Content marketing is essential for B2B businesses providing both qualitative and quantitative returns. And while 6 in 10 marketers are planning to increase content marketing spends this year, success-rates still vary greatly as it’s a new concept for most.
Maria Pergolino, director of marketing for Marketo (a TopRank Online Marketing client) shared a presentation at the Marketo User Summit on getting the message out, focused on social media and content marketing tips/tricks.
How do you succeed in content marketing?
- Create content that sells
- Create a content map
- Optimize content for search
- Repurpose content
- Learn to succeed even in situations with little or no content
We need content for nurturing, as a lead solution, for lead scoring and risk mitigation. A lot of people don’t even consider the risk mitigation aspect – by publishing content and making people feel like your company is providing great information and is a leader, they’ll choose you. Without content, you’ll never even have the chance to be found.
What is content?
Content is not just white papers – it’s videos, it’s blog posts, it’s real-time updates, it’s FAQs. B2B businesses need to think beyond just white papers. Early when people are just learning about your product they are looking for different types of content. For example, early in the buying cycle they may find you through blog posts. Later on, they want demo videos or perhaps reinforcement about their decision from an analyst or third party.
The bottom line: you need to carefully consider all the pieces of content you’ll need to create throughout the buying cycle.
6 rules of great content:
- Relevant to reader
- Closes a gap
- Relevant to your company
- Gives proof
And – equally important – don’t forget to promote. Good content is not enough – you should be using a mix of channels from email and social media to PR and search engine marketing to promote your content. You have to help it spread, good content isn’t going to get anywhere on its own. You have to do everything you can to put the right material in front of the right people at the right time.
Free your content
Many B2B marketers will only put content up behind a login form. But, you should actually use forms only when you really need them. Consider removing forms from early stage content in order to make it accessible and get others to share it. It’s so much more important early-stage content gets in the hands of everyone because even if it’s not directly applicable to them, they may share it with the right people at an organization. Further, with forms use only what you really need on them – asking less is key to getting more form completes.
Secret to testing with content: even though testing on the web is pretty easy, you still need to know exactly what you’re testing for.
Content mapping is a vital part of the process – consider segmenting content for different buying stages – early through late. Further, you also need to consider buying profiles when developing content, including industry, role, company size and geography.
When you do map, keep the following in mind:
- Map your existing content
- Blank cells determine your content roadmap
- Short content is good and can be very effective, don’t always create long format content
- Test and optimize
- Start small, think big and adapt quickly
Optimize for search
Optimize your whole site categorically it for search.
- Instead of grouping by “video, article and white paper” group by specific keyword concept
- Optimize keywords in content, meta descriptions and title tag
- Ensure meta descriptions aren’t just for search engines, make them compelling so users actually click through
If you’re going to create content, it is imperative you optimize it so people actually see it. There’s no reason if you’re creating content online you shouldn’t consider search – it’s too important a channel to ignore.
Making content social
Add ratings, comments and ability to sort in order to let users decide the most popular content on your site. Further, ensure you have share and bookmarking options on all content (and to networks that matter to your users).
Consider that social media is also more than just Twitter and Facebook. Find the areas that are most important to your brand in social channels and spend your time there. In many cases it may not be the most popular networks, especially if you are in more obscure categories.
Social sharing – customize your emails and landing pages so they have social options. If you’re driving a lot of push traffic to pages, do everything you can to increase organic traffic as well.
Social validation – adds transparency and credibility for your brand. If people are saying good things, leverage them as social proof by re-using them in other marketing materials and making sure they are visibility to prospects. This can include quotes, endorsements, subscriber numbers, etc.
Social monitoring – start by monitoring the most popular social media sites, but figure out a way to monitor across platforms. Make the best use of alerts and be sure you keep queries running on the terms that matter.
Final takeaway – learn the three 3’s R’s of content optimization:
Reorganize – take old content and be sure it’s organized and categorized. If you remove a landing page, for example, be sure to redirect it (and use 301 redirects).
Rewrite – Rewrite content into different formats so you have maximum impact across channels. For example, a webinar becomes a SlideShare becomes a blog post. Optimize each for slight variations on the same topic.
Retire – when content is dated, be sure to archive but it does not need to be actively promoted any longer. Move on to creating additional fresh, relevant content.
Bonus – Marketo actually published the presentation on SlideShare during the talk, which I thought was quite clever as it provided immediate context to the Tweets at the conference. We’ve embedded it below to share the above concepts visually: