THE VALUE OF CONTENT MARKETING
What is content marketing?
B2B content marketing focuses on getting your target customers interested in your company and its products by creating and spreading articles, posts, videos and types of other content. It may also answer specific questions people have and drive interest to your services or wares.
Want to know more? Explore our content marketing FAQs below.
Isn’t it just a fad?
“Content marketing” covers a wide range of activities that the Sales and Marketing departments have been doing for years, as well as some new ones like social media posts. So it’s not going away soon. Instead, it’s getting bigger and more necessary for B2B brands.
What’s the key objective of content marketing in B2B?
There are two overriding objectives that will really matter to your business. The first is to create and nurture a growing group of prospects and customers that are connected to your company – a ‘captive’ audience, you might say. The more people in your GDPR-compliant database, the better. These folks are ready and waiting for your next message – after all, they signed up to hear more!
The second key objective is to appear as often as possible on the first page of search engine results. Well-executed content marketing can do a lot to get you there, even helping you ‘own’ valuable key words from your industry. Whenever the words ‘sustainable emulsifiers’ are typed into Google, our client Palsgaard dominates the search results – and it’s thanks to content marketing.
What’s a content marketing strategy?
It’s the plan that guides your content marketing efforts, spelling out why, how, who, how much and how often. A content marketing strategy usually begins with identifying the B2B buying group and specific personas within that group (like “Procurement Percy”). Each persona is described in detail and your content marketing strategy is built to match your messaging to those personas. The personas help you define how and where to publish your content as they identify the information-seeking behavior of your target customers.
A complete content marketing strategy usually ends up with developing measurement criteria and a content calendar, which guide your content creation and allow you to assess what kind of communications have the biggest impact. The combination of personas, measurement criteria and a content calendar help you bring people closer to your company, step by step.
Why should my company be doing content marketing?
If it’s done right, content marketing can keep you top-of-mind with your target audiences, spark their interest in specific products and help to put your brand on the short list when it’s time to make a purchase. To understand the value it creates, just ask us to share some of the content marketing-driven successes we’ve created for B2B companies.
Do B2B customers engage with online content?
Research indicates that over 70% of B2B buyers get their information online. It’s crucial that when your prospective buyers come looking for information, your competitors don’t already have a lock on the information that’s out there – and run away with the deal.
B2B customers are spending an increasing amount of time doing online research – and passing helpful or interesting content on to their colleagues.
What’s the ROI on content marketing?
‘Content marketing ROI’ is a percentage that expresses how much revenue you gained from content marketing in comparison to what you spent. As marketer Caitlin Burgess points out, research shows that content marketing is typically more cost-effective than other forms of advertising or marketing, can drive higher conversion rates and increases audience engagement.
In addition to ROI, there are often upsides that are difficult to quantify. In our experience, companies have generated more leads, often from prospective customers they have had no previous connection with.
How do I convince the management team that content marketing works?
How can you prove content marketing is more effective than a direct approach, such as producing traditional advertising collateral and sales pitches? First, think about what top management needs to achieve – and what they’re measured on. Then consider how content marketing can support those aims. If growth is on the agenda, you may choose to focus on lead generation – and/or on information that will help to close the deal. If increasing customer satisfaction is a top priority, then show how content marketing can inform customers about how your company is helping to make their lives easier with all the good initiatives you’ve got underway.
Management are focused on generating sales leads. Can content marketing help us do that?
Content marketing systematically helps you to:
- Get the attention of people you aren’t currently connected to
- Stay top-of-mind with potential purchasers
- Communicate new products or offers
- Show your company’s knowhow
- Inspire and motivate customers to try new things
All of the above can result in sales leads, both qualified (if you’ve been nurturing them over time) and out-of-the-blue (we’ve seen a EUR 5 million sale originate from a blog post that was over a year old). And using marketing automation tools can help you generate even more sales by delivering tailored content that specifically matches the interests of your personas.
We’re new to content marketing – where do we start?
The simplest and most effective way to get things going? A blog!
Most B2B companies benefit from having a blog at the center of their content marketing strategy, particularly as it gives them full control over their brand and messaging. The blog focuses on your core business area, such as industrial pumps or life-saving equipment. Posts or articles are created for the blog, then typically promoted via social media (think LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) and email marketing campaigns.
First, however, you need to work with a talented B2B agency to create your content marketing strategy. Then the blog needs its own visual identity that works with your existing marketing collateral and, of course, to be built in whatever platform makes the most sense for you. Next, you’ll need to produce a certain amount of content – 10 posts, for example. That ensures the blog doesn’t look like a ghost town when the first visitors arrive.
Get it up and running, promote it via social media and perhaps some initial paid advertising, then it’s time to follow your content calendar.
But our people aren’t comfortable blogging!
We work with engineers, scientists and management of many different companies and academic institutions. So we meet all kinds of attitudes toward blogging – from the scientist who is worried about her reputation to engineers who wonder if we can get the details right. In every case, our writers manage to satisfy – and even delight – such people. In fact, we often write technically complex blog posts with very little input from subject matter experts, and there are seldom more than one or two rounds of corrections before it’s ready to publish!
Content marketing sounds great, but doesn’t it take a lot of resources?
We hear this all the time – then we show you how to get started with content marketing using external writers who really get to know your business. You’ll be surprised how little effort it actually takes to create a blog post – if you’re using an experienced B2B writer, that is.
What size of investment is needed for quality content marketing?
If you’re just looking to get going with some articles and social media texts that you can push out via LinkedIn, Twitter or similar, it’s a comparatively small investment. The first step, however, is to get your content marketing strategy together – doing so will save you money in the long run and ensure better results. Pricing for such a strategy typically ranges from DKK 50,000 to 100,000. If you want to create a blog, produce launch-point content for it and conduct a launch campaign, you’re looking at an investment of anywhere from DKK 200,000 to DKK 600,000.
How long will it take to see positive results from the program?
The speed with which content marketing works is usually directly related to the amount of time and money you spend. Too little investment almost always results in a content marketing initiative that takes one to two years before it really starts working. On the other hand, a carefully thought out strategy can make the most of scarce resources to achieve wild success – just ask us about the blog-centered content marketing activity we created for Arla Foods Ingredients!
Take it to the next level
We already have a blog. Is that all we need to do for content marketing?
A thought leadership blog is a powerful component of any B2B content marketing strategy – but you’ll need to do more than that to maximize the ROI of your content marketing investments. You need to systematically tell the world about your insights and knowhow by spreading the word – this is where social media and influencers come in.
What is marketing automation and how does it fit with content marketing?
There are some pretty slick tools you can use to increase engagement with your content and learn more about your users. Marketing technology lets you automate repetitive tasks, schedule content publication in keeping with your content calendar and better target your personas. Although robots aren’t good at creating compelling content just yet, you can use the latest technology to simplify your content marketing – and we can take care of the writing!
How do we measure the effectiveness of content marketing?
You’ll need to start by determining what success means for your company – right from the top down. Then figure out which key performance indicators (KPIs) would be useful to ensure you’re delivering on those objectives. There are many ways to determine your KPIs, so we suggest talking to cylindr’s content marketing experts to find out what’s best for your needs.
What kind of content delivers maximum effect?
Here’s what you need to focus on: anything that communicates your company’s expertise and/or passionate engagement in bringing value to the world. – And make sure your content is something that
- addresses the pains and gains of your defined personas (part of your content marketing strategy) and
- people will naturally want to share with others.
Shareable, remarkable content generates many times the ROI of boring, company-centered pieces. Yes, it takes more to create, but it is definitely worth it.
Why are some companies successful with content marketing while others are not?
Most B2B companies experience success with content marketing. But how much success can depend on your industry, for example. A niche product in a smaller industry isn’t likely to reach the same size of audience as a product offering that’s applicable to thousands of potential customers around the world. Then there’s the budget, of course, for the ongoing operational side of content marketing. If it’s not big enough, the whole effort won’t deliver sufficient results.
Your best move is to ask cylindr how valuable we think content marketing could be in your situation – or whether you could get more out of other marketing choices.