It is common knowledge for communication and marketing professionals that content marketing is an essential technique adopted by many B2B companies. This guide aims to give you the keys to understanding how to define an effective content marketing strategy for your business.
What is Content Marketing?
According to Hubspot “Content marketing is a marketing strategy that relies on the creation and distribution of valuable, useful and informative content to communicate with your audience and develop your visibility."
This technique aims to bring as many visitors as possible to a website or landing page (for example a contact form). Since the approach is editorial and not promotional, the visitor or prospect will feel more comfortable "consuming" this content free of charge, even if it means leaving their contact information.
It doesn't matter what kind of content you provide (white papers, magazines, videos, etc.) as long as you address your target audience with a relevant answer they will remember.
One thing is for sure, the better the content, the better the company image. Prospects travel a long way before arriving on a website. They compare different content, look for the information that best meets their needs and read articles, guides or other easy-to-consume media. Offering them a variety of content that answers specific questions is a good start to an effective content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing: What’s at Stake for B2B?
As you’ve probably guessed, content is the key to a good content marketing strategy. But the objectives of B2B are not necessarily the same as for B2C, and the purchasing cycles are sometimes much longer. It is important to be strategic and adapt this technique as much as possible.
One of the main differences is the nature of the content itself. For B2B, it is necessary to favor editorial content in connection with your field of activity and try to meet your prospects’ demand for information while highlighting your company’s skills.
The starting point is to provide a clear and detailed answer to this question: What content for what audience in what format via which channel?
- What content: Whether it’s for B2B or B2C, it's best to tailor your content marketing strategy to your target audience. A prospect at the beginning of their research cycle will be more comfortable with short content such as infographics or videos, while another at the end of their research cycle will want more in-depth content (white papers, case studies, webinars, industry reports, etc.) in order to be sure to make the right decision (whether it’s a partnership, purchase or investment).
- For what audience: getting to know your target audiences is a great starting point for working on your content marketing strategy. It is recommended to use techniques such as surveys and audience analysis tools such as Google Analytics as well as buyer personas to define typical profiles.
- In what format: The same content can be presented in different forms (white paper reduced to a blog post, video reduced to an infographic etc.). The idea is to be able to push the right format via the right channel.
- Via which channel to promote it: what is true for B2C is also true for B2B. Email marketing, social networks and blogging are perfect entry points to content, regardless of its format. You should favor short, animated content on social networks and longer content for official websites and blogs.
Content Marketing: how to calculate the ROI of your actions?
According to Demand Metric, Content Marketing costs 62% less than traditional advertising and generates almost 3 times more leads.
Whether it's for content marketing or any other digital marketing action, it is important to keep in mind that the return on investment is long-term. You will also need to know how to define your key performance indicators, the sum of expected results: for example, a number of visits to a website or a landing page; traffic or conversion; engagement via your publications on social networks; etc.
The goal of content marketing is to attract and retain your audience. So, the more quality content you produce, the more you will be identified as a specialist in your field, and the more search engines will put you forward by ranking your content at the top of their results. Content marketing is an additional opportunity to help you achieve your business goals!