Six tips that can help you start or improve a content marketing effort to deliver tangible ROI.
Content marketing is a growing trend in the world of B2B. A 2011 report shows that almost half (48%) of all marketers have implemented content marketing as part of their strategy. In a Marketingsherpa B2B benchmark report, the most-effective tactics for B2B search engine optimization (SEO), social media and site optimization all involved content marketing initiatives. Likewise, two reports from Optify and Econsultancy reported that 84% of B2B marketers plan to increase their investments in content marketing while 90% believe that it will grow in importance over the next year.
Effective content marketing requires a lot of time, resources and planning. Having implemented content marketing strategies for several of our clients, here are a few tips that can enhance your initiatives’ impact.
1. ROI Starts with an I
Content marketing is an Investment , and a significant one at that. Allotting the appropriate (and often large) amount of time and resources required to create meaningful, relevant content for your audience will exponentially increase the effectiveness of your campaign. Don’t expect results with an inadequate or unreasonable investment. Do it right, or don’t do it at all.
2. Understand Your Audience
Before you can create relevant content, you have to know who you’re talking to. Demographics are fine, but you need to know more than simply who your target audience is, you need to understand them – their thinking, their motivations, the challenges they’re facing. Knowing and understanding these characteristics can be the difference between generating content that really resonates or peddling spam that no one will read.
3. Be Relevant
Relevance is the key to content marketing. Now that you understand your audience, you need to deliver useful content with actionable information to get and maintain their attention. Content marketing should provide the reader with something valuable and reward them for taking the time to read it. Your content should be more objective and industry-focused instead of solely self-promotional. If your content is not relevant, useful and interesting, you’re wasting your time and your audience’s time.
4. SEO-optimized? Yes. Keyword-saturated drivel? No.
Original, relevant content is the key to raising your search engine ranking, not keyword-packed paragraphs of meaningless messaging. While you should optimize your content for search engines (such as using the right industry & market language your audience is looking for and understands), avoid the temptation to create content full of buzzwords and nothing else. In fact, doing this may even have the opposite affect as search engines like Google continue to update their algorithms – often penalizing companies who try this with a lower rank.
5. Create Content for Every Customer Category
One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is its ability to help lead customers through the sales funnel. By creating relevant content for each stage of the sales cycle (awareness research, consideration, purchase, loyal customer, at-risk customer), you have an automated strategy that’s helping drive sales. Content marketing can also be used to maximize the time and effectiveness of your sales force by qualifying leads. For example, someone who clicked on an eblast, visited a microsite and downloaded a case study is a better candidate for a sales call thaen someone who was less engaged with your content.
We implemented a content marketing strategy for VWR International to help increase the readership, promotion redemption, sales and end-user value for several of their publications.
Contact Us to learn more about content marketing or to discover how we could develop an initiative for you.
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