We’re all being told that content marketing is the way forward.
That engaging potential contacts with relevant, valuable material is the way to turn them into loyal followers and, eventually, customers.But the result is a marketplace full of noise. There are ever-growing amounts of content – some more useful than others (and yes, we’re aware that this is yet another piece to add to the online mountain!)
Getting your voice heard in the buying process
A recent whitepaper, "The revolution in B2B marketing", by insight firm CEB, claims that the average B2B buyer is a massive 57% of the way through their buying decision process before they contact a supplier sales rep.
This means that they are over half way through deciding which supplier to appoint before they proactively contact your firm for a chat with your business development team.
Can you imagine how many companies they have engaged with, via social media, their websites and email marketing, before reaching this point?
How many firms have they considered and dismissed by the time they contact their shortlist?
Content that gets you in front of potential clients
Making the cut means producing material that works. Here we set out our nine tips to maximise engagement.
1. Know your customer
Who are you writing for? Build a ‘persona’ for each of your audiences – there may be more than one. You need to write differently for a marketing manager
than you do for a finance director. Write in a way that speaks to your readers.
2. Have a strategy
A haphazard approach to topics, channels and themes won’t work. Having a plan means you vary the topics you cover, and ensures you address hot issues
regularly (but not too often)
3. A content calendar will help
Mapping out your editorial approach on a calendar may sound OTT, but it really helps. It gives you discipline in scheduling subjects to talk about, and ensures
you have a good rotation of topics. Map out issues you will definitely cover and supplement them with more newsy subjects as they come up.
4. Remember your customers' objectives and pain points
These should be referenced – explicitly and implicitly – in the topics you cover and the ways you address them. Keep checking back to make sure your content
is relevant – tighten up on anything that doesn’t hit the mark and you’ll ensure everything you write resonates.
5. Keep it coming
There’s no set answer to ‘how often should I post new material?’ – but provide something fresh as often as you can. Refreshing your website not only keeps
you at the top of search engine rankings, it gives your readers a reason to keep visiting your site. And provides a steady stream of fodder for social media and
email marketing, keeping you top of mind.
6. Keep it simple
Generally each blog or piece of content should focus on one theme. Don’t try and cover too much in a single item – stick to one thought and your writing will be sharper and more focused.
7. Write authentically
The same topics may be covered over and over again in your sector, but find something new to say. Or say the same thing in a different way. Try using
infographics or animation for a different way to present tried-and-tested subject matter.
8. Make it an appealing read
Dense text, overly frilly wording and stuffy topics aren’t what people are looking for. There’s a lot of material competing for your audience’s attention. Make
yours engaging and easy to read and people are more likely to devote some of their busy day to it.
9. Have a clear call to action
Your strategy should take readers on a journey – if they like something you’ve written, you want to tap into that interest to show them the next step. Make sure
you have a clear call to action, whether that’s an invitation to sign up to your mailing list, a more detailed piece of material to download – like a whitepaper or
ebook – or a link to your previous blog.
In an increasingly crowded and noisy market, you need to stand out. Shouting the loudest won’t work – but putting some of these tips into practice will help.
Marketing for regulated firms, especially online marketing may be even more daunting. There are compliance hoops you need to jump through before you post online – but these needn’t stop you from embracing the benefits of a good digital marketing strategy.