3. Crafting content that connects
Edd Southerden, head of planning at Bray Leino, said “I worry that marketing is becoming a glorified arm of the sales team… too focused on short-term outcomes… obsessed with statistics the finance people can understand. That’s not where the value is.” And we completely agree. There’s an all too common misconception about B2B content marketing that suggests we become different people when we get into work. We’re suddenly unemotional and respond only to facts and figures. That nonsense is the reason an overwhelming amount of B2B marketing is lacklustre and ineffective. We’re still human beings, driven by emotion and impulse, when we’re at work.
The ultimate goal of any content is to connect with your firm’s target audience and form a loyal community around it that can then be converted into leads. To do that, you’ll need more than just a blog tacked onto your firm’s site. Every firm has one. You won’t stand out by adding another aimless article to the mix. No, what you need is a big idea to radically transform the landscape – and to do that, you need a clear, strong content strategy from that start.
To start, we’d recommend referring back to your customer research and ensure you understand them inside out. Who are they? What are their interests? Where do they reside? You must have a crystal clear understanding of who you’re communicating to and what’s most important to them. It’s vital to cover these basics. You could be creating the best content in the world, but if it’s targeted at the wrong audience, it won’t have any effect at all. Provide value to your target audience with your content and you’ll soon see the engagement flooding in.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What would you want to see? What would be helpful? What would be entertaining? What would enrich you? Try to come up with 3-5 content pillars that cover these areas. By laying out these core topics, they’ll guide every piece of content you create and ensure it’s always relevant. For a financial services firm, content pillars could be anything from topical advice for SMEs to comments on industry trends. Once you have established your pillars, you can begin creating content that fits into each; this can include anything from whitepapers and blog posts to podcasts and explainer videos.
Remember how we just spoke about ensuring you make content that’s relevant to your target audience? ‘You could be creating the best content in the world, but if it’s targeted at the wrong audience, it won’t have any effect at all.’ The same goes for content distribution! We think this quote from Jonathan Perelman, VP of Agency Strategy and Industry Development at BuzzFeed, sums it up perfectly: “Content is king, but distribution is queen. And she wears the pants.” Distribution is so important because you need to ensure your audience actually sees your content.
You need to go where your audience is. That means returning back to your audience analysis and defining which platform (or platforms) would be most effective. If you’re targeting several different groups, then it’s sensible to segment up your audience and be specific about the channels you use. If you’re looking for C-Suite professionals, post to LinkedIn. If you’re after small business owners, tackle Facebook or Instagram. The three things to ask are: Who do you want to reach? What are you trying to achieve? And when is best to publish? Take all of that into consideration and you’re good to go.