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One of the key areas covered in our B2B Digital Marketing Trends Briefing is that of content marketing.
Built on the views and experiences of B2B marketers who attended Digital Cream London in March this year, one point that was recognised by all was the importance of effective content when looking to become visible on the web.
Whilst at the event, we asked marketers for their insight into content marketing and strategy.
Creating content is hard, so give the content legs
The first challenge mentioned by B2B marketers was that content marketing is resource intensive. One participant stated that the content marketing and promotion for one event took three months to prepare. This led to a discussion on strategies to make content creation and publication more effective.
One strategy suggested by one marketer was that lengthy, informative documents can be spun off into numerous pieces of content to extend the shelf life of such content. An example would be a shareholder report, which could have its key findings explained over multiple articles on a blog or company website.
One piece of advice shared by moderator Catherine Toole, CEO of Sticky Content was (remembered with the mnemonic COPE):
Give the content legs. Create Once, Publish Everywhere.
Such an approach not only extends the shelf life of previously created content. Spinning off content reduces the amount of time and effort required to create new material as there is already an original work on which to base content.
However, this doesn't mean content should be simply rehashed; rather, content marketers should use the original content to look for interesting perspectives related that stands on its own merits.
To share an example from Econsultancy, below is a screenshot from Google Analytics to show the effect of having six blog posts spread out over five weeks on the page views of two particular reports.
Whilst the first two posts are the most popular, the succession of following posts reignites interest. It also keeps the long-tail effect of the content ‘fatter’, ensuring that the trickle of traffic in later weeks or months stays heavier than if only one post was released.
Govern the content after release
Effective governance can increase engagement and add value to the content.
As mentioned on the table, whilst companies often do well with planning, creating, and delivering content, they then fail to effectively govern the content after publication. There are a range of questions to be answered.
How should the impact of the content be monitored? How can its shelf life be extended? Who is in charge of the content once it has been delivered?
By answering these questions, the effectiveness of the original piece of content can be enhanced and improved.
Don't let ambition cripple efforts before you begin
One problem that some B2B marketers face with content marketing is that at the beginning, the task can look daunting.
With so many pages online, multiple channels to choose from and manage (e.g. blog, Facebook, Twitter), and the increasing competitiveness of keywords on Google, some marketers may hold back from a content marketing plan because they set goals that are too ambitious.
However, marketers should aim for constant, incremental improvements rather than creating one-off, large scale, and difficult to execute campaigns.
The long term benefits of effective B2B content marketing
As highlighted in Econsultancy's B2B Content Marketing Best Practice Guide, there are numerous benefits to effective content marketing.
These include increased brand awareness, quality lead generation, lead management and nurturing (by guiding prospects through the buying process with targeted content), customer retention, and earning long term influence through thought leadership.
In the same way that lead times within the B2B space can be long term, B2B content marketing should be thought of in the same way. By pacing out a stream of relevant content, prospects can be continuously led through the decision making and buying process through content that is relevant to them.
Are you a digital marketer working in the B2B space? What challenges have you had with content marketing? How have you been successful? Is there anything you would recommend for others?
Please share your experiences in the comments below.