How are you utilizing content marketing?

Content marketing is an essential tool for many different aspects of the B2B sales cycle. It can be used for lead generation or nurturing, and it has the potential to raise your search engine optimization results. 

Lead generation is tricky to get exactly right, which is one of the reasons content is such a useful tool. When used properly, good content can generate better quality leads, which ultimately result in revenue growth (1). There are a number of other major goals for content marketing, including increasing website traffic, achieving a better search engine rank, displaying thought leadership and lowering traditional marketing expenses. However, many marketers were not reaching their targets. They face several obstacles, although the primary one was creating compelling content.

Distribution of content makes a difference
Creating high-quality content is only half the battle. The channels through which content is distributed need to factor into decisions on marketing strategy. While hosting a blog on your own website can be effective, content often needs to be promoted through other channels to have an impact. Marketers often use social media to share content, but they need to be mindful of how different types of marketing materials perform on individual networks.

For example, videos may garner more attention on social media because of the shareable nature of this content. Marketers need to look beyond long form industry articles. It can be difficult to create truly engaging B2B marketing content, but buyers are increasingly demanding entertaining campaigns.

Content needs to adapt
B2B content often gets weighed down with industry jargon, which doesn't create an engaging experience for readers. While it's easy to fall into the trap of using your internal buzzwords in your blog posts, this terminology won't resonate with your target audience (2). Even in the B2B sphere, leads aren't tolerant of boring content. It's important to remember that buyers are consumers when they aren't at work, and retailers have redefined their expectations for exciting advertising campaigns. 

Content has a lot of value, but it's difficult to get creation and distribution exactly right. B2B brands that blog generate 67 percent more leads than companies that don't (2). However, it isn't enough to just repurpose sales collateral into blog posts. The best B2B content provides readers with information that they may not be able to get elsewhere. This is why content is such a valuable lead nurturing tool: It builds the relationship with prospects by offering them something of value. In fact, company blogs are becoming the new trade magazines in the B2B industry. 

The wisdom regarding content marketing in the past was that marketers should get as specific as possible with their blog posts to ensure content would strike the right chord with their target audience. However, this strategy may not work that well because it could make it more difficult to reach the right people within companies. Several years ago, marketers had to impress executives, but the sales process has expanded to include more stakeholders. Mid-level employees are often tasked with doing research on business products before passing the information along to executives. In some companies, end users may have a say in the decision-making process. Of course, the level of involvement varies by each company, which makes targeting the right buyer persona even more challenging. Because of this, hyper-targeting may not be as effective as it was initially thought. One of the best ways to overcome this issue is to provide entertaining content that will appeal to variety of readers. 

Make the most of content marketing budgets
Despite the power of content marketing, it's clear that companies are still struggling to get it exactly right. Proceeding with content without a firm strategy in place can waste marketing resources. It's important to consistently measure return on investment through specific metrics, such as number of leads generated from specific pieces. There are a number of reasons content marketing initiatives fail. Without ROI measurement, it's easy to exceed a budget without having the results to show for it. 

Although it can be more effective to not try to appeal to one specific group of buyers, not knowing your audience can harm your efforts (3). Lack of knowledge about your target market can lead to unfocused, irrelevant content. If marketers target the wrong audience through blog posts, it can also contribute to a wasted lead generation budget. B2B firms need to outline specific goals for content before getting started. For example, each piece should have a particular objective, whether it's customer acquisition, thought leadership or customer acquisition.

Budget can be wasted without the right content distribution strategy. You can't expect leads to stumble upon your website on their own. Social media and SEO are great ways to promote content and ensure the right people find it. 

1. "[Report] Content Marketing a Key Element in Quality B2B Lead Generation"
2. "State of B2B Content Marketing"
3. "5 Factors Breaking Your B2B Content Marketing Budget"

Sheila Kloefkorn (1031 Posts)

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.