When it comes down to it, there isn’t a more important aspect of a B2B marketing strategy than content marketing.
That’s because it is through creating and distributing high quality, valuable, and actionable content that B2B marketers are able to provide real value to prospects. Who, in turn, will look at your company as an established thought-leader in the space.
Why is Content Marketing so Important?
According to Gary Vaynerchuk, every one of us – startups or individuals – must consider ourselves a media company.
Even if you are a SaaS company, as a marketer, you must position yourself as a media company.
For B2B, in particular, the sales cycles tend to be quite long; rarely will a visitor convert into a paying customer the first time they interact with your company.
Creating tons of amazing content is the bait you use for the long reeling-in process that is required to turn a fish into dinner.
It’s really about establishing trust and respect within your space. You want to the be the first place someone in your target market will turn for information about whatever it is that you are selling.
Good Content = Thought Leadership
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of schlock content out there.
From “gurus” regurgitating ideas that have been covered a million times, to content that is purely meant to push you towards buying a product or service, it’s quite easy to see what not to do with your content.
So what makes content “good”?
It’s kind of like the definition of pornography – “I’ll know it when I see it.”
To be a bit more concrete, your content should have the following attributes:
Being a thought leader means you have to lead, not follow. It means that the content you create and distribute must not only be unique in its actual content but its focus and angle as well.
With so much content out there today, people are looking for something new that they can learn from.
But most importantly – never, ever, ever rip off someone else’s content and present it as your own. It’s not only immoral, but it will have severe repercussions.
From SEO to potential legal issues, always stay away from plagiarism.
Even lesser forms of copying that don’t fall under “plagiarism” should be avoided at all costs. If you are putting out content that says the same thing as ten other blogs then why would they come back and read any more of your content?
Moreover, you should always try to present a unique point of view with your content. Even better, provide a tactic or strategy that no one else has presented before.
Creating value for readers should always be your goal, not getting them to buy something.
That will come, as long as you are providing valuable content and information.
As mentioned earlier, there is so much garbage content out there. So many people repeating the same things or just trying to sell you a “course” that will fix all your financial problems.
When deciding on a piece of content, your first question should be “what will the reader get out of this,” not “what can I get from someone that will read this.”
Part of providing value with your content is giving your audience something can use to do their job better.
Always keep in mind that you want someone reading your content to feel that they are a better X (whatever their position) after reading your content.
If you are able to accomplish this, you will establish a loyal base of readers who, though possibly not right away, are likely to eventually become customers at some point in the future.
4. High Quality
This might be obvious, but you should be able to write reasonably well if you are going to be in charge of content.
That’s not to say you need to be Charles Dickens.
In fact, overly complex and wordy content is probably a negative rather than a positive.
However, you should be able to write in a way that readers will appreciate and be able to follow.
In addition, you will need to be a native speaker of whatever language you are writing in. Even if it’s not your first language, you have to be completely fluent.
If you aren’t, then you might want to consider outsourcing your content creation to a third party.
5. Long Form
A decade ago, you could have gotten away with writing quick 300 word posts. However, in today’s crowded internet, that just won’t fly.
Study after study has shown that, in order to rank your content on Google, you have to publish much meatier content.
According to an amazing study conducted by Backlinko, the average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.
That’s not to say that you should write longer content just for its own sake, it needs to go deep into a subject and provide a unique insight that is topically relevant.
6. High Volume
In order to dominate content marketing, you need to be constantly be generating great content.
Not once a month, not even once a week.
Obviously, this is not an easy task. Especially if you want the content you are generating to be of high quality.
There are a few tactics you can employ that will enable you to generate high-quality content at scale.
- Topic Clusters: This tactic was championed by the folks over at Hubspot. Their idea was to create one large piece of content around a specific topic each quarter – usually something like a white paper – and then chop of various pieces of it as blog posts. Essentially, they did all the content work upfront and leveraged that work for continuous content throughout the quarter.
- Repurpose: If you don’t have the resources that Hubpost does (and most people don’t), you can always be more generalized about your content repurposing. If you do a webinar, record and transcribe it. Take that transcription and create multiple blog posts with it. You can also do the same with podcasts
- Content Bundling: The inverse of topic clustering would be to go back through all your blog content over some chosen period of time and try to find a thread of relevancy throughout all of them. You can then take each post and make it a chapter in some sort of eBook or white paper. In this way, you can create great long-form gated content on a regular basis in half the time!
These are only a handful of tactics that can be used to help you create a content marketing machine. Every marketer has his or her own strategies that have been successful in the past.
Feel free to share yours below!