In a digital age where so many activities are driven through online experiences, content marketing has become the steering wheel through which action is derived. B2B brands must navigate content development with these activities in mind and creative solutions to content creation that connect and impact the business bottom line. B2B brands that best understand their customers are most able to establish connections with their audiences in meaningful ways, which result in the desired actions to be taken.
Does your B2B brand create content that effectively drives important activities of your prospective customers?
A portion of this question can be answered in a recent report by the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 B2B content marketing study. The study shows that 89% of B2B brands are currently using content marketing as a part of their digital marketing efforts, however not all of their content marketing efforts are created equal. In fact, the study reports that only 28% of B2B marketers described their content marketing maturity level at either sophisticated or mature. A telling story of limited B2B content marketing effectiveness, strategy development and content sophistication.
The Importance Of B2B Content Marketing
The Content Marketing Institute study further defines the gaps that currently exist between effective B2B brands using content marketing and those that are less sophisticated in their content marketing efforts. The report shows that a hug 71% of B2B companies are either at an adolescent, young or first step stages of content marketing maturity within their organization and therein lies the chasm that still exists between larger brands with massive resources and mid-sized to startup B2B brands trying to find their content marketing way.
Why is B2B content marketing important? In today’s digital marketing environment, content marketing is the measurement by which you either beat your competition or succumb to their superior strategy and execution. It’s really that plain and simple.
Effective B2B Content Marketing Should Achieve
There are several key actions that effective B2B content marketing should achieve. If you are not focusing on these results of your content marketing, you are not being effective. Here are some of the top actions your content marketing should be driving with your prospects, customers and target audience. These are in no particular order, however they are all extremely important to your B2B content marketing success.
Traffic – If you have a distribution network setup that includes an extensive social media presence, email subscriber list and search penetration, your content marketing should be driving traffic to your site, blog and landing pages. There just no way around it, traffic derived from your content creation is a must. If it is not happening or isn’t scaling week over week, there is something wrong!
Conversations – Great content should birth conversations with your intended audience. If you are not seeing comments, questions, likes and shares, you are creating content that isn’t fostering these connections with your customers. There are many reasons this could be happening, from lack of quality, improper topics and messages that just don’t resonate with your customers issues and needs.
Subscriptions – The traffic your content is creating should also result in an increase in subscriptions to your email list. This should be an incredibly important component to your content marketing efforts that will lead to increases in all of the other elements listed here.
Leads & Inquiries – If your content is addressing your customers interests and challenges, you are sure to get inquiries and leads coming in. The content you are creating should be so compelling at making a case for what you do that your target audience wants to find out more. Be careful not to over pitch within your content, but help define the customers pain points and validate your solution.
Sales/Revenue – Probably the most important action that should be resulting either directly or indirectly from your content marketing is sales. At the end of the day, your content has to get real measurable results that equates to revenue.
Exposure/Reach – Finally, as one of the least important actions, your content marketing should expand the reach of your brand to other prospects that might not know you. If your content is interesting and compelling, it will be shared and your reach and exposure will increase. However, be careful not to place too much emphasis on this metric, instead focus on the other components listed above and you will also see ancillary movement on reach as well.
With such a high percentage of B2B startups, enterprise and mid market brands looking to content marketing as an important component within their digital marketing mix, it has to be a demonstrative focus within your brand as well. Out executing your competition, while breaking through the digital noise is not something that is easily done. It requires experience, resources and expertise that understands the marketing, the customer you’re trying to reach and the ability to deliver high value content that your customer will consume and share.