Content marketing is a marketing Procedure that is not about advertising messages, but about useful content that many people are looking for online. Companies that provide helpful range along the buyer’s journey are found more often, build trust and can thus win customers. Today, the buyer’s journey takes place mainly on digital platforms. With content marketing, companies can meet potential customers on this journey, get in touch and acquire customers. Of course, companies can also use advertising on digital platforms. The advantage of content marketing, however, is that it is easier to build trust with useful content.
Additionally, nowadays, many people try to avoid advertising. They use ad blockers or, for example, only consume films on ad-free platforms such as Netflix. Consumers today want to do their research online before they buy. Google demonstrated this very impressively in 2011 with the Zero Moment of Truth study.
In this blog, post content marketing is defined by the content marketing institutes. We were so free to translate the original definition from English. Let’s take a closer look at the individual components. Strategic Marketing Alignment: Content marketing is not just a tactic. Strategy requires having a plan. So to formulate goals and develop measures to achieve these goals. Typical strategy elements are a content strategy, a social media strategy, lead generation strategy, etc.
Creating and dispersing important, pertinent and consistent Content: To achieve this, you need a content process, an editorial team, an editorial meeting, editors, an editor, SEO specialists and editing tools. Typical content formats are, for example, blog articles, videos and white papers.
Attracting and binding a clearly defined target group: the bait must taste good to the fish. This is where most mistakes happen because unfortunately, the content is often produced by the target group. In any case, you need an experienced content strategist. Nowadays, there are also a variety of intelligent tools (AI) that help find the right content.
Receiving profitable customer actions: We do everything to make a profit. In most cases, these beneficial actions are customers who buy. But it can also be that the goal is to keep customers or to improve processes, for example in service, so that costs are saved.
In this short (less than 4 minutes long) video, Inbound Consultant Lisa tells you the most important things about content marketing:
How did content marketing come about?
Content marketing isn’t new. Companies have been using content for a long time to market their products and reach their target audience. One of the earliest examples is John Deere’s 1895 The Furrow Magazine.
The changed buying behaviour, the importance of search engine rankings, the development of the social web and the abandonment of traditional media have led to content marketing developing as a marketing method in its own right in recent years.
The term content marketing itself can be traced back quite clearly to Joe Pulizzi, who coined and defined the term in 2007. The Content Marketing Institute, founded by Joe Pulizzi, has existed since 2010. The Content Marketing Institute, with its extensive contributions but also event activities, is mostly responsible for the spread of the content marketing method worldwide.
Why you need a content marketing strategy
Let’s start this paragraph with an analogy. Suppose you want to build a house. After you buy a plot of land, go to an architect and have your home planned. A bright, open kitchen from which one can go into the living room, bathroom and toilet separated, and there should be three bedrooms. After all, you are intelligent and consider that one day there might be children.
As soon as the plan has been completed and approved, construction can start. Would you build a house without a plan? Of course not. Why should you do content marketing without a strategy?
The architect, in our example, is your strategist who creates the framework for your content marketing. You may be successful with individual pieces of content in the short term without a strategy, but believe me: long-term success is not possible without a content marketing strategy.
Most of the time, we don’t talk about content marketing strategy, but rather about content strategy. Although the terms are used interchangeably in many places, they do not quite mean the same thing.
What is the difference between a content strategy and a content marketing strategy?
First, the good news: Almost all content marketers agree that content strategy and content marketing strategy are not the same. Now for the bad: There is absolutely no consensus on the distinction between the two systems.
We have developed a differentiation with which we are delighted. Content marketing is a discipline, just like newsletter marketing, digital marketing, event marketing, etc. are disciplines. To be able to implement all these disciplines operationally, you need a strategic approach. A content marketing strategy
A content strategy, on the other hand, is not something that you only need for your content marketing. In that case, it’s just unfortunate that the two terms are so similar. A content strategy, on the other hand, organizes the structured use of digital content. Thus, a content strategy is not only necessary in content marketing, but also other disciplines of digital marketing, such as inbound marketing.
In the new edition of the content” Bible” Think content! Miriam Löffler and Irene Michl see the development of a content strategy as a house. In the foundation, you define the target group’s needs, company goals and the brand. Based on this, you carry out measures: the content audit, content planning, content production, content management and content distribution. To give your house the necessary stability, you carry out a controlling. The roof of your home is the Content strategy statement, which sums up your content strategy in two sentences.
Are you curious about what content strategy is all about? The Joanneum in Graz has its content strategy course (the first in Austria) and our CEO Martin teaches there. But enough about content strategy, after all, in this article, we would like to give you well-founded information about content marketing.
What is essential in a content marketing strategy in B2B
Before we get into creating a content marketing strategy for B2B, we would like to summarize some essential characteristics of B2B marketing:
Relationships drive B2B marketing.
The task is to increase the value of the relationships.
In your address, you concentrate on specific buyer personas.
There are longer sales cycles with multi-phase purchase process steps, a so-called buyer’s journey.
Brand identity is based on authority and relationships.
Attention is generated through additional training content and thought leadership.
What potential B2B customers want
B2B customers are looking for experts to solve their respective problems. Many companies offer similar B2B products and services. However, what sets these companies apart is the knowledge that they are willing to share with their website visitors. For example, B2B customers are also interested in the people behind the brand and not just in the respective products or services.
A B2B content marketing strategy should primarily focus on building expert status for your company. You should also produce content that your buyer personas can use to improve their own business. As an expert in your company area, potential customers can often keep the primary research process at the beginning of the buyer’s journey lean because they already know you and your company and appreciate your expert status.
Content is the biggest challenge.
In all surveys related to content marketing, the content itself is seen as the most significant challenge for content marketing. This is no wonder because in most cases, companies do not have enough journalistic resources to produce good content continuously. Content has to be very good. Otherwise, it won’t be found, and it won’t trigger any conversions (leads).
How can you manage to produce 2 to 3 blog posts a week with a length of at least 700 words, plus videos and white papers? Don’t worry, and this is a question that concerns many content marketers and those who want to become one. Besides, it’s not just about new content.
The most popular content formats
When we think of stories and content for our website, we often immediately think of texts—blog posts, whitepapers, e-books, how-to-dos, etc. Even if books are of great importance for your digital presence, you should always think of a content idea separately from its format. Maybe a video, an infographic, or an audio interview is better suited to this type of view than a blog article?
In this section we give you an overview of the most shared content formats, summarize the implementation options you have for these and how you can identify the right forms for your content idea and buyer’s journey phase.
The most common content formats for content production start with texts. However, not all text is created equal. Depending on what you have to say, you should choose the appropriate format. Don’t worry, and we’ll help you!
Blog posts are posts that you publish on a blog. No, there are some very different ways of implementing your blog articles: Listicles, HowTos, comments, interviews, guest posts, etc.
Press releases are particularly useful when you have news and want to be covered.
White papers deal with a topic in greater depth and are usually offered as PDF downloads to generate leads. Leads are new business contacts who are interested in your company and who voluntarily leave you their contact details. In return, they receive a piece of premium content (such as a white paper). White papers are usually no longer than 15 pages.
E-books are similar to white papers. They are also premium content and are also used to generate leads. A significant difference compared to a white paper is that e-books are at least 15 pages or longer.
Checklists are lists based on the shopping list principle that makes sense in content production in the B2B area, especially if you want to introduce your potential customers to the scope of a problem. The ulterior motive? To try to be part of the problem-solving process.
Mailings and newsletters help you to stay in constant contact with your customers and potential customers. They are also an essential tool for accompanying your leads through the funnel (lead nurturing)
No content format manages to move and convey emotions like video. That’s why we don’t want to withhold the most popular video formats in the B2B area from you.
Image and company videos offer you the opportunity to present yourself as a company. This is usually content that you use over a long period, which is why it is worth investing in professional videos here.
Live videos are spontaneous and live from the here and now. They enjoy great popularity in social networks and are often rewarded with higher organic reach.
Product videos are usually only located in a later phase of the buyer’s journey because they are already aimed at selling. Here you can not only describe what your product can do – you can even demonstrate it!
Classic commercials must not be forgotten despite new video formats such as live videos. These don’t just have to be broadcast on television. After all, there are various ways to place them as ads, for example.
Animated videos are great when you want to bring a topic closer to your potential customers but don’t have a place to shoot, or when you find the issue so complicated that it needs to be broken down to a meta-level.
Tutorials are instructions and can be implemented in text form, similar to tutorials. It is up to you whether a video or text tutorial is more suitable. A classic case for a video tutorial is, for example, makeup tutorials or handicraft or building instructions.
Audio is probably the most underrated format in content production and is more than the advertising miracle radio.
Podcasts are incredibly popular due to the very advantageous reception options. In recent years, they have also become more and more relevant for content marketing in the B2B sector, which can also be seen from the fact that company podcasts are springing up like mushrooms.
Quotes are ideal for making your texts a little livelier. Last but not least, you mustn’t forget that search engines like it when several content formats are present in one post.
Content for Alexa and other voice assistants brings your content directly into the home of your potential customers. For example, it is possible that you can produce your skill for Alexa. Users can then ask their own Alexa questions about your company.
Possible goals you can achieve with content marketing
One of the first things you do when you start content marketing is setting goals. You should note that your goals are SMART, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
The following key performance indicators can be used to define your goals in content marketing:
- Brand awareness
- Traffic increase
- Lead generation
- Customer conversion
- Customer loyalty
Monitor and measure the success of content marketing.
A significant advantage of any online marketing method is measurability. It’s the same with content marketing. Here are the top numbers to look out for when planning content marketing.
Visits: How many visitors come to your website? Which sources (Google, social media, email, etc.) do these visitors come. You can easily measure these visits with Google Analytics or similar analysis tools.
Social media audience on social media platforms: In the past, fans on Facebook and followers on Instagram were influential. However, this is no longer the case these days, as Mark Zuckerberg would like to develop the Facebook network much more in the direction of meaningful interactions. Engagements and reach are much more important than followers or fans. What you should by no means leave out of your social media monitoring is the tonality in which your audience writes about you or interacts with your posts.
Newsletter or blog subscribers: This is the first level of commitment. When someone subscribes to your newsletter or blog, they say they want to hear from you regularly. The more of it, the better.
Leads: Leads are visitors who have downloaded additional content on your website in exchange for their data. These are usually better than subscribers. Because the information was interested in specific content that is related to your company, and he has also given you the consent that you may contact him for sales purposes.