James Caan taught me how to do content marketing. Not in a literal sense, of course. But I learnt a valuable lesson about slinging words from his book, ‘The Real Deal: from Brick Lane to Dragons’ Den’.
There’s a section in it where James talks about his first rented ‘office’. It was a former broom cupboard in a building in Pall Mall because that was the only way he could afford a prestigious address to put on his business cards. Effective content marketing, like business, is often about perception.
Getting more eyeballs on your content – and having that content translate into leads and operate in support of sales enablement – is more than just showing up. You need several signals out there working together to tell your target audience that what you’ve got is worth listening to.
So, what does this look like in practice? Here are five considerations for getting more eyeballs on your B2B content:
#1 Avoid a bait and switch
Obvious? Sure. But an overwhelming amount of content is clickbait. If you promise customers and prospects a step-by-step guide on how to fix something their business is struggling with, you need to deliver on it. Don’t put out another fluff-piece whitepaper – the world is full of those already. Tell an engaging story instead (using these tools to improve your writing) and weave a tangible lesson or actionable advice into it.
Now more than ever, thought leadership-driven tactics pay dividends. Play the long game and adopt a more considered content marketing approach for moving prospects from education to consideration and beyond. This will help build the trust you need to get their attention and create the perception of a B2B brand that truly understands the customer’s pain points and is able to help.
#2 Go above and beyond with the content you create
Point one segues neatly into point two: be better than the competition in the content you create. If you’re preparing an industry report, don’t merely talk about recent trends and reference the same data everyone else does before going into a product soft sell. Think about what else your carefully honed audience profile wants to hear.
A good approach is to start with a survey so that you can gain end-user views about how the status quo is changing. Then, pair those with executive insights from a series of interviews held with your customers. Bring in anonymised data pulled from your platform to fill in the gaps and – all of a sudden – you’ve got vendor-driven research that’s more complete and far more useful than 90% of what’s clogging up the internet.
#3 Get promotion right
Content marketing isn’t doing its job unless people are reading it. And while the 80/20 rule to promotion isn’t the be all and end all, it’s a good barometer for where to place your content marketing focus. Naturally, you’ll have email marketing and social promotion covered. For bigger content assets and campaigns, though, consider cross-promotion strategies. After all, you should be putting your efforts into being visible where your target audience is already showing up.
Let’s again consider an industry report. Assuming it’s sufficiently interesting and moves the conversation forward (which it should be, see point two) now’s the time to cross-promote and get PR involved. Run a closed-group media event (a virtual one in this climate) where attendees are offered an advanced look at your data and given exclusive insights that were held back from the main report for this purpose. Coverage is a valuable signal that what you’ve got to talk about is worth listening to.
Or, run a sponsored media campaign with key publications to go live the same day. Hit people from multiple angles to make your content harder to miss. Gate it as usual on your website and watch the downloads tick up. Then segment and process those prospects and guide them into your nurturing funnel.
#4 Factor in SEO
Keyword stuffing is, thankfully, a relic of the past. What does work though – and this ties back to point one – is to deliver on what you promised. Search intent is an important metric for Google.
If your content does a better job of answering a searcher’s question than the competition, and visitors to your site take action after they’ve read that content, you’ll generally perform better and achieve more organic traffic when this approach is paired with other SEO tactics. Returning to promotion, get this bit right and you’ll also drive backlinks to your content that will help to further signal that you’re worth listening to.
#5 Diversify your content mix
Original content creation takes time. However, a well-planned, chunky piece of content, once created, can deliver a ROI far beyond its original cost if repackaged correctly. Could the top data points you identified in your report become a short video or SlideShare presentation? A blog series? Or could they inform a webinar?
Stuck for ideas? Check out this guide for six other ways to repurpose your content.
In general, the best approach is to use short-form content to promote long-form content as part of your outbound campaign. If what you’ve created is truly valuable to your prospects, it can be sliced and diced in different ways to get their attention. Don’t forget to optimise any content you create for different channels. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
Bringing this all together, then, using content marketing to steer your brand’s perception means creating the right content that positions you as an expert and is seen by your target audience where you need to be visible. By considering the above, you’ll be a good position to create content that will secure a strong ROI when it’s promoted, and with a long tail that’ll pay dividends for months, and sometimes years, after.
Get in touch if you’d like a hand with your content marketing efforts: [email protected]