Content marketing continues to be a top strategy for B2B marketers, as we fight to be heard in an increasingly “loud” digital landscape. According to recent research by the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of businesses are using content marketing as part of their overall mix. Over time, organizations have found it to be one of the best ways to earn trust and build a strong reputation in the marketplace, which ultimately leads to more sales.
At the March BMA keynote, Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi shared his top five tips for “Epic Content Marketing” for businesses to help attendees take their content marketing initiatives to the next level. After reviewing the fundamentals of content marketing strategy, Pulizzi drove home the importance of:
- Setting your goals for sales, savings or sunshine
- Creating a content mission statement
- Using his proven content formula: one content type; one main channel per audience; and consistent delivery over a long period of time
- Avoiding building your house on rented land
- Opening up your wallet – thinking about buying vs. building
Underscoring all of these tips is the critical step of getting a deep understanding of your audience and marketplace. Without this foundation, it will be next to impossible to successfully implement Pulizzi’s proven formula and experience success in content marketing.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Content marketing requires meeting your audience where they are in the buyer’s journey and providing the information they’re looking for at the exact time they need it. Before you can implement any of the tips outlined above, you must take the time to get to know your audience.
Ascedia’s strategic planning process involves the development of user personas. This involves creating a hypothetical buyer who has the common traits of the members of your target audience. Our team develops extremely detailed stories as part of the persona development process – going so far as to outline interests, map behavior patterns and attach a photo to the composite “character.” This helps us get in the minds of our target audience and helps crystallize their wants and needs, which in turn helps create the right messaging and user experience for each visitor.
KNOW THEIR PAIN
Today, successful sales strategy is no longer about the pitch – it’s about solving a client’s problems and helping them achieve their business goals. While content marketing generates leads and helps close sales, it’s not really about selling at all. Rather, content marketing helps position your team members as experts in your field. By providing information that helps potential clients solve their problems, you are seen as trustworthy, knowledgeable and dependable – and when it comes time to invest in a solution, they’ll think of you first.
Instead of using marketing collateral to share what you feel is the most important information about your business, flip the script and focus on your audience’s pain points. What keeps them up at night? If they could simplify or eliminate one aspect of their job, what would it be? What is keeping them from achieving their top goal? Then, develop content that speaks to these issues.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Pulizzi’s proven content formula relies on selecting a single content type and primary channel per audience. In order to make the right choice, you need to understand how your audience is consuming content most often, and meet them where they are.
Because there are so many channels available to digital marketers, it’s tempting to try to hit them all. With tools like Hootsuite and HubSpot, you can easily schedule and push out messaging to multiple networks at once with little effort, so what’s the harm? The old saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” applies here. If you are trying to maintain all of these different strategies, odds are you’re only skimming the surface. Rich content marketing requires strategic thinking and focused effort. Create a manageable strategy that you can build on as you experience success rather than diluting your message across channels.
Are you ready for content marketing? Our marketing strategists can help. Contact us today!