*Guest post by Matt Krautstrunk…
I used to think B2B marketing was B2C’s ugly sister. I was obsessed with consumer facing marketing initiatives and branding strategy. So naturally, I took a job as a B2B content marketer, and I learned that while B2B isn’t sexy, my creative spirit can still shine.
So when I began learning about B2B content marketing, I struggled with finding the secret sauce. I began tracking analytics on our site’s content, figured out what other companies actually wanted to read, and learned the most important rule of them all: content for the sake of content is useless.
A B2B audience isn’t searching for “sexy marketing,” with simple, branded web 2.0 messages (Salesforce is about as close as B2B comes to sexy); the B2B buyer is more sophisticated, looking for informational articles, blogs and anything that may or may not give them incentive to buy.
If you’ve ever seen Harry Potter, almost no witch or wizard dare speak of Lord Voldemort’s name. Well the same concept applies to content marketing, never mention the word, “buy our product.” It sets off the SPAM filters in the reader’s head, discrediting your content and slandering your name. Even if your goal is to guide purchase decisions with your company, don’t treat your readers like sheep. If they are interested, they will find you.
Of course your strategy differs with the type of content you are marketing (blog, article, whitepaper, buyer guide), but I’m often even scared to plug my company if it’s not in the bio. If you are a content marketer, speak with your voice and credit your own name, but have the company back your opinions and insights. This will help your credibility and the overall effectiveness of your content.
2. Statistics Are Your Backbone
In B2B marketing, there can never be enough statistics. Managers love them, creative writers loathe them, and researchers just… research them. Statistics are your backbone for all arguments you will make in B2B content marketing. Looking for reasons to get into content marketing? According to Junta42, in 2009, content marketing spending comprised of 33% of the total marketing budget and 60% of marketers believe that number will increase. This survey was taken in 2009, and content marketing was on the rise; I’d imagine if we surveyed the scene after Panda we’d see much more emphasis on unique content.
Regardless, you should invest in R&D. You should test out new content within the buying cycle and strategically launch your content like you would launch a new product.
3. Say It Only When You Need To
Sites that post content for the sake of posting something are often filled with low level jargon. It’s rare that your company would ever outsource its blog material, but many companies outsource their on-site page content. Does this make sense? From an SEO standpoint, more content is always better. But the real question is where the line cross between content quality and quantity. Does it serve you better to have 100 pages of optimized, poor content, or 20 pages of well written copy? The answer is, it all depends. If it needs to be said, say it, and be weary of poorly written outsourced content.
4. Don’t Copy Your Competitors
Copying a competitor’s strategy is a dumb idea. Whether you are taking basic ideas and repurposing them or blatantly stealing content (which Google will punish you for); always know that competing with yourself is easier than competing with other. Marketers get rewarded for paving new paths, not following old trails.
5. Plan Your Content for a Channel
Each channel views and interacts with your content in a different way. Short, concise content does well on mobile, where as more drawn out research oriented conclusions register for trade publications. If you are set to produce a white paper for lead generating purposes you will want to plan out where you will be hosting your white paper (longtail niche site or commercial site with universal appeal) and what topic it will cover before you finalize the draft. You don’t want to make the mistake of writing a “VoIP 101” article for a niche community like TMCNet.
Taking a channel approach to your content, shying away from duplicate content, and saying it only when you need to say it, are all instruments to the success of your content marketing. However, remember to keep your sales pitch at the door, and delivering timely, valuable, statistic-backed information to your audience will keep you relevant with the opportunity to go viral.
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