If you’re a B2B marketer or even a B2C marketer in some cases, it’s highly likely you’ve come across this term recently. In fact, according to Google Trends people’s interest in content marketing increased by 133% from 2011 to 2012 and the term currently averages over 60,000 searches a month. It’s a topic that can’t be ignored and needs to be understood. It’s become a whole new specialty in the field of marketing proven to generate results. It’s created new job descriptions. And has introduced so many new questions and challenges it has inspired its own 3-day educational summit which began in 2011 only to be attended by over 1k professional marketers and some of this country’s largest brands in its second year alone. It’s clear, if you’re a B2B marketer, content marketing needs to be a part of your strategy. But before you can implement it, you need to know what content marketing is and the benefits it can provide for your brand.
What is it?
At Rattleback, we define content marketing as producing, packaging, and making available content that informs the decision making process in order to attract and engage new business prospects, existing leads, and current clients.
What can it do for you?
Put simply, a lot. In the most general sense, by providing the right content through the right medium at the right time, you will provide inisight to qualified leads, generate new dialogue, introduce your brand to a whole new set of leads, and increase your credibility within current leads and existing clients. In a more specific sense your sales team will be introduced to a whole new set of leads who are coming to them, rather than your sales team having to seek them out. Your client management team will benefit from more trustworthy relationships through proven expertise. Your staff will consistently learn from one another on an ongoing basis. Your own knowledge on a subject matter will exponentially grow as you’re forced to produce content around it. The pendulum will begin to swing in your google analytics data by showing more visitors coming in through non-branded search rather than branded search. And website conversions will increase because you will finally be providing a reason to have a conversation.
What are the tools?
Content marketing can be executed in many forms whether it is through simple Tweets, Facebook posts, or LinkedIn discussions, blog formats such as this platform, white papers or position papers, through the release of in-depth research reports, webinars, events, email, video, or any other medium where thoughts and insight can be conveyed. It’s through these tools where we need to overcome and put aside the old adage of “don’t give away our competitive advantages for free.” The reason is because technology has created a new breed of target audience and if you feed them an appetizer they’re going to want the whole meal.
This doesn’t mean we’re suggesting giving away your services. It’s simply suggesting you need to remember how we as professional service consumers buy today. We begin by searching for content related to our problem at hand. We consume what we deem trustworthy content to justify our ever ending desire to prove to ourselves that we’re right and we need to fix whatever it is we’re thinking about. We then make the commitment to finding a provider who can provide the solution. Because at the end of the day, we all know content never provides the solution (if your content does, you’re not doing it right). And we begin this search by asking for referrals but more importantly to this case, we also begin by going back to those trustworthy sources of information we consumed along the way.
Have a specific question?
As you can see content marketing stretches in many forms and can’t be covered or even answered in one blog post. My guess is you have a specific issue at hand that fits into the abyss of content marketing. So please submit your question in the comments below and one of us here at Rattleback would be happy to provide insight, commentary, or even resources to answer your question.