Will producing content really make a difference in my business?
Content marketing is defined 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.”
Buyer’s today are well aware that content information is readily available that can help them make better decisions. Google is moving to optimize this with its launch of micro-moments to harness and improve consumer intent on the web.
So how can you as a marketer use your content efforts to harness this knowledge?
- By sharing educational and engaging content in those areas where your customer follows.
Brands will continue to act as publications to win the race among competitors to inform their customers and become trusted sources.
The Guardian stated, “By 2017, video will account for 69 percent of all consumer Internet traffic, according to Cisco.” And this should come as no surprise; we’ve seen a number of companies killing it with video campaigns recently. But what else can we expect?
- We’re also going to see is less highly produced video. You’re going to see more user-generated content.
- What you do need are competent people who can take that content and compile it in a meaningful way to tell that story with impact.”
While you budget and plan your content marketing strategy for next year, consider whether video should complement those strategies.
Visuals are King in a noisy social media world.
Content is King as they say…However, distribution is right up there.
Quality content is subjective to the reader, yet a certain level of quality should be consistent. Finding earned ways as well as free ways to distribute and amplify your content will be a vital way to differentiate your brand.
Publishers and Social Media Will Intersect
In April Twitter released a new feature allowing users to comment on their retweets, enabling them to offer lengthier commentary, beyond the 140 characters.
This will dramatically affect content marketing by opening the floodgates to marketers using Twitter as a publishing platform.
SEO & LOCAL
Marketing budgets will center on creating valuable content
Quality content has a positive impact on search results. Google is rewarding content creators who understand the importance of valuable content. Long-tail searches have the potential to result in more high-quality traffic, leads and sales for companies down the road.
Gone are the days when companies paid for links. Now, your budget needs to shift toward creating meaningful content for the reader and away from stale link-building strategies.
The Shift From “Me” Marketing to “You” Marketing
The original idea behind marketing was to promote and advertise your business, products, and services to potential customers, regardless of their stage in the buyer’s journey.
With technology advancing and information so ready available, customers are looking for more information than just what your business does. They’re looking for value, and they intentionally consume content to find it — not advertisements alone. Hence the rise of ad-blocking features is intensifying this trend.
With so much information customers don’t want content they’re not interested in constantly showing up.
- Start rethinking your content strategy to build a following organically by sharing your expert knowledge with your audience and positioning yourself as an industry leader.
CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
According to Content Marketing Institute last year:
- 35% of B2B marketers had a documented content strategy
- 48% had a verbal-only strategy
- and 14% had no strategy.
A documented content marketing strategy impacts effectiveness:
- 53% of the most effective marketers have a documented content marketing strategy
- 40% of the least effective marketers have no strategy at all.
B2B marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy get better results from their content marketing tactics, social media platforms, and paid methods of content distribution (i.e., they rate them as more effective when compared with their peers who don’t have a documented strategy).
EXPECTED CHANGE IN B2B CONTENT CREATION (2015 vs. 2016)
While 73% of the most effective B2B marketers plan to produce more content, the least effective. Unsure plan to produce even more (81%).
B2B CONTENT MARKETING TACTIC USAGE
These results are similar to last year’s findings. Illustrations/photos was the tactic with the biggest jump in usage (from 69% last year to 76% this year).
Note: Fewer than 50% of B2B marketers said they use the following tactics:
- Research Reports (49%), Microsites
- Separate Website Hubs (47%)
- Branded Content Tools (42%)
- eBooks (39%)
- Print Magazines (36%)
- Books (30%)
- Digital Magazines (29%)
- Mobile Apps (28%)
- Virtual Conferences (25%)
- Podcasts (23%)
- Print Newsletters (22%)
- and Games/Gamification (12%).
Lead generation and sales, in that order, are the two most important content marketing goals of most B2B marketers, no matter what their effectiveness level is or whether they have a documented strategy and editorial mission statement.
- Organizations that are in the first steps of their content marketing program place greater emphasis on sales (85%) than lead gen (78%)
- Enterprise marketers (1,000+ employees) say engagement is their most important goal (82%)
- Followed by sales (81%), and lead gen (79%)
Top Challenges for B2B Content Marketers
What are your organization’s top five content marketing challenges this year?
B2B marketers top 5 challenges from a list that also included the following:
- Gaps in knowledge and skills of internal team (25%)
- Understanding/choosing technology that we need (24%)
- Lack of integration across marketing (23%)
- Finding or training skilled content marketing professionals/content creators (21%)
- Lack of buy-in/vision from higher-ups (19%)
Implementing the technology that we already have in place (18%), Other (6%), No challenges (1%)
The most effective B2B marketers are more challenged with measuring content effectiveness (53%) than they are with producing engaging content (49%). The same is true for those who are sophisticated/mature in content marketing (54% vs. 51%).
B2B CONTENT MARKETING SPENDING (Over Next 12 Months)
- 51% say they will increase
More than half of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget. Even 57% of those who are least effective at content marketing plan to increase their budget.
No. 1 Mistake: You Give Up
As Joe Pulizzi once said, “Content marketing doesn’t usually fail because of content quality. The main reason is because it’s inconsistent or it stops.”
Advice? “Never, ever quit.” In fact, he advises that being consistent is one of the best ways to reinvigorate a content marketing program that has grown stagnant or hasn’t quite found its stride:
Consistency won’t automatically make things exciting again, but it will keep things from dying altogether. Besides, stale is sometimes just a phase. Once you plod through the slow times, you’ll emerge on the other side with a more inspired content marketing effort.
JOIN US FOR OUR UPCOMING
- Facebook Ads – How to create, implement & boost sales – Sept. 10th AM
- Visual Content for Business – How to create & use visuals – Sept.10th PM
- Social Media Marketing for Realtors – Gain more listings & sales – Sept. 17th AM
- YouTube & Video – How to create, implement & boost sales – Oct. 29th PM
- Twitter for Business – The fastest way to spread your brand content – Oct. 29th AM
- Tools & Apps for Business – Gain more hrs. & be more productive – Nov. 5th AM
- Blogging – Generate leads & get new customers – Nov. 5th PM
Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.
Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.
Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.
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