Content. Marketers can’t seem to get enough of it.
A report last year from American Business Media , the Business Marketing Association, Junta42 and MarketingProfs found that nine out of ten B2B organizations are marketing with content. By now, that percentage is probably even higher.
But, who’s really confident in their approach?
According to the research, content marketing supports a variety of business goals – including brand awareness (78 percent), customer retention/loyalty (69 percent) and lead generation (63 percent) – and yet there’s a significant “confidence gap” between rates of adoption and perceived effectiveness of content marketing strategies. More specifically, marketers cited these top three challenges: producing the kind of content that engages prospects and customers (36 percent), producing enough content (21 percent) and budget to produce content (19 percent).
If you’re wondering how to optimize your content marketing strategy, be sure to tune in to, The Value of Content, an online presentation that’s part of Aprimo’s free best practices certificate webinar series for B2B Marketers.
The hour-long webinar features Ann Handley, the Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs. A 12-year veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals, Ann is also co-author of Content Rules, and she blogs at her personal website, Anarchy, as well as at Mashable, American Express Open Forum and the Huffington Post.
As Ann sees it, effective content marketing requires strategic thinking about whom you want to reach, what you hope to accomplish, what you want to say and how you want to say it.
Content is anything an organization creates and shares to tell its story, Ann said. But, the key to successful content marketing is to create and share this information with intention.
To illustrate her point, Ann used the webinar to discuss eight specific tips to help you implement content marketing more effectively. Here’s a sampling of the first five:
- Share or solve. Don’t shill. If you’re just talking about yourself, customers and prospects will simply tune you out. Instead, share resources. Engage your audience with relevant information and talk to them on their terms. Citrix’s Workshifting.com and Roberts & Durkee’s “Chinese Drywall Problem” are examples of microsites that do this well.
- Show, don’t just tell. Use content to show how your products and services can help consumers in their day-to-day lives. For example, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board created a microsite called the “Grilled Cheese Academy” that lets customers share recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches and much more. Likewise, Memorial Blood Centers developed a site where blood donors, recipients and volunteers can tell their personal stories. These two organizations are using content to build both brand awareness and community.
- Speak human. Create content that your customers can relate to. Don’t use clichés of buzzwords like “impactful,” “learnings,” “synergistic,” “proactive,” or “incentivizing.” As Ann pointed out, jargon doesn’t show that you are special. Instead, it just makes you sound like everybody else.
- Build momentum. Use content to help move customers and prospects towards a sale. Try including specific calls-to-action at the end of every blog post and give your readers resources they can download or click on for more information. Surprisingly, most content marketing strategies fail to include these critical steps, Ann said.
- Do something unexpected. If your content is fun and enjoyable, it will stand out. Create something that gets someone to sit up and pay attention. Ann singled out Agilent Technologies’ “PuppetChemistry.com” microsite as a good example of the power of surprise.
Done right, content marketing can be an effective component of your overall digital marketing strategy. During the webinar Ann cited several companies that have benefited from successful content marketing campaigns.
For more information and additional tips, see The Value of Content, available for download here.