Guest post by Nahla Davies.
Obviously, no one could have predicted the coronavirus pandemic (unless you are into conspiracy theories). Terms like “remote working” and “lockdown” as well as the hashtag #WFH have become a part of our vocabulary. Social distancing is now the norm. No business has escaped feeling the economic impact in some form.
Business owners and marketers have had to quickly and repeatedly adapt their strategies, redefine how they do branding, and adjust their infrastructure in these unprecedented times. Among the aspects proving to be particularly challenging is content marketing.
Here are a number of key challenges related to content marketing during and after the pandemic, along with useful tips and methods that you can use to boost your ROI.
Content drought and lower ROI in the world of B2B marketing post-COVID
Having a strong online presence is now more important than ever. Businesses were already shifting budgets toward digital marketing in the pre-pandemic world; COVID-19 has only accelerated this change. Finite found that 35% of B2B marketers were struggling to produce enough quality content that could reach and engage with audiences – a situation that is being termed a “content drought.”
This is precisely why companies are enlisting the services of digital marketers who have a wide set of skills ranging from social media to paid advertising to content marketing to continue effective engagement with customers during the lockdown.
But despite having experience and expertise, marketers have specific challenges they need to overcome, especially in content marketing. These challenges include the following.
Content alignment with the buyer journey
It’s important to produce content that serves the needs of your target customers throughout the buyer journey. In other words, your prospective customers should be able to find the right content when they need it.
Nearly 50% of content produced by B2B marketers is focused at the top of the funnel, which begs the question: what about the middle or bottom of the sales funnel?
It’s crucial to create valuable content for every stage of the buyer’s journey, weaving a consistent narrative, and presented in the right format..
Prospective customers want variety: they need PR-type blog posts during the awareness phase, videos and product comparisons during the consideration phase, and white papers and case studies when they make decisions.
At the same time, companies also need to consider what types of content are needed for their existing customers, to increase retention and create referral opportunities.
Producing high-quality and relevant content isn’t easy, let alone producing it consistently. You need to determine the right topics, write with catchy headlines, and create content that resonates with your target audience.
Two of the biggest issues are the lack of time and budget. Most business owners start outsourcing their content by hiring writers or try to do it by themselves. The problem is that often the creators don’t have the expertise and knowledge to write high-quality articles that can rank highly in search engines, which leads to no results. The ever-increasing competition in B2B content marketing is another factor.
Return on investment (ROI) is the ultimate criterion for making spending decisions in business. ROI is the ultimate barometer of success. When company leaders don’t see sufficient ROI after investing in content marketing, they may cut their budget or completely shift their focus to other tactics.
What many marketers fail to understand is in addition to producing compelling content, they also need to incorporate other factors to ensure their content ranks higher: SEO, backlinks, and images. Many B2B buyers, confined to working from home, are consuming more content than before.
Quick tips to boost ROI through effective content
Developing an effective marketing strategy is vital to generating more revenue. But content marketing takes time to produce results. The only way to ensure long-term benefits is to stick with this strategy and keep improving it to adapt to the changing needs and priorities of sales prospects.
Here are four ways to boost your ROI by focusing on your content.
Embrace marketing automation
Marketing automation software helps streamline and automate marketing tasks to help boost operational efficiency and generate revenue faster.
To increase ROI, use effective marketing automation tools that can help enhance marketing efforts by automating email marketing, tracking and communicating with different leads, and measuring campaign results.
Automating your email marketing can save time, and if done carefully and properly, deliver better results than manual efforts.
Incorporate more video content
Many sales prospect prefer to learn about a product or service by watching videos instead of reading through text-heavy articles. You can also use video to announce exclusive discounts and other attention-grabbing offers.
Videos offering strategic tips on how to stay afloat during the pandemic are another potentially promising option. Focus on creating interactive videos that include gated content, and promote them on social media platforms to drive more traffic to your site as well as to grow your email list.
Use emails to stay connected with customers
There are 5.59 billion active emails in the world. Email marketing continues to deliver the highest ROI for marketers and is significantly more effective than social media marketing for acquiring customers.
Email marketing services such as Active or Mailchimp that can automate your email outreach campaigns and provide advanced features that include tracking and reporting, list imports and segmentation, integrations with third-party apps and eCommerce platforms, and A/B testing.
Work on mastering SEO and website optimization
SEO plays a crucial role in maximizing content ROI. For most B2B companies, organic search can drive anywhere from one-third to three-quarters of all traffic to your site, and generate more sales and leads.
Start by researching your competition and identifying “Goldilocks” keywords (combination of high search volume and low organic competition) that are relevant to your product and industry niche. Make the most of your on-page SEO. Optimizing your site for performance and speed to prevent visitors from abandoning your site is also important.
Overcoming the above content drought challenges isn’t easy, but it is possible.
Producing high-quality and diverse content is essential, but just the start. It’s also vital to make the most of email marketing, video, and SEO. Once you’re successful in creating an interactive content funnel, you’ll be able to boost your content ranking organically and increase ROI.
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.