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October 18, 2016 By Hendrik-Jan Francke

CM 101: B2B Content Marketing Basics

Content Marketing: The Best Way to Market

88% of B2B businesses are currently using content marketing as part of their marketing strategy. Why? What makes it so successful? Well think it's time to get back to basics and uncover why content marketing is such an important part of B2B strategies.

We’re going to look at content marketing from a distance to cover the big ideas. If you want to stand out with stellar content that wows prospects, come along on this ride.

In this post, we will discuss:

Content Marketing in Action

Before we get definitional, here are some great pieces of content in action:

Email Newsletters

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MarketingProfs email newsletter is well designed, catchy, and mobile friendly.

Infographics

NOAA B2B Content Marketing InfographicNOAA creating an infographic about easy ways to help protect our planet.

Video Tutorials

Evernote Video Content Marketing

Evernote having a YouTube series on how to use their product.

Blog Posts

Copyblogger Content Marketing Blog

Copyblogger’s blog with enticing headlines and articles that deliver.

If all of those things are content marketing, what do they have in common?

Content marketing is the practice of creating content that spreads valuable knowledge to your target audience. This material develops a relationship between the creator and the reader. Content Marketing Institute establishes that content has to be relevant, valuable and consistent. The above examples are a sampling of the possibilities for your content marketing strategy. Email newsletters, infographics, video and a blog can all have a huge ROI when executed properly.

When you hear about content marketing, it may seem synonymous with blogging. While you should definitely have a blog, your posts don’t have to be the only content you produce.

This series will explore different ways to get your message out into the world. Whether it’s creating an infographic like NOAA’s to help your message spread, or starting a YouTube mini-series to capture your audience’s attention, there are countless ways to integrate content into your B2B marketing strategy.

How Content Marketing Works

Content marketing works by building trust through the sharing of information. Lets take a look at how content marketing works for Moz, an SEO software tool and creator of awesomely helpful SEO content.

If you’re interested in search engine optimization and are a frequent Googler, you might find yourself on moz.com/blog often. After reading some of their informative articles, you begin to trust them as a thought-leader in the space.

Now, imagine Moz Pro comes out and your business has been looking for a tool like this. When you consider buying from them, it feels like Moz has invested in your relationship by giving you helpful information for months. Now the time has come for you to reciprocate and buying their product feels like a deal with someone you can trust. Not to mention, from your extensive reading, you know that Moz is an expert in their field and that this product is going to be useful.

Moz Pro SEO Offer

When companies with great content release products, readers are more likely to buy from them.

This is the essence of content marketing. You are exchanging useful information for the attention and trust of readers. Notice there are two currencies here: attention AND trust. Without attention, you will give no one the chance to trust you. With only attention, you will attract visitors who never end up buying from you.

Consider Your Audience

Since content marketing is about knowledge that is valuable and relevant to your audience, you have to meet the people where they stand. Maybe your audience prefers the technical, data-driven analysis of a white paper. Perhaps they consume a lot of video content and a YouTube series would be more appropriate. In order to choose the appropriate form your content should take, you first have to understand your audience.

4 Reasons Content Marketing is Important

Marketing is no longer about who can yell the loudest because consumers have learned to tune out advertisements. The way to cut through the static and reach your audience is with material they actually want to see! It makes sense to meet your target customers when they are searching for information, rather than to interrupt them. Content marketing works because the content, and therefore the company, is available when people go looking for it.

By using content to create value, you are establishing trust and starting a relationship with your audience, both of which are more valuable than a fleeting, few seconds of attention.

Content marketing will help your business in these four areas:

Build Trust With Your Audience

Content marketing develops trust with your audience. Customers want to buy from brands they trust, but how can they know before working with you? A strong content presence establishes you as an authority in your industry and displays your expertise. This leads to customers being more willing to make a buying decision.

Improve Search Rankings

Our life is increasingly ruled by algorithms. Google search, YouTube search and even places like Twitter and Facebook are all trying to figure out how to give you the most relevant information.

Producing great content makes this job easier for these sites. When people are reading your articles, sharing them on social media and linking to them on their websites, these algorithms know that you have some good stuff to share. This means that when users are searching for information online, you’re more likely to show up near the top of that results page.

More Leads and Sales

Great content drives visitors to your website, but you don’t make a living selling ads on your site. You need leads, not just pageviews. Once you have established your website as an authority, search engines will send more traffic to your site. The way you capture this anonymous traffic is by using offers.

We will discuss later in the series how to use offers to convert visitors into leads. Once you have these leads, great content is the way to stay in touch with your leads so that your company stays top of mind. When the lead is ready to make a purchasing decision, they know your company is the one to choose.

Staying Power

Evergreen Content Marketing

This post was written in 2013 and it’s still the top result for “Evergreen content” on Google.

Advertisements and promotions are fleeting, but a great piece of content can last for years. This is called “evergreen content.” Evergreen content is high quality content that stays relevant far into the future. It could do this by answering a timeless question and providing value to customers that isn’t time-sensitive. Your future self will thank you for evergreen content when that article is still sending new visitors to your website in three years.

Older than Industry and Fit for the Future

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Ben Franklin, a founding father of content marketing, published Poor Richard's Almanack to promote his printing business in 1732.

This history of content marketing dates back to 1732 when Benjamin Franklin published an almanac to promote his printing business! While it may seem like a buzzword, content marketing is littered throughout history. With the rise of mass media, big advertising won the hearts and minds of the marketing sphere. For a time, it was the best way to reach consumers. Not anymore. We are returning to a content-centric era.

In the internet age, companies that get attention are not the ones with the biggest ad budgets, but the ones with the best content.

Content Marketing is Here to Stay

Content marketing has proved its lasting power. Now it's time for you to get your strategy together.

Join us and get up to speed on the future of content marketing. Sharpen your content strategy by filling your brain with ideas for how to ride the next wave of marketing.

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