We have all heard the phrase "content is king". In fact I would argue it has reached cliche status...and as with all cliches there is usually a kernel of truth in the saying.
Content has been used in B2B marketing for decades, its certainly not a new phenomenon, but with the pervasive use of the internet to research buying options and the rise of social media to connect with peers, the focus on content to educate buyers through the stages of their buying journey is seeing a strong resurgence.
It can sometimes be difficult for business owners and marketers to define what role content must play in their marketing strategy. John Jantsch (@ducttape) says that content must be impactful, and we need to think of it “as a tool that moves prospects from awareness to conversion.” But, how?
Jantsch shares five necessary types of content that will help prospects and customers at different stages of the purchase path:
- Trust Building—Bridge the gap from general awareness to building your trust as a helpful, knowledgeable resource (e.g. how-tos, reviews, articles).
- Educational—Feed prospects that are hungry for more (e.g. eBooks, newsletters, webinars).
- Community Contributed—Get your customers involved to nurture loyalty and community (e.g. testimonials, guest blog posts, reviews).
- Filtered—Aggregate content produced by others (e.g. curated posts like these, thoughtful shares on social networks, etc).
- Conversion—Give prospects the final piece of information they need to make a purchase decision (e.g. in-person events, case studies, ROI calculators).
These content types make a lot of sense. Practically speaking delivering on a well thought out content strategy is a challenge in itself.
B2B Marketers are often uncomfortable in the role of publisher (which is increasingly proving to be the case.) Building an editorial calendar, assigning the role of editor in chief (if only part time) to someone in marketing, developing (or hiring) writing skills, religiously sticking your deadlines are all essential skills that often overwhelm B2B marketers and see content marketing initiatives founder on the rocks of well-meaning ambition.
What challenges do you find overwhelming? How do you deal with them? For some more guidance on tunning a successful content marketing startegy why not download our free eBook?