Simon Harrison – 6 min read
The term Content Marketing has been around for a few years now, but for many industrial B2B companies it remains a bit of an enigma. So what exactly is content marketing and how important is it to your business?
As a simple definition Content Marketing is producing and promoting written or verbal online material (articles, blogs, tips, social media posts etc) that appeals to your audience, to engage and stimulate them, without overtly advertising your products or services.
There are 3 golden rules to producing great content:
Make it useful to your audience so they learn something
Make it engaging so they are attracted to it, and encouraged to read/listen to the end
Make it high quality so it performs well across various platforms
Let’s explore these 3 in a bit more detail…
If you are a B2B company, and particularly if you operate within industrial sectors on an engineering or manufacturing level, your audience is a tough sell. The chances are they are at a senior management level with plenty of industry experience, and so making your content useful to them needs some thought. The good news however is that they likely have similar industry interests as yourself, so if you find something useful there’s a good chance they will too.
Don’t be afraid to state the obvious sometimes (it might not be obvious to all your audience) and try and vary your content so you’re not talking about the same topic over and over again. Tools such as BuzzSumo and LinkedIn Content suggestions are a great way to identify what people are talking about in your industry, to which you can then prepare content that perhaps gives an alternative perspective or even a counter-argument. Your ultimate goal is to become the leading resource for professionals in your industry; the go-to expert.
Content needs to be engaging. Use of visual stimuli such as pictures, infographics, video etc can all help to impart the message more clearly. Always post on social media with an image or video. Break up your copy with headings, bullet points, numbered lists – anything that helps to keep the reader engaged to the end. And everyone loves some top tips that they can take away with them.
High quality content will perform better across different platforms and will rank higher within Google’s algorithms on your website. You can’t always come up with completely original copy, so if you are using an existing concept or methodology as a basis, always do your research and add your own thoughts, opinions and examples. If, for example, you produce widgets, put yourself into the shoes of your customers and produce content that addresses as close as possible the exact questions and concerns you would have.
Why is Content Marketing important?
Content Marketing generates new business leads and improves conversions. Statistics indicate B2B companies with blogs generate over 60% more leads than those without. So good content marketing is extremely effective. In addition, your content can move a potential customer along your sales funnel, so they are more likely to reach a buying decision having been encouraged and persuaded by the information you have given them.
Content Marketing will improve your website ranking and help potential customers find you on Search Engines. When you post relevant material, this makes your site more reputable as you have an increased number of indexed pages and links. The more reputable site you have the higher you will rank on the organic listings when someone searches using keywords relevant to that topic.
Content Marketing improves your customer retention. Existing customers will be encouraged when they see good quality, informative content being posted by you. In particular, your content marketing activities need to include a personalised aspect where appropriate and updating your current customers with great content aimed directly at them can only be beneficial for your long-term customer retention.
Content marketing establishes trust with your audience. Done correctly, it provides evidence of your competence without overtly promoting your products and services, so your audience don’t feel they are being sold to. When your content shows up in the right place, and at the right time, this establishes credibility for your brand and creates positive associations with your customers and contacts.
Here are 5 quick tips to take away with you, to make your content marketing work for you:
- Identify your audience – be clear about who you are producing the content for
Make it easy to remember – your content should stick in the mind of your audience
Keep it simple and valuable – you are talking to your peers and colleagues so just be yourself and make the content easy to read
Make it engaging – use video, images etc to attract and retain your audience’s attention
Ensure the content can be shared – remember the plan is to get as many people to see your message as possible.