Content marketing is quite the buzzword these days, and although it may seem like a trend that will pass in time, it has become an increasingly important component to overall marketing strategy. So what is content marketing, and why is it so important?
Content marketing is a technique that involves creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract and engage your target audience with the objective of acquiring new leads and customers. For example, writing blog posts, creating whitepapers, and producing eBooks are all examples of content marketing.
Content marketing isn’t new, but as mobile technology and social media continue to infiltrate our lives, the way that business users consume information has changed, too. For example, according to a recent survey from HubSpot, 43% of B2B businesses have acquired leads through distributing content on Facebook alone (and who would have thought Facebook to have such high stats in B2B?). The ‘Age of Information’ is pushing companies that could have previously relied on more traditional lead generation efforts to start content marketing programs…and it’s working!
For example, Kissmetrics, a B2B tech company, earned one million unique visitors to their website in less than a year by becoming thought leaders of their field and creating “how to” content that targeted their prospects and focused on solving their pains.
So what does an established tech company need to do when creating a content marketing program for the first time?
Below are 3 approaches and applications to start thinking through a content marketing program.
1. Demonstrate your credibility with your target customers and influencers
Content marketing is critical to building credibility with your target audience. This can be particularly useful if you’re looking to attract a new market segment, whether it be a new industry sector, a new job function, or to target a new use case or application. For example, Citibank was able to develop compelling content to a key audience segment by creating and leveraging LinkedIn’s Managed Groups service that resulted in 43,000 group members within the first 4 months. By creating content that helps your target audience do their jobs better in a way that relates to what your company offers, you are showing them that you understand their pain points, and you are invested in their success.
2. Build an arsenal of content to use for your lead generation efforts
While in the past you might have relied on more traditional marketing and sales methods to generate leads, such as sales calls, direct mail, and email campaigns, content marketing allows you to engage with your target audience through an array of valuable interactions. And if you do it right, you can take something you created once and promote it through a variety of different channels by repurposing it across different mediums. For example, if you write a blog post, you can add a bit more content and turn it into an eBook, which can then be promoted as a presentation on Slideshare and presented at an industry event. You can then use that presentation for a webinar, which can be promoted on YouTube.
This is just one example of how a piece of thought leadership content can easily be leveraged across a variety of areas for a variety of purposes.
3. Help your customers find you online
Content marketing is synonymous with inbound lead generation. All this means is that when you promote your content online, you’re letting your customers find you based on research they’re doing on their own to solve a problem. This is unlike outbound marketing, where you actively push messages out to specific, prospective customers in the hopes that they will respond.
A good content marketing program will make it easy for anyone who is interested in your area of expertise to find you, and it takes some of the time and energy out of finding and warming up your leads. As illustrated by the Hubspot chart below, even blogging alone (when done correctly) helps boost marketing ROI. When a content marketing program is done correctly and your website is optimized for search engines, you can create a rapid acceleration of your lead generation efforts.
For more information on developing a content marketing program, or for a complimentary assessment to help you prioritize and optimize content marketing efforts, contact us today.