Content marketing is a “soft sell” that gives your company the opportunity to educate and influence potential customers without pushing them towards a purchase.
It’s more important than ever for B2B marketers to find new ways to reach buyers. As social media, search engines (SEO), and online advertising become increasingly crowded with competitors, businesses need to stand out from their competition, but in an ethical way that doesn’t feel pushy or sales-y. Content marketing is a powerful tool that helps you cut through the noise and connect with customers on their own level.
The success of content marketing hinges on its ability to provide value upfront—not just at the end of a conversion funnel after someone visits your website or blog post or subscribes to your newsletter. The more you can educate your prospects, the more likely they are to cut you a big check!
Content marketing is far from new, but many businesses still struggle with whether or not content marketing fits into their marketing plans. For B2B marketers in particular, it can be difficult to medical mask buyers measure how well content marketing works for your business—and even harder to justify the expense of creating engaging SEO-optimized blog posts, videos, webinars and other materials that won’t immediately turn them a profit.
The first thing you need to realize about content marketing is this: Even if readers aren’t ready to buy today (or tomorrow), they will be someday. You might as well make friends with them now and establish a relationship that will pay dividends later on.
Here are several ways to use content marketing in your B2B marketing strategy:
Build thought leadership and generate leads: Use content marketing to position your company as a credible industry leader by regularly publishing posts, videos and white papers about topics related to your industry. Content marketing has the power to increase the authority of your business, so people view it as an expert resource.
The goal with most content marketing initiatives is to not only attract new prospects but also influence them through education and trust building. This effort helps you boost brand awareness by creating lots of opportunities for people to discover you online—and eventually convert into buyers!
Increase website traffic and SEO rankings:
If owned media (blog, website, email newsletter) is the goal of your content marketing initiatives then earned media (mentions in social media posts or articles online) is the happy byproduct.
You can encourage this type of earned media by promoting your content on other websites and via social media. This expands your reach far beyond your owned channels while simultaneously increasing traffic to your site and boosting search engine rankings for key phrases related to your business.
Because creating high-quality, educational content benefits both you and prospects, other credible publishers are more inclined to link back to it—which helps improve search engine rankings.
Increase email list size:
One way to create engaging content for educational purposes that also serves as an effective lead magnet is by publishing eBooks or white papers that provide real value to your audience.
Offering something for free—like an eBook—is a surefire way to attract leads who are genuinely interested in your business. By giving prospects what they want upfront, you’ve increased the likelihood of receiving their contact information in return.
Create engagement with existing customers:
Content marketing isn’t just for attracting new leads; it’s also helpful for engaging and motivating current customers. Use content marketing to further develop relationships with people who already know, like and trust you by publishing regular blog posts that focus on topics related to your industry or company culture.
This type of content is most effective when it addresses meaningful issues that affect both you and your audience (rather than overly promotional content that feels like advertising). When you come across as an educational resource for your existing customers, they’re more likely to feel appreciated and remain loyal—which will ultimately reduce the likelihood of churn.
Recruit new hires:
Got a job post? A case study or video about how one of your current employees got hired is not only super interesting but also showcases the awesome culture you’ve created at your company.
Adding this type of content to your careers page (and promoting it on social media) can help attract top talent without spending any money on recruiting efforts. By providing prospects with helpful information that demonstrates what working for your business is really like, you boost the appeal of your company as an employer and increase chances that someone submits their resume.
Increase brand awareness:
One final way content marketing can help you win deals is by helping prospects learn more about your company.