Here’s the content conundrum in a nutshell: one minute you didn’t have it and struggled to get any message out to your target audience let alone a consistent message; now you are awash with it – and still struggle to get a consistent message out to your target audience. Simon Woolley, engagement specialist at press relations company IBA International, explains how can you get more out of the creative process.
It’s no secret that generating regular content supports business growth – if written correctly it positions your company as an industry leader, gains trust in your brand, and does what marketers are supposed to do – helps cultivate leads – this is probably why 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing.
Marketing departments are busy creating content, regional teams are at it too, high level executives and even product development guys are getting in on the act. Whether it’s thought leadership articles, whitepapers, micro-sites, webinars or infographics, we are awash with content.
But how many are getting the most out of it? Recent research shows that over 60% of B2B marketers are unhappy with the effectiveness of their content marketing. Why?
Curation from the top down
First I think an awful lot of B2B marketers do not start from the top down. According to the Content Marketing Institute, nearly three quarters of B2B marketers have no corporate mission statements for content creation. They could be firing an awful lot of blanks.
In order to maximise the reach of existing content, curation is key. Content curation is not just filing content by type – a white paper, blog, article, comment, press release, case study – it’s curating the content under the key company messaging that sets it apart from its competitors.
First, look at your clients leadership, look at its target markets and target persona in those markets, and then build a messaging matrix in order to curate the copy to support the sales and marketing processes. Then research and build into the messaging matrix hot topics in the industry – this ensures that the curated content is on company message – and touches industry hotspots!
Then pitch and place…
The volume of corporate content lying in ‘information silos’ gathering dust never fails to amaze. This content is never used for anything beyond its original purpose – perhaps a webinar, perhaps a whitepaper – but a lot of effort for a single shot.
A lot of this content is suitable for an international audience when appropriately tailored and packaged. With the right skillsets and a centralised approach to content management, taking your messaging to new markets and to new geographies can be easily co-ordinated from a single ‘hub’. Creating a single, centralised knowledge base allows content to be managed, re-purposed and reformatted quickly and effectively, allowing you to always get the right message to the right place on time.
It is important to stress that re-purposing content is not merely reposting existing content when a specific opportunity arises. Google is notorious for limiting the visibility of non-unique content when searching, meaning achieving broader coverage with reposted articles holds little benefit when looked at in SEO terms. This is why it is crucial to re-purpose rather than repost. Retaining key themes and messages while overhauling the tone and format for new audiences holds the simple answer to ensuring content remains fresh and relevant.
Think global, go local
Too often corporate marketing departments, and indeed international PR agencies, think local and then try and go global. Well it just doesn’t work. We need to think global and then go local.
The primary goal of taking your re-purposed content to an international audience is to help sales teams penetrate new markets, and increase visibility and mind share by positioning your company as industry and thought leaders. To achieve this, it is important to understand and meet the requirements of different markets and geographies – journalists and editors will only publish content that is relevant to their localised readership, while social media audiences will only read interesting, applicable content.
Multiple pieces of content across multiple formats can support your core theme, but you will greatly increase your chance of generating interest by using local spokespersons, updating content with compelling market- or region-specific statistics and examples, addressing the right business issues for that market.
Research, research and more research is the only answer here. It will also ensure you are armed with the local market knowledge to confidently tailor content to audiences in your target region.
Horses for courses – different audiences, different platforms
Bringing content to publications in different languages and geographies is one thing – but let’s look at different platforms.
It is vital to maintain consistency when adapting content across multiple formats – retaining the same themes for LinkedIn posts, blogs and Twitter ensures that you are always ‘on’ corporate message. But of course, content formatting varies from platform to platform: LinkedIn posts work if they are
short, argumentative and ask for a response, while blogs can be more chatty and opinionated, and tweets are really powerful if you follow the triangulation rule.
Finding the platforms to disseminate content on is no struggle – social media is ubiquitous – but for B2B, are some platforms relevant or even worth pushing content onto? Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest may be great for the individual, but hold little opportunity for B2B companies that could not be found elsewhere. Research has indicated for several years that LinkedIn remains the Facebook of business and the best social media platform for B2B content – solely due to a relevant, professional user base.
Curated content that is ‘on message’ and ‘on format’ is king
There are always different people with varying levels of expertise and technical knowledge involved in the B2B decision-making process, from C level executives to technical experts. Appealing to these broader audiences across their respective platforms is a powerful way to establish yourself as a thought leader with a diverse group of potential customers.
Proactively supporting a B2B marketing campaign with content – existing or new – from a single hub, that is ‘on message’, tailored to different audience platforms and on an international basis allows you to maximise your investment in content – and make it work by helping cultivate sales leads.
By Simon Woolley