The Secret Ingredient to Effective B2B Content Marketing Performance
KoMarketing has been writing about the value of content marketing for years. It is always reassuring to read when other colleagues in the broader industry share a similar perspective.
In CMI/MarketingProf’s latest B2B Content Marketing Report, 89 percent of B2B marketers surveyed indicated that they are currently using content marketing tactics. Sixty-two percent believe that their current content marketing approach is more successful than one year ago.
For B2B organizations, we have always believed that content marketing is an essential piece of the puzzle for supporting SEO, social media, and lead generation efforts.
However the key question is how to bridge the gap between effective content development and impactful marketing results. The secret ingredient is an effective distribution channel.
B2B Content Marketing & SEO
Content marketing fits well with SEO because marketers invested in a content strategy understand the long term benefits it may bring. Results happen over time, as an audience gains trust in an organization’s expertise and value provided within their respective space.
For B2B marketers, this means building content marketing assets that support the entire sales funnel, from discovery to customer experience.
However, it is easy to focus so intensely on the creation of a quality content asset that the marketing team fails in recognizing how to distribute content in a manner most effective. Distribution channels must be prioritized and developed to realize business value.
Content Marketing Distribution
According to the latest CMI/MarketingProfs report, B2B marketers attempt to leverage six different acquisition channels for distribution purposes on average.
While email (91 percent), LinkedIn (71 percent), and print (58 percent) ranked as the top three most important channels for distribution, I would be curious to know which channels B2B marketers deemed the most effective.
Of course it might be difficult to gauge effectiveness since business objectives and success benchmarks vary amongst respondents.
That said, CMI/MarketingProfs did ask what PAID methods of content promotion were most effective. It’s worth noting that only search engine marketing and social promotion received favorable marks from at least 50% of respondents.
When it pertains to effectiveness, there appears to be opportunity to improve in these areas, across acquisition channels.
Building the Distribution Channel
Content marketing initiatives lose steam (or may fail entirely) because the acquisition channels for necessary for distribution are not nurtured alongside the content development process.
When considering SEO and social media as potential distribution paths, success metrics need to go beyond broad-based performance benchmarks (such as traffic and leads).
Benchmarks that also contribute specifically to SEO and social media quality need to be reported on and measured, such as the acquisition of inbound links and relationships created with key influencers or third party site owners.
Examples of tactics designed to improve the effectiveness of offsite-SEO and social media distribution channels may include the following:
- Curating and Building Relationships via Twitter
- Competitive Link/Social Media Monitoring via Buzzsumo or BuzzStream
- Influencer/Targeted Audience Identification via FollowerWonk
- Third Party Referral Analysis via Google Analytics
- Blogger Outreach & Communications
- LinkedIn Group Participation
- Industry-Specific Forum & Community Participation
- Relationship Development Across Targeted Publisher Sites
Well-developed distribution channels are the secret ingredients to successful B2B content marketing initiatives, as it pertains to traffic, leads, and long-term visibility. While it takes time to build these channels, they will provide the unique competitive advantage in the long run.
Basic Recommendations for Getting Started
Since individual tactics have their own unique challenges and nuances, providing recommendations for all becomes challenging; particularly in developing one post.
However, some basic recommendations remain constant when considering strategy overall:
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start by focusing on one or two channels and build out your plan of action as time and resources allow.
- Understand the need to maintain consistency in research, communication, and ongoing supporting activity.
- Set small production goals first, with dates and milestones in mind.
- Document successes (and failures) in an effort to learn and improve over time.
Here are a few recently drafted resources from KoMarketing team members to review as well.
- Creating Killer Content with Data: Pubcon Austin 2016
- 20 Online Marketing Tools That Boost Campaign Results
- How to Find Influencers for B2B Online Marketing Campaigns
There is more to content marketing than just content creation. Successful content marketers recognize the need and work to building channels for sharing and distributing valuable content assets.
What successes or obstacles in the content marketing process have you encountered? I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback via the comments below.