Press releases, articles, blogs, case studies, whitepapers, even radio and TV interviews – they’re all forms of content marketing.
But what this new buzz phrase does do is remind us of the importance of high quality, relevant content. And in the world of B2B technology, where the buying cycle is long and complex, it’s vital.
Before a decision-maker picks up the phone to talk to you about your product or service (i.e. before your sales team can work its magic) they do their own research, usually online.
And that’s where ‘content marketing’ finds its place. It helps you start and slowly build a relationship with your prospects long before they are ready to pick up the phone and talk to your sales team.
Be where your audience is
According to clichéd marketing legend, it takes seven ‘touches’ before a message sinks in or brand awareness is achieved. I think seven is a rather conservative number. Think about how many of your prospects read seven of your marketing emails in a row? How many really noticed your web banners seven times? Or read seven full press releases?
And that’s assuming every piece of content is relevant and valuable to that prospect! The more content you have, with as a wide a range of angles as you can manage, on the platforms that your audience frequently uses, the more likely you are to achieve true brand awareness over time, and the more likely your audience is to remember (and trust) your brand when they are ready to buy.
Write about what your audience cares about – not what you’re selling
Can you say without a doubt that your marketing content is created with your audience in mind? Or do you make it up as you go to suit product launches or meet monthly sales targets? I’m not saying that this type of content is bad, just that it’s of minimal use to prospects who are still working out that they need a new service provider, software solution, etc. At their stage in the buying cycle, they’d benefit more from an easy-to-understand product guide, a whitepaper that helps them frame their problem more clearly, or a well-placed press release or case study.
The key is to ensure that you are producing enough of the right content to help your audience through every stage in the buying cycle.
Of course, the added benefit of all this content is that it makes social media much easier to keep updated, and by repurposing or linking to it in blog posts, you’ll boost your SEO too.
If you’d like to read more about the relationship between PR and content marketing, this article from The Guardian is a good place to start. Or if you’d like to explore what a content marketing strategy could look like for your business, give us a call – we’d be happy to share thoughts with you.
If you already have a content marketing plan, we’d love to hear how it’s going so please leave us a comment below!