read on. If your business faces any of these common marketing problems a content put fingers to keyboard and write your first content strategy or mature your existing plans. Read on to see which of these common marketing problems you’re facing and how a content strategy will solve them.
Problem 1 - you need to get business buy-in for your campaigns
Not everyone in your business is on board with content marketing and some people don’t understand what it is or how it can help.
Solution 1 – write a well thought out plan that you can share
A content marketing strategy will likely form part of an overall digital marketing plan. However, it’s still worth exploring your content strategy as a separate, linked scheme. Give yourself time and space to think about what you want to do and why and how you want to do it. Then share your proposal with colleagues to gain their support to bolster your chance of a successful delivery.
Already have a plan in place but want to take it to the next level? CMI research shows that almost three-quarters of businesses with a documented strategy are planning to integrate it into an ongoing business process. A written document will help you share your plans with other departments and gain their buy-in.
Problem 2 – your industry is really boring
What you do is so dull, there’s nothing interesting to tell people which means a content marketing strategy is out of the question.
Solution 2 – universally useful content
If your clients didn’t have a problem for your company to solve, you simply wouldn’t exist. And, because content marketing is all about providing information that solves problems for your clients, anyone can create useful content. By planning your material carefully, you’ll improve your knowledge of your client, understand their pains and come up with content that meets their needs. If accountants can do it (sorry accountants), so can you.
Problem 3 - you need to deliver multiple goals this year
How lovely life would be if you only had one objective to deliver in 2017. Of course, reality is very different and your business wants more leads, greater brand visibility, improved brand recognition plus increased engagement. How are you going to deliver all that?
Solution 3 – killer content delivers it all
In case you hadn’t guessed, a content strategy will facilitate great content that connects with clients wherever they are in their purchasing journey. Whether they have a problem that needs to be solved or they’re seeking a new provider, you’ll make prospects aware of your business, how you can help and deliver more, better-educated clients to your sales team.
A content marketing strategy also supports content distribution via multiple channels. From social media to blog posts, webinars, podcasts, infographics and tutorials, you’ll reach your target audience in a way that works for them. A good strategy also ensures all the topics in your niche are covered. And the content you create will resonate with the audience.
Your strategy will allow unique elements of your brand to shine through providing a golden opportunity to build brand awareness, engagement and visibility all at once. By considering what you want to say and how you want to say it, you can take a strategic approach to brand voice. Like reinforced concrete, pouring content onto the steel core of your strategy strengthens your brand. Of course, without the metal core, your concrete won’t be reinforced and won’t be as effective.
If you already have a plan in place but it’s not delivering what you need, 2017 is the year to review, update and tweak until you’re back on target.
Problem 4 – you only have a small team and you need to use your resources effectively
There’s no getting away from it - creating content takes time and resource. According to the CMI, 47% of those creating and publishing content have challenges with content creation. And 57% say they are not devoting enough time to it.
Solution 4 – plan and track realistic content goals
Implementing a content strategy backed up with an editorial calendar allows you to set out your workload in a structured way. Having everything in one place gives you an overview of what you have committed to deliver, when and where they should be published and distributed. Planning your content in this way will help you set realistic goals with the resources you have. Whether that’s writing two blog posts once a month or a whole lot more. You can also track your content creation against your plans to ensure you stay on track and adjust as required.
Problem 5 – budgets are tight and you need to do more with less
Not only do you have a lot of goals to meet this year, but you need to demonstrate a great return on investment (ROI).
Solution 5 – implement a content strategy for high returns with low risk
Content marketing is known for its high ROI. Research from DemandMetric shows it costs 62% less that traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads. Plus, it also nurtures your customers whereas traditional marketing doesn’t.
Your ROI will appear in the form of compound returns from the fixed assets that you create and maintain. Think of your web presence as a shop front – the more stock (content) you add the better your shop and the more likely that your customers will find what they need. Now you have your stock in place, it’s easy to set up new shop fronts on social media platforms to attract more customers from different high streets.
Generally, the more you invest, the greater your returns will be. Quarter on quarter, you’ll be able to compare your yields to your planned goals and see success build.
Problem 6 – you need to secure more business
The Sales Director and CEO need more sales and they want you to help deliver it.
Solution 6 – deliver enough of the right content, at the right time, in the right way to attract prospective clients
According to HubSpot, companies that publish sixteen or more blog posts each month got almost three and a half times more traffic than those that publish less than once a week. Although volume is important, your content marketing strategy also needs to understand and target your client’s pain points. Useful content that solves problems will establish your website, social media pages, company and brand as a trusted resource. With a consistent voice, messaging and personality, you’ll develop an authentic relationship so you’re top of the list when your client is ready to make a call.
A content strategy can also help you promote your content to your social networks and in front of industry peers and figures. If they share your content, you’re seen by their audience as well as your own. Link to the right people and your content has a greater chance of being shared with relevant prospects generating more leads for the business. What’s more, social media opens a channel of communication with existing and potential clients through social shares and comments making communication a two-way process allowing for extra insights, opportunities and collaboration.
Your quality content will also mean your clients move through the purchase decision more quickly and reach your sales team better educated. This cuts the sales cycle time and means more leads are converted. Your content will also:
- help your sales teams get involved with more client conversations
- reduce the need to involve experts in sales calls to deliver complex information
- enable sales teams to answer more queries themselves
- remove the need for a single large demonstration by providing clients with shareable short product or service proofs at the right point in the buying process
All this can only happen if your content answers the right client questions and is connected with other internal departments. Having a strategy in place to determine those questions and making the right content available in the right place at the right time is critical.
Problem 7 – your website seems to be invisible
Your company’s website isn’t attracting the number of hits it used to. If it was a high-street shop, it would be invisible.
Solution 7 – a content strategy will lead people to your website and help you hit the SEO jackpot
Implementing or refining a content strategy will give you the structures and processes to write well-researched content. You’ll know what your customers are looking for and you’ll be using the right keywords to help them find your quality content. And, because your material most closely matches their query and lends insight to their problem, Google’s algorithms will like it, pushing you up the search rankings.
Plus, each new post you add to your website is another page for Google to index. While more indexed pages don’t always equal more search traffic, they do give you a greater chance to rank for more search queries. One focus of your content strategy should be to develop content that earns inbound links from external sources. This will increase your website's domain authority and further improve your search rankings.
Problem 8 – everyone else is content marketing
Marketing expenditure is set to pass the $1 trillion mark this year and 39% of companies are planning to increase their content marketing spend from 29% of the overall marketing budget. Even now, your closest rivals are delivering their content strategy, creating a buzz and capitalising on opportunities.
Solution 8 – create or update your content marketing strategy with this helpful guide
Download this HubSpot eBook, ‘Writing A Killer Content Strategy’ and get ahead of your competition.