No matter how good your content is, it won’t get a return on investment if it can’t be found. Found by the search engines, by people using the search engines or social media, and even by your prospects visiting your website.
Studies show that marketers in general are working very hard to be visible. On average they use eight different tactics to get the attention of prospects. The graphic below from CMI’s B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends gives a breakdown of content marketing tactics across industries (not just technology).
But it isn’t just about the tactics. As much, or more, important is targeting the content to the right people across multiple tactics.
You need to find out where your prospects hang out on the Internet: The websites they visit for articles they trust, LinkedIn Groups, or even more specific forums where they interact and share information and ideas. And of course you need your own content targeted to specific keywords so the search engines find you.
Another point the graphic from CMI makes is that your competition knows all this too. You’ll have to work even harder to create good content that gets noticed - and remembered.
Increasing Budgets, More Content, More Tactics
Where Does the Time Go?
Did you increase your budget for content marketing in 2012? 60% of B2B marketers did according to CMI. That means there will be more content, flooding more of the tactics that your prospects rely on.
Even with an increased budget, creating and marketing content takes time - and that is something you can’t get more of. Creating content, or enough content, that is relevant and compelling takes research. Not only on your products and services but on your prospects current questions, needs, or even desires. Packaging that research into something your prospects want to read and share (and also gets you noticed) is time consuming.
But that is only the beginning.
To be effective you need to have a strategy that focuses on all the possible tactics that you think will generate the most leads, increased brand awareness, or engagement with prospects - whatever your goal is for the campaign. All of this stretches your most valuable resource: time. Perhaps you even have a white paper, or two - or twenty, that are languishing on your website from lack of attention. There just isn’t enough time to go around.
Maybe that is why 62% of marketers used outsourcing for their content marketing in 2011.
The need for managing all the content, tactics, and research created a new type of specialist:
The Content Marketer.
So how is this marketer different?
Let’s find out.
Taking Cues from the Buyers
Giving the customer what they want is an old axiom marketers live by. A content marketer, on the other hand, discovers not only what your prospects want, but
- What they want to know about it,
- When they want to know about it (in terms of the buy cycle), and
- How they want to find out about it (the channel or tactic)
This combination creates relevant content that is compelling to the targeted prospects. When done correctly the process delivers just the content your prospects want, right when they are looking for it. (with a little help from marketing automation
). And of course the content drives prospects to you - via a landing page, event registration, direct sales, or enquiry.
If you look around on the Internet you’ll find that everyone now claims to be a content marketer. But are they? How do you go about choosing the right content marketing company?
Obviously there are many things to consider. But if you are an IT vendor, reseller or Tech PR firm you’ll want to pick someone with access to IT decision makers, experience marketing content to them, and a track record of results based on performance.