Everyone seems to be writing about content marketing these days – and that’s great. All B2B companies should be embracing this strategic movement – and there are thousands of articles, studies and statistics out there that validate the value and the potential impact that content marketing can have when it comes to engaging prospects, customers and partners.
This article focuses on the significant perspective shifts required to truly take advantage of content marketing in this brave new world - and it starts with accepting the fact that marketing is trending from a focus on singular assets to narrative arcs.
Perspective Shift #1: Great Content vs. Slick Content Containers
The first thing B2B marketers must acknowledge is that there is no ‘determined path’ that prospects or customers follow these days. Instead, the prospect or customer journey tends to start at places that your brand does not control. A company website site is typically the last place an interested prospect or customer will go first for information or education on a particular topic. Instead, prospects and customers are more likely to turn to third party sites, social networks and industry communities or recommended destinations from peers.
It is "out here" where the typically customer journey begins and where initial impressions are made. As a result, B2B marketers should spend less time and budget building a beautiful information containers (your website/your promotional site that houses information assets) – and instead spend that time and budget on building information assets that can live everywhere, be discovered in multiple ways and be shared among colleagues and peers because of their perceived value.
Perspective Shift #2: Content Assets Empower Great Decisions
Prospects and customers seek information to help them make great decisions, period. Your brand has great insights and perspectives. Embrace that knowledge and point of view. Be informative and actionable. Leverage your content to create relevant stories that can live across channels and across devices. Take your story and share it in multiple ways – from an Infographic and a video to an E-book, a sales tool and whitepaper. In short, develop and package content that is customer focused, carries your distinct brand voice, highlights relevant insights and helps viewers make actionable decisions.
Let's face it - every prospect or customer is not ready to read a 45-page whitepaper or watch a 12-minute case study video. But that does not mean they are not interested in the content. All it means is that they are not willing to invest that time and effort at this particular moment in time, for whatever reason. So, make it easier for them to interact with your content and your point of view. Take those longer-form information assets and create an Infographic, an E-book, or a shorter-form motion graphics videos to highlight key points and to drive engagement.
Perspective Shift #3: Create Knowledge Profiles instead of Customer Profiles
Develop a methodology that aligns your editorial themes to your audience. Create knowledge profiles instead of customer profiles by considering your brand’s technology leadership, your customer’s persona data and your customer’s business needs. Then, align those profiles against the content assets that you develop to move each distinct prospect and customer group down the pathway from consideration to purchase.
Here is an example of how to put this strategic approach to work for you.