The buzz word, and concept, for 2015 was ‘content marketing’.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

It is the necessary evolution of that nasty, nasty word ‘viral’.  That is what inexperienced marketing and company executives wanted to happen to their campaigns, and many a poor brief was given to an agency to ‘make it so it goes viral’ *shudder*.

What those marketing and company executives missed and what we understand today is that content marketing is not about the brand or the product, but about the customer.

For it to be about the customer, marketers and agency creatives need to put aside their egos and think about what sort of content will benefit their audience. It is the art of communicating without selling, you aren’t pitching your awesomeness, you are instead building your customer’s knowledge bank, building their expertise and their engagement – all to make them more knowledgeable.

And content marketing is big business.

$118.4b was spent on content marketing, video marketing and social media in 2013 worldwide.

Content marketing can take the form of:

  • blog posts
  • e-books
  • podcasts
  • email newsletters
  • videos
  • webinars
  • social media posts

With the ease of digital publishing, it is possible for people and brands to become niche publishers in their own right, developing content that their customers will like and share.

But like all forms of marketing is imperative that the message in your content marketing is right – for the audience and the channel.  It isn’t about developing one message, one concept and pushing it across all the channels.

A prospective customer subscribing to your blog is interested in building knowledge over time – you don’t need one post to say it all.  You can build a narrative over time.

A prospective customer downloading an e-book is almost certainly in the research phase of a project – they are looking to become experts in the solution to their problem within their own organisation.  They want an e-book that they can download and consume at a time and pace that suits them, with statistics and case studies that allow them to refer back to the book.

A webinar subscriber is probably further down the research process and is looking for an opportunity to consume content and ask ‘anonymous’ questions.

These three examples might all be of the one customer researching their next Point of Sale (POS) system.

Through your content you will want to demonstrate:

  • POS trends in various countries
  • how real-time POS reporting can benefit your stockturn
  • how an updated POS system can positively impact the bottom line
  • case studies of implementation including timelines
  • interviews with Operations Managers, Regional Managers and Store Managers who use your product
  • your POS system in action

The message needs to be crafted for each step of the journey, for each piece of separate content.

As you move through these pieces of content you will see that they become more specific and tailored to your product, but they started as broad knowledge pieces to educate your audience on the sector, problem and solution.

What content marketing are you doing in the B2B space at the moment?  How do you handle the messaging?

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