Content marketing has changed the fundamentals of marketing in recent years, with the most notable changes happening in the B2B hemisphere. Now, we as B2B marketers have gone beyond the traditional ‘Brand awareness straight to lead generation’ methodologies, and new stages have been introduced to the buying cycle. These stages go through the standards of audience education – getting individuals who can identify with your brand to know who it is you help, and to generate interest.
Previously in B2B this role was very much made with an introductory phone call by a sales representative, and where telemarketing can still be effective, the audience can now research your brand. As you need to control as much as you can, including what they read. Here are the questions you need to ask yourself before you start content marketing and how you can find the answers.
Who are they?
This is marketing 101. Who are your target audience? Once that’s identified, consider who the specific piece of content is aimed at. This will allow you to speak directly to them and start to plan your content distribution alongside that.
What do they know?
What do you communicate regularly and what opinions do you want to change? If you don’t know, trial a survey and get involved with a media partner to analyse their readership. once you’re able to identify this, you know what message you want to go out with.
What do they need to know?
There are two ways of playing this, the first is the PR route. Have you released a new product, are you going to an event or have you made a fantastic new appointment. You may want to communicate these, but you need value as well as news.
Where this value comes is in the why behind the content. Showcase your internal expertise, shjow the latest applications and how you’re changing the world. This content always lasts longer than the PR news bullshit, and has a shelf life.
How can you communicate it to them?
We’re talking mediums.
What ideas would be the best, and most effective. Then which are the most realistic. I’d love to be able to create a daily video, but you have to work up to it. Start with blogs, the occasional video. This to what content mediums are missing from your industry? That’s a good place to start.
Who else will you reach?
The idea with this content isn’t just to educate people who know about you, it’s to reach the wider community of people who don’t and educate them about your excellence. Consider distributing this content not only to your audience but the wider circle of media partners, through other blogging sites and media partners.
What are the next steps?
Make it clear what you want users to do next. Add a clear call to action about what you want users to do next.
These are the top level questions, each has a tier below where the answers get a lot more specific depending on industries and your own organisation. What do you find helps you when producing thought leadership content to educate your audience? I’d love to know.