In a marketing environment where 140 characters can become front-page news and brand recognition can be driven by a hash-tagged phrase, how is content marketing accounting for over a quarter of marketing budgets in B2B organizations?
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s recent article How to Reach the C-Suite with Content, it’s all about credibility. Establishing credibility is crucial in developing relationships with clients or prospects. That is even truer in selling environments where what is being sold is not within one tangible package but in a scalable, arguably abstract service agreement, with hefty price tags. The sale in these cases is based on expertise and trust.
At this level, we are talking about delivering on what could be a multi-year contract with pages of specifics. The confidence of the prospect cannot be instilled just through more traditional marketing communications efforts.
Do You Trust Me?
Insights in the form of articles, blog posts, white papers and other content-rich mediums can offer a prospect the answer to a question that most traditional advertising mediums cannot: Do you know what you are talking about and am I confident that you can, and will, do that for my organization?
The proof precedes the promise.
For example, American Express (Amex) was forever known as a credit card company. They have mastered content marketing with Open Forum, the hub for small business owners where they can access tools and insights that are highly relevant to their business—many of which tie directly to Amex products. This gives them the status of an expert on small businesses (even expert enough to pull in other third party content).
Behavior Change with Content Marketing
So it is probably not shocking that content can be a crucial marketing tool when put in the right hands, but to actually make the audience act on that content, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- They need to find it. If you aren’t sending directly to your prospect (or even if you are), make sure all the information is easily found through SEO and other clear mediums to make sure it is accessible and easy to pass along.
- You aren’t the only expert. Acknowledge, and even include, the other subject matter experts relevant to your audience. Leverage third-party content as appropriate to further validate your point of view. Of course, make sure you have permission.
- It’s not just an FYI. Keeping your clients and prospects “in the know” is great and can help keep them happy and loyal, but to actually make the sale, it’s important the audience clearly knows where to act.
- Don’t be cliché. OK, so this is as much a personal favor to me as it is just a good thing not to do. You’ll notice I avoided saying anything so overused as “content is king” in this whole post …
… it really is, though. Don’t you agree?
Source: Content Marketing Institute