Business-to-business companies consistently look for new ways to connect with their target audiences. Content marketing has proven effective in achieving lead generation goals, as it allows brands to exhibit their expertise, position themselves as industry thought leaders and improve search engine optimization results. However, the search algorithm updates in the past decade have emphasized content quality over quantity and mere keyword use, which is why it's important that brands strive to create original, thought-provoking media that is relevant to their client base. While white papers, case studies and other print-based content types are effective, diversifying media types is key. As such, B2B marketing professionals are increasingly testing the waters of images, graphics, video and more for content marketing.
B2B marketing incorporates multimedia content into the user experience
According to "B2B Content Marketing 2014: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America" from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 93 percent of more than 1,200 B2B marketers reported their organizations use content marketing, and nearly half expect their budget for this type of marketing will increase in the coming year.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they use videos, and 62 percent said they use webinars. These two content marketing strategies were deemed among the most effective, occupying the third and fourth spots after in-person events and case studies. In addition, video is playing a role in organizations' social strategies, as 73 percent of marketers surveyed reported using YouTube to distribute content.
In a recent post for Business 2 Community, contributor Brendan Cournoyer explained that in addition to marketers feeling more confident in video's effectiveness, a couple other factors are driving brands' adoption of the platform. For one, creating, publishing and sharing video is easier today than ever before, making it more accessible for marketers across industries. Additionally, video boosts SEO.
Meanwhile, 51 percent of marketers use infographics, up from just 38 percent last year, representing the biggest increase in utilization among content marketing tactics. Infographics provide businesses with a way to spread extensive amounts of data and facts in an extremely digestible, attractive platform. They allow viewers to soak in a ton of information with just a quick glance, and because they're both visually stimulating and unique, their social shareability is quite high.
4 tips for using multimedia in B2B content marketing
With more marketers seeking to diversify their content calendars with different media types, it's important that they develop a plan for how they'll go about incorporating video, infographics and other content tactics into their strategies:
- Set specific goals: The CMI outlines several benefits to defining the purpose of using video, which can actually be applied to planning for any marketing initiative. Organizations should begin by outlining what they aim to achieve through multimedia content marketing, whether it's to increase lead generation, strengthen brand awareness, entertain or educate clients to maintain the business's relationships with them. From there, companies can develop a unique, targeted message aimed at a specific demographic, which is more likely to resonate with audiences than more general videos.
- Use images and sound to complement other content: One of the ways brands can best use video, infographics, pictures and podcasts is to highlight written content types, like case studies and research. For example using the data retrieved in a study, marketers can create an infographic containing percentages, ratios and other numbers with accompanying illustrations to demonstrate their significance in a way readers will find intriguing. Additionally, businesses can use video to interview white paper authors to elaborate on or explain certain concepts, further positioning the brand as an industry expert.
- Create original content, too: While brands can use multimedia to complement articles, client success stories and other print materials, they can also take advantage of the platforms to create new, fresh content. Marketers may consider developing a video series to nurture client engagement and a brand following. Inc. Magazine recommends businesses trying out of how-to videos, as they provide viewers with a sense of utility. Marketers may also consider filming a set of video or podcast interviews with internal industry professionals and brand advocates.
- Maintain the brand image: While multimedia serves as an outlet through which companies can try new content marketing strategies, it's essential that videos, infographics and more preserve the brand image. The company's personality and defining traits should be recognizable, which means using the same tone and style – whether it be professional or more personable – is crucial. Additionally, marketers may consider using a universal opener for videos and podcasts, as well as placing the brand logo throughout content types.
- Don't forget calls to action: No matter the media type, it needs to lead readers and viewers to do something to take their relationship with the brand one step farther. Include calls to action like contact information and sales offerings and an invitation to check out more content to turn prospective clients viewing the business's media into loyal customers.