What is all the fuss about content marketing?

What is all the fuss about content marketing?Did you know that in the last hour alone you were probably exposed to more than 200 branded messages [1]? That’s 200 different companies all fighting for your attention. Most people learn to adapt to this onslaught by shutting off their receptors to traditional marketing methods like advertisements and logos. And the B2B world is no different, with marketers working hard to get the attention of business decision-makers.

The only way for marketers to successfully engage and influence their audiences in this noisy environment is to find a way to stand out.

The solution is content.

Good content is one of the most powerful ways for marketers to engage and influence people, and to make their brand more relevant to potential customers. Strong content can provide a different perspective on brand exposure by telling stories that offer value and relevance. It closes the gap between exposure and engagement.

So what is content marketing?

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of relevant and compelling content to engage a clearly-defined and -understood target audience. The content itself can take many forms, from visuals like infographics, images and videos to written materials like case studies, blogs and social media posts.

Content marketing requires commitment and strategic development. Its aim is to deliver long-term benefit to clients, so it can’t be viewed as a quick or stand-alone tactic.

Because content marketing is based on storytelling, it adds value by delivering information and education so that consumers or business decision-makers can become more intelligent buyers. Ideally, this will lead buyers to perceive your brand as the expert to deliver future value to their business.

For B2B buyers, content is key given 60 per cent of decisions are made before engaging with a sales person[2].

Five key types of content marketing:

Whitepapers – authoritative reports or guides that help readers to understand an issue, solve a problem or make a decision. A successful whitepaper establishes thought leadership and informs and educates the reader, usually regarding a particular technology, product or method that is superior for solving a specific business problem.

Case studies – generally descriptive, exploratory or explanatory pieces that tell the story of how a product, service or event either came about or helped a customer achieve their business goals. Case studies provide insight for buyers into how a company can help them. Case studies can even highlight a particular thought leader within a business to help convey the businesses capabilities.

Videos – offer a visual perspective of content generally in the form of tutorials, demonstrations or customer testimonials to accompany or help leverage a product or service. They can sometimes be merged with how-to-guides. Video is seen to be on the rise with a recent survey finding 73 per cent of B2B marketers finding YouTube an effective method for sharing content, up from 53 per cent since last year[3].

How-to-guides – this type of content marketing takes a buyer through a how-to process, delivering value by providing free education or training. How-to-guides are often delivered as blogs or as video tutorials.

Infographics – are visual representations of information, data and facts that help illustrate a particular topic, product, concept, service or trend. The aim of an infographic is to present a complex idea or information set quickly and clearly. Well-designed infographics are attractive and easy to read and understand.

Why is content marketing suddenly so popular?

Actually, content marketing has been around for years but it is only recently that we are starting to see the kind of high-quality content that is engaging and compelling, and generates results. More importantly, good content marketing offers something of value for free, demonstrating the value that your company can offer.

Beware of bad content

A word of warning. If good content is the strongest weapon in the marketing arsenal, then bad content is the weakest. Content that fails to impart knowledge or entertainment can backfire, causing potential buyers to avoid your company rather than engage with it. Do not be fooled into thinking that any content will suffice. Your content must be compelling, well-executed and high-quality for it to have a positive impact.

Content marketing is a specialist field that requires the right strategy, a high level of commitment and, of course, excellent content. If you’re not sure where to start or if you need a partner to help you implement your existing content marketing strategy, Outsource can help. We’ve been delivering successful content marketing campaigns to technology businesses for 27 years. For a confidential discussion, contact us today on 02 9252 2266.

[1] Story, L. Anywhere the Eye Can See, It’s Likely to See an Ad. The New York Times, Jan 15 2007.

[2] Gillum, S. The Disappearing Sales Process. Forbes, July 1 2013.

[3] Cameron, N. Video content gains popularity with B2B marketers. CMO, September 13 2013.