Content marketing means coming up with unique and innovative content ideas that add value to the audience and reach the full potential of brand awareness.
But what does that mean in terms of effective B2B communication? In order to increase the visibility of a company as well as the impact of its content, five changes need to be implemented within the strategy framework.
1. The imperative of digital: B2B is driven by users that make decisions
Whoever is responsible, whatever the company: B2B communication mostly happens in print. Put simply, print products appear to be more high-quality due to its haptic quality. Meanwhile, the digital approach happens as an after-thought, with, at best, a PDF version of the brochure or a booklet. Those who create eBooks or white papers are already out there: the innovative few who invest in content that is created for digital, works just as well on mobile and supports the lead generation will drive tomorrow’s decision making. That’s because decision makers are users too: whether they are aware of it or not, they will be looking for the best experience while they research options.
2. Purpose driven communication: content is servant, not master
In a cross-media world with multitudes of ways to distribute content, the communications strategy needs to be even clearer in its objectives. Content needs to serve the touchpoints: your audience is made of recipients with certain expectations and intentions depending on the channel where it receives your message. A clear objective helps to navigate the content-touchpoint conundrum and to make the right decisions on when, where and how to adjust the content to address the user’s needs most effectively.
3. Communicate to sell: content with the subtle persuasion of a salesman
Marketing and sales need to grow together to create an economic outcome. The marketing strategy should produce problem-solving content that is relevant for the potential client and tangential to the company’s USP: first by giving answers, second by connecting these answers to a sales process. As soon as readers turn into leads a nurturing process needs to kick in by following up every lead and delivering content which inspires the potential client to further action.
At the same time, it is necessary to evaluate the user’s interaction with the content in order to identify the most important questions. This way the company can be profiled as an authority in its segment. The content creation must purposefully cultivate the company’s standing in the minds of its target groups.
4. Understand the user: intentions lead to true needs
The difference between a user and a customer is the intention which leads to an expectation. A customer is already in touch with the company and must be nurtured according to his needs. A user could be anyone and yet can be tracked down when it comes to the intentions based on his behaviour, including the search requests. Depending on the channel the user has different intentions that led him there.
With that in mind the user obviously has specific expectations regarding elements that make a great content in his eyes. Companies need to make sure that they understand the intentions behind search queries and user reactions in order to match their content with the expectations at any time of the customer journey. The result will be a higher conversion rate.
5. Connect the smart way: social media pays off if you stay flexible
When it comes to B2B content marketing, professional social networks such as LinkedIn and Xing are especially smart moves These platforms are the perfect social tools to get connected and to identify relevant social groups. A strategic output means individualising the content according to the leads and the characteristics of the platform.
Since the social dynamics of a target group always change according to the context - even within the digital world - you need to design content that can work cross media. A decision maker in a LinkedIn group gives his attention to expertise that serves his interests. The same user expects different content in his Facebook newsfeed, whether light entertainment or news. The message might stay the same but the format needs to be adjusted according to the medium.