More than eight out of ten B2B marketers now employ content marketing to build brand awareness, generate and nurture leads, showcase their thought leadership, and engage with their customers, according to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Trends Report from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs.
That means that the competition for the attention of your intended audience keeps getting tougher. What’s a content marketer to do? We suggest the five Ps of content marketing: passion, purpose, process, promotion, and practice.
Want to capture someone’s attention? Tell a story. Before your readers were your buyers they were (and still are) human beings, and human beings are hardwired to listen to stories. Research shows that listening to stories actually makes us feel better because when we listen to stories, our brains release oxytocin and that makes us feel good. Better yet, tell a story about something you really believe in. Take a stand. Make a difference. Doug Kessler, author of “Crap, the Single Biggest Threat to B2B Content Marketing,” calls emotion “the magic ingredient for home-run content marketing.”
You know the feeling when you wake up and you realize it’s going to be a good day because you’re going to get something done? Your content marketing needs that kind of energy and direction, too. It needs purpose. It needs a reason for being. Research shows nearly half of all B2B content marketers don’t have a documented content strategy. That’s like picking up a rental car in an unfamiliar city and trying to find your hotel by feel. Sure, you might find some great neighborhoods, but you still aren’t going to get to your destination. Figure out who you want to talk to. Find out what keeps them up at night. Know how you can help them. And then do it.
Creating content takes a lot of effort; creating good content takes even more. Don’t waste your time and everyone else’s. Get a plan. An editorial calendar and good project brief for each piece of content will go a long way toward helping your team focus on their part of the process and create work they can be proud of.
You can create really great stuff but if no one reads it, views it, clicks on it, shares it, or downloads it, you’re still not getting anywhere (unless your purpose was just to create great stuff, in which case you’re not really doing content marketing). Find out where your audience is and point them to your content. Try a mix of paid, earned and owned channels, and don’t leave the results to chance. Try new channels and new formats. Test your options. Challenge your assumptions. Learn how to put together a test plan and learn from your successes and your mistakes.
Are you a words person or a numbers person? Chances are good that if you are a content marketer, you’re more familiar with writing and design programs than spreadsheets and analytics. But numbers are your friend — you get what you measure. Learn which metrics will prove your progress and then monitor them. Are you looking to generate new leads? Pay attention to the number of people who complete your registration forms and track how long it takes for them to take a call from your sales team. Looking to increase engagement with your existing customers? Track the number of shares and likes you get in forums and communities and pay attention to who’s opening your email updates. Know your numbers and your numbers, in turn, will tell you what you need to do more of and where you need to improve.
Want to learn more about the 5 Ps of content marketing? View our on-demand webinar, Building a Blueprint for B2B Content Marketing Success now.