This post was originally distributed within our Substack newsletter
Why should you invest time and effort in content marketing? That’s a general question, not one of the four we’re going to discuss, asked by leaders in many businesses.
Here are four scoping questions to help address that wider issue:
In the days of yore (pre-pandemic, but maybe a lot longer ago than that), your answer might have been they meet us at a trade show, they see us in an industry magazine, or our salesperson visits their office. Today, while each of those is still a possibility, the dominant answer is via the internet.
Which begs a follow up question: How do prospective buyers discover you exist using the internet?
What questions are they trying to answer? What search terms do they use? How does that bring them to your website?
Content marketing strategically places information that you author in places where those prospects will find it when they search on relevant topics.
Without it, you’re relying on less effective, outdated approaches and buyers will be more likely to find your competition than find you.
Returning to the days of yore, the answer used to be that they spoke with your salesperson, who guided them toward the features and benefits of your products.
Today, the answer — again — is via the internet.
Prospects hate dealing with salespeople. Instead, they prefer to do their research in stealth mode, gathering and analyzing information about competing solutions and only revealing themselves once they’re about to make a purchase.
Content marketing equips them with both the information they need to perform that analysis and guidance on how to properly compare competing solutions. It helps them make an informed choice that’s right for their situation.
If you don’t put this information out there, someone else will. That’s called handing over the keys to your market.
Are you comfortable putting everything there is to know about your product onto your website?
Many people baulk at publishing in-depth specs, pricing details, and manufacturing processes. They consider this confidential information that should only be revealed if absolutely necessary when negotiating a sale.
In reality, all of that information is out there somewhere. The power and reach of the internet means that users can readily combine snippets of data into a comprehensive picture of your business. And they’ll fill in the blanks if you don’t publish the answers for them.
Doesn’t sharing this information make it easier for copycats to compete with you? Sure, if keeping that information secret is your only differentiator. Besides, people talk. If someone wants to know the inner workings of your business, they will figure it out.
Being transparent and helpful to your buyer is far more powerful than opacity and mystique. Content marketing helps you earn your buyers trust, demonstrate industry leadership, and win mind share that turns into market share, once they’re ready to buy.
Marketing, sales, and customer success teams are no longer effective when they act in isolation. Today, revenue operations is the vogue term for everything your company does to attract, engage, convert, and retain its customers.
Those customers need relevant, helpful information at every stage of their buying journey. From evaluating solutions to making a purchase to getting the most out of your product, buying more, and becoming an advocate for your brand. Each stage calls for different information shared in different ways.
Your team should have that information in hand, ready to share, in formats that suit and delight your prospects and customers. Whenever they have to “cobble something together,” it’s a missed opportunity and costs your company both time and credibility.
Content marketing goes beyond publishing a weekly blog or some helpful webpages. An organized, audited, evergreen content library makes your whole team more productive and keeps your customers engaged and buying more.
If you feel good about the four questions, congratulations — you have a good handle on content marketing. Keep going!
If something made you uneasy or pointed to a gap in your content marketing strategy, decide what steps you can take to make things better. Needless to say, we’re here to help.
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We're also looking for guest posts by B2B content marketing experts and practitioners. Email us your ideas and we'll be in touch.
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Thank you for reading!
~ Team MessageUp