A documented content marketing strategy is a requirement for a successful B2B marketing campaign. Despite this, most B2B content marketers don’t have one. Content marketing lends itself to a fairly casual, fast-and-loose marketing approach. Compared to other marketing strategies, content marketing has a very low barrier to entry and can be pivoted easily, allowing a marketer to move with agility from one focus to another. But that doesn’t mean that a lack of a strategy is harmless or desirable. A lack of strategy leaves many marketers aimless and confused as to whether their strategy is even working.
Personality and attitude are the cornerstone of any content marketing campaign. A B2B marketing campaign offers the opportunity to develop a feeling of company culture through their content. Because let’s face it: there’s a lot of content out there. Unless the company is producing something compelling or unique, it’s likely to get lost in the froth.
A company’s culture is more than brief missives from the executives. Everyone in the company must be on-board and moving in the same direction. On social platforms such as LinkedIn, essential company employees should maintain their own profiles in a professional and engaging manner. Executives must remain active in all levels of their corporate structure, creating a trickle-down company philosophy.
Companies of all industries are finding their content marketing results… a little lackluster. That’s not because content marketing doesn’t work: it’s because their content doesn’t work. With B2C marketing, there’s some wiggle room available. Consumers usually don’t know the ins and outs of an industry, and you can produce fairly generic content that is still educational to them. But B2B content is different.
B2B content is often targeted at experts within a certain industry — or, at very least, individuals who have a basic knowledge of the product or service. These are professionals who do a great deal of reading within the industry and will notice repetitive, generic or just plain wrong content. Consequently, B2B marketers have to invest more time and money into the creation of truly valuable, interesting and informative content creation.
LinkedIn offers B2B marketers a unique advantage: they can market directly to an audience already interested in their product. When dealing with consumers, marketers have to toe the line between aggressive and assertive. Consumers are highly resistant to advertising through social media networks, as their primary goal is to interact with friends and family members. There is no such conflict on LinkedIn, where the vast majority of professionals are openly looking for new opportunities.
That isn’t to say other social media platforms aren’t worthwhile. Facebook and Twitter are both still fantastic advertising avenues — but they lend themselves more easily to B2C advertising. Tumblr, in particular, is a platform that is extraordinarily powerful for B2C advertising but rarely used for B2B messaging. Trying to market on these platforms can be a little like swimming upstream.
Following Your Competition
Corporate espionage and intrigue is easier than ever through social media. Obviously, it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as that. But following your competition can give you both leads and inspiration. Without comprehensive knowledge of your competitor’s strategies and status, you’ll never know exactly where you fall in comparison. And you might find yourself falling behind them in relevancy.
In the area of content marketing, you can’t know whether you’re providing true value to others within your industry unless you know what your competitors are putting out there. And it’s almost certain that professionals within your field are already tracking your biggest competitors. Move your content into areas that your competitors aren’t covering — and if you have to retread similar ground, make sure that your content is better.
How does B2B content marketing differ from B2C content marketing? Mostly in the audience. Though the audience is more receptive to your marketing, they are also more knowledgeable about your industry. Your marketing campaign will gain traction more easily within your audience, but only if you are truly providing value. Competition will be more aggressive but, at the same time, leads will be more likely to come directly to you and more willing to engage. In short, it’s better in some ways but more challenging in others.