Content marketing describes creating content and sharing online materials that does not explicitly promote a brand but stimulates interest in its products and services. The Content Marketing Association’s (CMA) ‘The Future of B2B’ event brought together some of the industry’s finest B2B minds. Including LinkedIn, Raconteur, and the mind behind Mashable’s Social Media Day.
With 30 trillion pieces of content indexed by Google and the content marketing industry expected to be worth £349 million in the UK by 2020; companies don’t need to produce more content, but better plan how content connects with their target audiences. Audience-led, insightful storytelling, needs to sit at the heart of a content marketing strategy.
With that in mind, here are…
#1 Know your c-suite audience
In Raconteur Custom’s ‘The Elusive C-Suite’ report, research into the content consumption behaviours of the c-suite are investigated. It’s a juicy report full of statistics to ensure that your content gets cut through. Rather positively, 55% of c-suite recognise the important role of content in decision making.
There is a question of credibility though, with 71% considering that most content produced by brands is repetitive, expected, and lacking original thought. To negate this, content marketing programmes should consider how to build influence, find their own voice, be brave and take a point of view, and use design to catch the elusive c-suite eye.
Oh, and 51% prefer to read in-depth and long-form thought leadership pieces. Showing it’s important to invest time in content marketing.
#2 Put culture ahead of content
Consider how to inject culture into your content marketing programme. For example, rather than your brand talking about itself, give other people a platform to speak as your brand. This may involve collaborating with your clients, raising awareness of how they’re using your product or service. Consider how you can tell global stories that are locally relevant to your marketing efforts.
#3 Influencer marketing must be trusted
83% of people would trust recommendations of friends and family over advertising, showing why word of mouth is important. This is one of the reasons why influencer marketing has become such an important paid-for and earned part of content marketing programmes. Online personalities, with subject focuses, can cause effect or change behaviour with their audience.
However, there is a growing challenge of trust around influencer marketing. For example, travel bloggers get paid to review one hotel, and then immediately get paid by the one next door to do the same thing. Often, your best influencers may be right in front of you. Who are the influential members of staff in your business?
#4 Employee advocacy
People have the most trust with influencers they can relate to. Therefore, everyone today is an influencer in some way; especially your employees and clients. For example, if you have 100 employees who all have an average of 300 connections on social media – that’s a potential reach of 30,000. If you’re running a recruitment campaign, then this may be a better option compared with paying for a similar amount of reach.
With the growth of Adblockers being used hampering the impact of online advertising and the challenge of utilising company social media profiles because of the dial-back of organic reach, consider how the trust of your employees could be used to support your organisation.
#5 Don’t dismiss the power of events
Organisations tend to attend events to steal a march on the competition or to learn new things, sometimes out of fear (for example, to learn about new regulation). However, events can also be an excellent opportunity to capture content for your marketing programme. Consider interviewing non-competitive exhibitors about industry trends or providing a write-up post-event to position yourself as a thought leader.
#6 Consider the impact of dark social
Fear not, ‘dark social’ isn’t an underhand practice. Instead it describes the challenge of measuring the impact of social media outside of analytics programmes. For example, sharing an article by directly copying and pasting the link from an address bar, rather than clicking on social sharing buttons.
Whilst it’s good news that people are sharing your brand’s content, always keep in mind that some people may be sharing your content in unmeasurable, ‘dark’ places such as email, WhatsApp or SnapChat. This term also extends to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), such as when Google features snippets from your website in search results or a voice assistant relays information from your website, as both will avoid someone visiting your website.
#7 LinkedIn is still B2B content marketing king
The CMA event ended with a B2B content marketing reality check with a rock-inspired presentation from Jason Miller, Head of Content & Social at LinkedIn. Debunking the myth that our audiences only have a concentration span of 8 seconds, Jason demonstrated through practical experiences what content marketing should look like today.
By publishing a mixture of how-to, editorial, and research content, Jason’s team could better target their LinkedIn content marketing programme. Ultimately posting less, but investing in higher quality content that resulted in traffic and product conversations to go up. Their biggest stat? 31 million unique visitors to the LinkedIn website acquired.
We’re delighted that Lansons has become the first PR consultancy member of the CMA; learning, sharing, and growing with the rest of the content marketing industry. And most importantly, applying our expertise and sharing insider knowledge with our clients.