The Importance of Content in Inbound B2B Marketing

Lynda St-Arneault – 22 November 2011

This blog post is the first of a three-part series that covers the topic of inbound marketing. Parts 2 and 3 in this series will debut in the coming weeks. The current post discusses the central role that content plays in inbound marketing.

Just to re-cap: Inbound marketing integrates various tactics such as social networks, with tools such as blogs and websites and technologies (both paid tools and free ones) into an organic and measurable whole in which the generation of content is the main driving force.

The source of inbound marketing is the joining together of three distinct components:

According to everything we have read t or heard about, “content is king.” But beyond this familiar expression, which really speaks for itself, there is the very real challenge of actually achieving that goal. Those who create content will usually admit that the generation of value-added content demands a blend of both art and science. More specifically, the art involved is the art of being relevant. Those two elements – being both informative and interesting , or art and science – are absolutely necessary to make sure your content gets found and shared.

Is content really that much of a driving force? Yes, it is. But, by itself, content is not all that effective. You must combine your original, relevant content with social media and SEO techniques. The integration of all three is the ultimate winning combination for inbound marketing!

In a future post, we will explore how social media facilitates content distribution and how it can also amplify its impact. As for SEO, which is the focus of the third post in this series, I will discuss the key role that SEO plays in boosting the visibility of your content.

Thus, all development of content marketing is the sum of a number of steps, especially when the objective is to generate results. To get the desired results, it’s necessary to have both quality and quantity.

Marketers are investing more and more heavily in content development. On average, they were advocating 26% of their marketing budget to content development in 2010, and the percentage is likely to have risen since then. Furthermore, companies with less than a hundred employees are the ones who are typically investing the largest percentage of their total marketing budget for content development. Does this surprise you?

Content marketing can take many forms (video, case studies, articles, ebooks, webinars, newsletters, blogs, etc.), but it is always aimed at building a commitment among future prospects or developing lasting relationships across online channels (i.e, the Web) or off-line channels (traditional communications such as print). The content must be pertinent, non-promotional, informative, delivered at the appropriate time, and even funny at times.

Content created to stimulate conversation will be readily taken up by others and discussed. However, content marketing, at least in the context of B2B marketing, should have as its objective to go beyond simply raising awareness or creating buzz. It should be designed to create value at every stage of the sales cycle of your target audience, so that it can help you generate leads, acquire new customers, or shorten the sales cycle of your business.

A blog is one example of a great tool for generating content for B2B marketing. In fact, a blog can be a highly effective way to make sure your content will be found by search engines and shared on social networks. The more you can include keywords or relevant expressions in your blog posts, the better your chances of being found among the top-ranked results of a search.

In conclusion, it’s important to mention that it’s vital to:

Do a good job of analyzing and segmenting your markets.

  • Determine what kind of content your prospects and clients are truly looking for.
  • Target thought leaders and influencers.
  • Measure with the aid of specialized tools and optimize your inbound marketing strategy on a continual basis.
  • Encourage discussion of your content. (Sometimes even negative comments can become opportunities to develop a relationship.)
  • Remain authentic and in line with your stated goals.

Comments or questions? Tell us below!

 

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