I spill a lot of ink on the import—in fact, critical—role that content marketing plays in the successful growth of a modern B2B company.
B2B buyers increasingly prefer to research and evaluate solutions online, without revealing their identity until they’re ready to buy.
If your company leans too heavily on traditional, in-person marketing and sales—neglecting or eschewing digital marketing—you won’t be in the running for their business.
But what about competing with companies that are taking content marketing seriously?
When multiple players in your sector are vying for buyers’ digital attention, your company must stand out in the digital domain to win mind share that can eventually be converted into sales.
Content marketing is a powerful tool for gaining a competitive advantage in today's digital B2B landscape
Done right, content marketing is a powerful tool for gaining a competitive advantage in today's digital B2B landscape.
Let’s discuss seven ways that content marketing can be utilized to drive success.
Consistently publishing high-quality, informative content positions your brand as a domain expert in your industry.
By offering valuable insights and expertise, you establish trust and credibility with your audience, which gives you a competitive edge when the audience prefers your content over that of your competitors.
Taking this a step further by publishing original—and even contrarian—opinions and recommendations, you can position your brand as a thought leader.
Thought leaders attract even more attention than domain experts provided their ideas are well-informed and—more often than not—reliable.
You don’t have to be right all the time, but you must occasionally demonstrate insights that others want to follow.
Publishing valuable content is only beneficial if it gets seen by audience members for whom it is helpful.
More organic traffic leads to increased brand exposure and a competitive advantage
Achieving higher visibility in search results means more organic traffic, which leads to increased brand exposure and a competitive advantage over those with weaker content strategies.
The most effective way of improving your search engine rankings is by creating comprehensive, factual content that aligns with relevant keywords.
The domain of search engine optimization is broad and highly technical. Unless your company can afford to hire a full-time SEO expert (or team), it’s important to work with a specialist third-party to get SEO right.
An important element in SEO strategy is monitoring your competitors’ search engine rankings, understanding what types of content they are publishing to get there, and spotting opportunities to fill content gaps or write superior content that ranks even more highly.
The other primary route via which your content will get seen is social media.
Therefore, your company needs a robust social media presence to set it apart from the competition and help build a community around your brand.
The backbone of a strong social media presence is engaging and shareable content. The former keeps audience members coming back for more, while the latter helps spread the word to new audience members.
However, don’t treat social media management as a part-time occupation. The algorithms that determine which pieces of content are shown in the most users’ feeds reward accounts that publish consistently and often.
By publishing valuable content more consistently than its competitors, your company can drive social media engagement, expand its reach, and attract new followers.
Beyond attracting their attention, content marketing allows you to engage with your target audience.
By understanding their needs, preferences, and pain points, you can tailor content that resonates with them.
Done consistently, this will help you build increasingly strong relationships and ultimately turn your audience into loyal customers at the expense of your competition.
To make your content more engaging, think carefully about both substance and style.
Use graphics, video, catchy headlines, punchy prose, and tightly edited structure to hold your audience’s attention.
The more compelling your content, the more memorable it will be and the more likely your audience is to come back in search of additional answers and insights.
Audiences are drawn to brands with distinct personalities.
This requires intentionally selecting and consistently applying brand elements that combine to create the desired personality.
From colors and fonts to imagery, voice, and style, all aspects of your brand must operate harmoniously for its personality to standout.
If your brand is mismatched or inconsistent, the audience won’t be sure which version of your company is going to show up or exactly what it stands for.
A strong brand identity can also be built around compelling storytelling, which evokes emotions and forges a strong connection with your audience’s challenges, needs, and beliefs.
By leveraging storytelling effectively, you can create a unique narrative that resonates with your audience and sets you apart from competitors who lack a sufficiently distinctive brand identity.
Building an engaged audience is, of course, a means to an end. Your ultimate goal is to turn that mind share into market share by winning their business.
This is achieved through nurturing leads by providing them with relevant, valuable content at each stage of their buyer’s journey.
You can establish a competitive advantage by winning customers away from competitors who lack a sufficiently robust and complete content strategy.
To retain customers and turn them into repeat buyers, publish content that addresses the challenges they might face during the implementation phase.
This is where they deploy your solution and turn perceived value into realized value, and where a little help can go along way to earning their loyalty and future business.
Finally, you can gain a competitive advantage by distributing your content more broadly than other players in your sector.
One of the beauties of digital marketing is the ease with which you can repurpose content
One of the beauties of digital marketing is the ease with which you can repurpose content across various channels to maximize its value.
By repackaging content into different formats—for example: e-books, blog posts, social media posts, videos, and infographics—you can reach a wider audience and increase brand exposure, without having to develop additional core concepts.
This requires some up-front planning. Invest the time to build a multi-month editorial calendar that shows when and where each piece and type of content will be distributed.
The time and effort invested will be richly rewarded when your audience sees you “everywhere they go” and begins viewing your brand as a larger, more established player in the market.
Your B2B company can use content marketing to establish a competitive advantage by:
· Building a more authoritative brand
· Developing strong search and social media visibility
· Engaging your target audience with a distinctive brand personality and storytelling that forges an emotional connection
· Nurturing leads to win and retain their business, and
· Maximizing the reach of your content through repurposing.
In combination, these strategies will help your brand standout, even in a competitive digital marketplace.
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Image credits: Adobe Stock