Content marketing, as defined by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), is "a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and - and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."
If a B2B organization wants great content marketing, the key is having a strategy, according to the 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends-North America research done by CMI. When developing such a strategy, B2B organizations should consider the:
- Need for compelling, credible content;
- Implications of a longer sales cycle; and
- Appropriate allocation of resources.
So, how can a B2B organization use strategically driven content marketing to elevate their bottom line?
- Follow the lead of B2C.
Historically, B2C organizations do content marketing very well. B2B can learn a great deal from the successful approaches of its consumer-focused counterparts. Despite some differences in practice and audience characteristics, content marketing can look very similar when you are selling to another business versus a customer.
Southwest Airlines is a perfect example of a B2C content leader. From its in-flight magazine to the Nuts About Southwest blog, which includes content from diverse voices in different parts of the company, Southwest does an incredible job of telling stories, showcasing its employees and authentically engaging with customers. It's a relatable, human brand. And people love it.
- Be an expert.
Content marketing allows your business to become a thought leader in your industry and gain the confidence of your potential buyers. People buy from businesses that have the answers and can help solve their problems.
Your content should show off what you know by providing information that is genuinely useful to your audience. This could take the form of blog posts, white papers, bylined articles, newsletters, infographics, videos and more. Whatever types of content you choose, always provide thoughtful, relevant content that boosts your credibility and gains your audience's trust.
- Use the right resources.
In order to develop and execute a content marketing strategy, you need to have the appropriate resources in place to make it successful. And that doesn't mean just money. Staffing must be taken into consideration when moving toward content marketing. Ensuring that you have team members with the appropriate skills, training and bandwidth is critical.
Developing content takes time. Lots of time. Even if you're leaning toward outsourcing the content creation to a firm or agency, you will still need to devote some internal resources to the process. Creating a culture of content where everyone in your company is invested in producing great content will lessen the burden for any one person, or group of people.
How does your business utilize content marketing? Which organizations do you emulate? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below. And remember, once you have great content, it can be repurposed for years to come.