Kathy Floam-Greenspan is the President of Pomerantz Marketing, a full-service B2B agency supporting regional, national and global SMBs.
In 2022, effective marketing and content creation are inextricably linked. It’s one of the best ways to regularly connect with your audience while boosting your reputation and credibility.
The Content Marketing Institute helpfully defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In today’s digital-first consumer ecosystem, it’s increasingly important to generate content for potential and recurring buyers. Consider that 54% of B2B decision-makers report spending more than one hour reviewing thought leadership content each week. Meanwhile, nearly half of buyers view three to five pieces of content before initiating a sales process, and 96% of B2B buyers review thought leadership before making a purchase. Overall, nearly 50% of companies plan to grow their content teams this year, with recruitment for content creators, content marketing managers and content strategies leading the way.
Of course, more content is being generated than ever before, making it more difficult for brands to break through the noise and reach their target audience. Here are five factors that can help companies reach their audience with greater frequency and effectiveness.
1. Provide value.
It may feel antithetical, but self-focused content marketing isn’t the way to get your name or insights in front of your audience. Too many companies produce videos, publish blog posts and pitch thought leadership articles better suited for an in-house email than an external distribution. Content consumers understand this reality, and they don’t like it.
While decision-makers indicate that they are consuming more thought leadership than ever before, many are unsatisfied with the quality. Collectively, 71% of decision-makers say “half or less than half of the thought-leadership content they read or watch gives them any sort of valuable insights.” This is an opportunity for companies to level up their content and outpace the competition.
Content marketing should build trust through informative, comprehensive content that addresses people’s questions, concerns or uncertainties. Lean into the perspectives, viewpoints and expertise that only you can provide, harnessing these unique elements to create a compelling resource that offers your audience value.
2. Invest in multimedia.
Video marketing has never been more accessible. Anyone with a smartphone can create, edit and share high-quality videos, and people are consuming these resources more frequently than ever before.
As a result, brands are increasingly investing in video multimedia initiatives, leveraging these resources across their blogs, social media channels and other digital platforms. Whether catering to emerging audience segments or creating long-form content marketing material, multimedia opportunities can’t be ignored.
3. Blog regularly.
A company blog is a well-established, highly effective pillar of any content marketing strategy. One industry report found that 71% of B2B buyers read blog content during their buying journey, making it an important asset at every part of the customer journey.
However, like all content marketing assets, blogs must be more than company announcements or insider-facing headlines. It must add value to the reader by answering questions or solving problems for people searching for your content.
Companies should produce one to four original blog posts each month, leveraging this content across their various channels to increase reach and return on investment.
4. Create case studies.
Case studies and success stories are critical for buyers assessing a company’s efficacy and expertise. B2B marketing is predicated on expertise, and companies can reach their audience with case studies by:
• Leveraging customer experiences in customer emails and newsletters.
• Maintaining a dedicated case studies subpage.
• Creating blog posts that share case study outcomes.
• Leveraging testimonials in social media posts.
Simply put, showcasing how your products or services helped past customers gives potential buyers a reasonable look into their expected experience with your company.
According to one survey, 64% of marketers say that case studies are effective, and more than one-third of companies plan to integrate them into their marketing strategy for the first time in 2022.
5. Be consistent.
Effective content marketing is like a good diet. It requires consistency, persistence and investment to be effective. Just like people shouldn’t expect overnight results from their new diet, companies shouldn’t expect their content marketing strategy to immediately increase their brand reputation, lead generation or sales.
While the benefits of content marketing are well documented and multifaceted, a Gartner analysis found that only 41% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy. As a result, companies take a haphazard approach to content development, operating in fits and starts while failing to reach their audience and optimize their outcomes.
This year, content marketing is more important than ever, helping brands build trust, grow their audience and demonstrate their expertise while promoting short-term leads and long-term business development. It’s a win-win, but it won’t happen by accident. Content strategy matters and the steps above are a great place to begin planning.