Whether you date the origin of content marketing back to the prehistoric era of cave wall painting or to Benjamin Franklin’s use of an almanack to promote his printing business, it’s clear that this marketing methodology is time-tested and here to stay.
In today's digital publishing era, content marketing is stronger than ever with market research awarding it the position of the preferred b2b marketing methodology.
Do you feel left behind with an intimidating distance between you and your competitors? It’s not too late to get on board to reap the benefits of content marketing. Consider the following benefits for your business and get started with our seven quick tips.
7 Benefits of Content Marketing for a B2b Business
#1 Your Most Loyal, Efficient and Accurate Marketer
Keeping your promotional material up to date, customer correspondence answered, and your next product launch on schedule can tap the resources of even the most energetic marketer. Once your targeted content is published on the right channels, it keeps working round the clock, getting your approved marketing message in front of your ideal audience. No sick days, no holidays.
#2 Thought Leadership
Internal promoters are one of your business most valuable marketing assets. I’m talking about your business’s founder, the owner-manager, and that sales rep who is passionate enough about the business to do prospecting at social events. Content marketing lets you capitalise on their passion and expertise. Even if the person doesn’t have the time or desire to write, it’s easy enough to set up an interview with one of your marketing team members to capture their expert opinion.
#3 Best Foot Forward
Not all of us have the personality to respond to client queries with our best, most comprehensive answer on the spot. Content marketing allows you the opportunity to think matters through, research the issue, and discuss the topic with your trusted colleagues before responding. It also gives you a chance to polish your marketing communications until the finished product gets you a standing ovation.
#4 Trust and Credibility
The term ‘fake news’ has become an all too familiar concept. From political propaganda to poor attempts at native advertising, the Internet is flooded with dubious reporting and users are more suspicious of what they read than ever before. Content marketing let you prove your credibility and trustworthiness to buyers by engaging in a content-based relationship that illustrates your expertise.
#5 Shorten the Purchase Decision Cycle
One of the greatest challenges of b2b marketing is the length of the buyer’s journey. Over the past five years, the average length of the sales cycle has increased by 22%. Yikes! Content marketing lets you fast track the decision-making phase by responding to questions and objections pre-emptively.
#6 B2B Buyers Prefer It
80% of business decision-makers prefer to get to know about your company through a series of articles over introduction by advertisement. (Roper Public Affairs, 2012) No comment required.
According to Forbes Magazine, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional outbound marketing while producing 3x the sales leads. What’s more, b2b companies that have a content marketing strategy produce more than twice the leads than companies that don’t.
7 Quick Tips To Get Your Content Marketing Started
With these benefits in mind, it would be understandable if you felt tempted to get started right away. Not so fast! Creating content is a waste of time until you’ve got the foundational stones in place. Here’s a list of elements to put in place before putting your content marketing plan in motion:
What you Should Have in Place to get Started With Content Marketing
#1 A Content Marketing MindsetDoes your team understand the difference between content marketing (that educates the user) and traditional marketing (that self-promotes)? Get your team up to speed by scheduling in time for HubSpot’s free content marketing certification course.
#2 A Definition of Success, a Documented Strategy and a Monitoring plan
According to the Content Marketing Institute, the most effective marketers are more likely than less-effective marketers to document their content marketing strategy, have a documented editorial mission statement, and hold regular follow-up meetings. To be specific, 61% of the most-effective b2b marketers meet daily or weekly with their content marketing team and those who meet daily or weekly find the meetings to be more valuable (70%) than those who meet biweekly or monthly (49%).
#3 Buyer Personas
Unless you know and understand your ideal buyers, the benefits of content marketing become moot. Not too sure what I’m talking about? Take a look at Struto’s guide to buyer personas.
#4 Content Research
Once you’ve created your buyer personas, it’s time to find out about to match content topics to your buyers’ interests. You can start by asking for help from those closest to home:
- Talk to your Sales team. Which questions are most frequently asked and information requested?
- Survey or interview existing customers to ask them about topics of interest and most frequented websites, blogs, and publications.
#5 Professional Platforms
While you can start out small, it’s essential that your chosen publishing platform and promotional channels look professional. Take note, b2b buyers judge your business’s credibility by the design and usability as well as the content of your digital channels.
#6 A Comprehensive Promotional Plan
Getting your content in front of your buyers is essential to your content marketing success, and most of the time your owned media channels are not enough. While publishing your content on social media is a good place to start, optimal content promotion relies on a convergence of paid, owned and earned media channels.
#7 A Game Plan
Now that your initial research and planning is done, it’s time to think about execution. Keep track of who is responsible for writing which piece of content for what buyer persona on what date with an editorial calendar. Keep track of existing and new content and where it fits in with your content marketing strategy in by documenting it on a content map. Don’t worry; we don’t expect you to start from scratch. Simply download our easy all-in-one Microsoft Excel content marketing template pack, and you’ll be set.
Get Started with B2B Content Marketing
Because B2B content marketing is cost effective, efficient, and easy to manage, it can drastically reduce the amount you put toward traditional marketing tactics. Starting out, however, can be intimidating. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed! Starting small, with the essentials in place, gives you a sound basis from where you can scale up your content marketing when you’re ready.