The need for content is ever-growing. That’s because, according to one report, 49% of business-to-business (B2B) buyers rely more on content to research and make purchase decisions. Not only that, the same study says buyers are becoming more discerning with the content they’re seeking out. Depending on the content format, brands have only a five-minute window to influence buyers toward a purchase.
To differentiate oneself from the competition, and catch the attention of B2B buyers and researchers, shouldn’t be difficult. Many businesses still don’t have a consistent set of content marketing best practices and lack achievable goals. Knowing that, it can be easy to win the content marketing game within your niche. You just have to keep a healthy mix of content marketing tactics that will help increase your brand awareness, engage your audience more, and generate more leads.
Whatever your goal may be, these five tactics can help you hit the target.
1. Make consistency a priority.
It’s one thing to create content. Everyone knows it’s important to produce high-quality blog posts, videos, whitepapers and social content to keep audiences engaged. But it’s just as crucial to keep a consistent publishing schedule so that you have a continuous flow of content to keep audiences coming back.
Unfortunately, according to a survey, only 36% of B2B respondents rate their content creation flow as excellent or very good. That means most companies are still lacking documented strategies with seamless processes for content creation and distribution. That could be due to small content teams or reduced budgets. Nonetheless, consistently publishing timely content that solves customers’ pain points is key.
2. Leverage subject matter experts to highlight industry expertise.
SMEs, or subject matter experts, are the people with insight and knowledge in your industry. If you’re not reaching out to them as part of your content marketing strategy, it’s time to do so. According to research, 64% of B2B buyers find more value in peer reviews, user-generated feedback, and content created by third-party experts or analysts. Those third-party experts are your SMEs.
They can also be internal subject matter experts, such as engineers, scientists and other technical professionals who have deep expertise within your industry. However you find them — through social media or mutual acquaintances — leveraging them can provide authority and expertise to your content, give your brand’s reputation a boost and help buyers see you as more trustworthy. Provide the proper time and resources to invite SMEs onto podcasts for interviews, have them author blog posts or simply interview them for months’ worth of content.
3. Use analytics to test your content and messaging.
Using HubSpot, Moz, Google Analytics or your metric measuring tool of choice, pay close attention to your analytics. Find out which blog articles are attracting a lot of traffic and find ways to leverage those posts even more. For example, you could create a more in-depth content series, redistribute them on other channels or make them into more visual-heavy content like infographics and videos.
Compare the average time spent on each post to see which topics visitors find compelling. If they’re bouncing off quickly, consider writing more about topics they care about or including links to recommended reading (or viewing) material at the bottom of each post.
The same goes for your video efforts. Track the bounce rate and audience retention times in your Facebook Live and YouTube analytics and see what sticks. A watch time longer than 30 seconds is pretty good. But you usually have about two seconds to catch someone’s attention as they’re scrolling through their feed on mobile. If viewers aren’t sticking around for long, then it’s time to go back to the editing room.
4. Don’t simply distribute — amplify.
You’re creating content. You’re consistently publishing content. You’re even measuring what works, what doesn’t and adjusting accordingly. But if you don’t have a strategy to reach as broad an audience as possible, you’re still missing a key component of a strong content marketing strategy.
It’s not enough to just distribute your content and assume customers will find you. You need to amplify your content, which is more wide-ranging than simply distributing your work on a few channels and hoping for the best.
To amplify your content’s reach, use a multichannel and multi-format approach that reaches as many people as possible. A combination of earned, owned and paid media will dramatically increase your chances of being seen.
Some suggestions: Catch the attention of buyers reading industry publications by pitching some of your best evergreen content. Forge partnerships with other blogs within your niche to cross-publish guest blog posts. Reach out to influencers and key opinion leaders on your social channels, start conversations, and share your content with them. Get to know them, and they’ll likely boost your reach.
5. Identify and leverage brand champions.
According to Stackla, “86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.” And 60% say content from friends or family influence their purchasing decisions — moreso than celebs or influencers.
To gain trust (and increased awareness), brands should identify and leverage “brand champions” who can share content. These can be customers or fans who really love your work, or trusted internal employees who believe in your mission. Reach out to them and make them brand ambassadors.
When their friends and family see recommendations and shared content on their social feeds, they’ll be more likely to check out that content since it comes from a more trusted source. Give those champions the keys to the Instagram account for a day, or invite them to your office or factory for a tour to create more content out of the opportunity.
These content marketing tactics are sure to give your strategy a boost in the coming months. And, as always, carefully follow your metrics and optimize where necessary.