“Content is king!”
That’s been the word from the web since Bill Gates originally made the statement back in January 1996. And it’s appeared in almost every digital marketing top ten trends list ever since.
So why, in a world of rapidly advancing technology, is content marketing still more compelling than the latest application of AI or an innovative advertising tactic?
It’s because if you want to become the authority, you must first become the author.
In other words, if you want to get known in your industry and beyond, renown cannot be bought with ads alone (70% of people would rather learn about a brand through an article than an ad, according to the Content Marketing Institute), it must be earned one piece of content at a time.
So, what is Business2Business (B2B) content marketing?
Content marketing is the creation of content online with a purpose:
- to get known (for brand awareness); or
- to grow (attract leads, ask for referrals, expand a network).
A content marketing strategy works in your B2B marketing mix, because it demonstrates who you are, what you know, what you offer and how you solve your clients’ problems over time.
So how do you do it?
What is the purpose?
What are you trying to do? Are you focusing on brand awareness, being strategic in driving sales, or building a mailing list to develop a warm audience for future sales?
Once you know your purpose, how do you “author content” in your content marketing strategy? What is a best practice approach?
Create a plan
Rather than a sporadic, misdirected approach, you should create a plan for the year ahead based on the ‘problems’ of your target market. What keeps them up at night?
And then, based on those ideas, plan out a series of content that will serve their needs and position you as the solution. This will help you stay focused in your strategy, and help you manage your productivity and planning process.
Are you looking for an annual content calendar plan? Download your customisable plan here (with some extra goodies).
Start authoring your content
Next, start creating the content. Authored content can take the form of videos, blogs (59% of marketers still consider a blog to be the most valuable channel), creation of guides/fact sheets, e-books, webisodes, podcasts, guest posts on other sites and news channels etc.
Looking for some extra ideas?
B2B CONTENT MARKETING TO GET KNOWN AS AN EXPERT IN YOUR INDUSTRY, AND BEYOND
START CREATING QUALITY WHITE PAPERS
A White Paper can be different things to different people, but essentially it is a persuasive in-depth report that presents a problem and provides a solution. The way to present yourself as the expert is for you to be the solution.
Your White Paper will be a door opener. When meeting new clients or prospects, the White Paper becomes an introduction to you and a validation of your expertise. It captures attention and gives you credibility.
How do you create a great one? The key is to write well, promote broadly and make it easy to find. Put the effort into the presentation, too. I recently gave up Word in favour of Canva with its simple drag and drop features – and the result was very polished.
WRITE A BLOG
One of the simplest and most effective ways to build your reputation is through a blog. Your blog is not a personal journal. Today, a business blog is like your own personal news channel to demonstrate your thought leadership. Whether you call it a blog or insights or whatever, there are lots of reasons for maintaining one.
It’s your platform, so it’s a great way to position your expertise. Make sure it serves your audience and speaks to their problems or interests, not just as a product flog. It will improve your website ranking through SEO, and, when coordinated through social media, will serve as a perfect tool to connect with your existing clients. It also helps to attract new clients and the attention of media, industry and other interested parties.
CONSISTENT SOCIAL SHARING
The best approach is a combination of content that you have created (that demonstrates your products, services and expertise) and content that you’ve curated (which means scanned, scheduled or shared) from other sources that are of value to your audience.
Check out my previous posts about the best content to post on LinkedIn for ideas.
The aim of the game here is to be consistent. If your best post was three months ago, you’ll be forgotten about. Your consistency will be the main driver in demonstrating your expertise in the minds of your audience.
TURN MOTIVATION INTO ACTION
Imagine if you consistently created and shared meaningful, helpful and compelling content that was not only consistent but also credible. It wouldn’t take long before you were standing out as the expert brand in town.
The world needs your expertise. Start creating!