Guest post by Mark Pinnes.
Business content is a turn off for 70% of consumers—that’s according to research by Flagship Consulting in association with The Economist Intelligence Unit. However, this figure is not surprising when, according to the research, 93% of marketers can’t resist trying to connect their content to the product, and 70% even measure their content by the number of calls from prospects.
Of course, these stats don’t diminish the potential of content marketing, which offers a wealth of new opportunities for marketers. But, creating great content that reaches the right audience with the right messages is no simple matter. There are lots of ideas, lots of theories—but also plenty of guesswork going on.
Having conducted the research with The Economist Intelligence Unit, and having had plenty of content marketing practice, here are five top tips to success:
- Data insights + customer profiling = relevant, targeted content
Rule number one is to know who you’re speaking to and what they’re interested in. You must prioritize the right conversations with the right people regardless of whether you are marketing a multinational corporation or a start-up. This sounds simple in theory, but in practice—how many times have you created content because it’s what your business wants to “message,” without genuinely relating it to the audience?
- It’s about quality, not frequency
The next key is to strike a balance between providing useful, informative content and promoting a brand and its products. Stay away from mediocre, mass-produced content to combat content fatigue. As our research shows, nobody likes to think they are reading for insight to instead be hit with a heavy sales message. It’s about finding the sweet spot that fits your business goals and what matters to your audience.
- Be natural and give your social media a personal touch
Social media is an important community engagement tool, allowing users, rather than the brand, to lead the discussion. This encourages user-generated content and third party endorsement, while avoiding any forced and over-manufactured brand input.
- Integrate content with the buyer’s journey
With so much content now produced, understanding ROI can be a daunting task. How do you validate your marketing spend within your organisations? While there is no perfect solution, B2B marketers should try to track engagement across the journey the customer is on through to a purchase.
- Work with – not against – the sales team
Sales teams frequently send out their own material, but this may not be aligned with the brand. It’s important to work together with sales teams to ensure consistent messaging. Marketers can become enablers for sales teams, creating leads for them to pursue.
However, we don’t want to hand leads over to sales immediately—it’s about how you nurture these contacts further. Then, when you know prospects are interested in what you have to say, you can hand over to sales teams who then close the deal.
Voila – marketing nirvana?!
You’ve probably worked out there is no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing; it’s a matter of what works for your business. But, if you know your audience and know your brand then you’ve off to a good start. It’s then about creating relevant, targeted, high quality content that is authentic and ties in with your buyer’s path to purchase.
Mark Pinnes is the Deputy MD of Flagship Consulting, a Peppercomm company, where he oversees the strategic direction of integrated communications programmes for a range of leading clients in the financial, technology and enterprise sectors. Mark formerly served as the global head of marketing PR for large UK venture backed technology firm and as Head Of Media Relations for FTSE 100 retailer, Morrisons.