Content Marketing has never been more important.
Whether its about creating a new plan or generating ideas for your blog, content marketing challenges are innumerable.
To discuss such challenges, I got the opportunity to interview Adrian Cordiner. With over 9 years of experience in digital marketing, Adrian has helped a lot of brands in generating leads through content marketing.
After starting his own online B2B travel company, Adrian started exploring the world of SEO, Analytics and CRM and ended up founding his own digital marketing Agency, Digital Rhinos and a Content Marketplace Startup, Prozely.
Adrian has also worked with a large number of B2B and B2C clients and helped them become leaders in their respective industries.
Here are 5 questions that we asked him:
What are the key elements of great content?
There are four key elements to creating informative content that will capture the interest of your target market:
Provide useful information
The easiest way to reach your audience, get their interest and maintain their attention, is by providing useful information that solves their problems. Content marketing is not about promotion. First of all, you need to get your audience to trust you and see you as a reliable source of information. Only once you’ve built that trust should you start promoting anything.
So before all else, give your target market the information they’re seeking. Once you know what information they’re seeking, make your information easy for them to access, digest and use.
Entertain your audience
If you really don’t have any useful information to share, then focus instead on entertaining your audience. Humorous content that brightens people’s lives can stand out in a crowded space and get shared or go viral on social media channels like Facebook or Instagram.
Tell a story
People are hardwired to tune into, remember and share stories. So hone your storytelling skills (or find someone who can create stories for you) and use stories to make your content memorable. Including storylines will help your audience understand your information quickly and connect with it. Stories can make your content resonate with your audience, increasing trust and building interest.
Stay on brand
Branding isn’t just about the logo, colors, and design. It unites everything you do. The content you create needs to reflect and represent your brand. Whether your brand is about youthful energy or understated sophistication, your content should show that. So every word, image and story you use in your content should echo and reinforce your brand.
Don’t rush into content marketing until you are very clear about your goals. That could be to build an email list, increase online sales or generate inquiries. Whatever your goal is, every piece of content should be specifically created to address that goal, and should all be part of a larger plan.
How can I create a content marketing strategy?
Know your goals before you begin planning as that will make it easier for you to work out your strategy. SMART goals which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound are recommended. Never start producing content randomly just because you think you should. You only waste time and get disappointing results.
If you’ve been in business for a while and have already tried content marketing, review your efforts and results from previous years. That data will help you assess what worked, what didn’t and what goals to set next. For content marketing on steroids, make sure your team goals align with the organisation’s goals.
Once your goals are clear, drill down to focus on your target audience. They need to be clearly defined; creating three to five buyer personas will help you create relevant content that either informs or entertains your target audience. It’s not possible to create relevant, valuable content unless you are clear about who you are creating it for.
If you have been targeting a specific group in the past, your target audience may have changed. Maybe you now wish to target a new group of people, or simply expand your current target audience and market. This epic post provides a step by step guide to developing a B2B content marketing strategy
What type of content should I create?
Most people start by creating blog posts, but if you want to venture out and try producing other content pieces, consider what you want to make. Repurposing content into a new format is a smart way to get the most leverage from your content and offer it in different formats. For instance, if you’ve been doing weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an ebook from some of your blog posts would be a one way to offer information in a different format. If you’re new to content production then creating a series of blog posts which you can turn into an ebook, email course or report when the series is over is time-efficient.
Content does not need to be confined to text with images, video and even podcasting worth considering. All of these can be create to duplicate your text content, but offer in it a choice of formats, or to expand on content ideas.
How can I come up with content ideas?
The ideas for content types above will help you decide what content pieces you want to create, but coming up with topics for your content is another challenge you’ll face. Content creation takes time spent brainstorming and research. To help you get started, here are a few brainstorming tips.
Brainstorming takes time but should be a fun process. There’s no point packing it into the middle of a busy day. Pick a time, either first thing in the morning or during a later afternoon or evening session when you can relax with your team.
Don’t set any restrictions on the brainstorming session but have clear boundaries. Brainstorming sessions are not the time to mock, criticise or reject ideas. Ask one person to be the scribe and simply note down all the ideas. Or give everyone index cards which they can note ideas down on. At a later session, one or two people can go through all the ideas, categorise them and choose the best ones.
The idea during a brainstorming session is just to collect as many ideas as possible, even those ideas that initially seem off the wall or unrealistic.
Brainstorm with others
Brainstorming works better when there is a group of people who can bounce ideas off each other. That way you don’t have to come up with creative ideas on your own and will generate more diverse ideas.
Just make sure everyone trusts each other and stress that this isn’t about coming up with the right ideas or anything concrete. It’s just about getting as many ideas out on the table so you have more options.
Tap into online tools
If there really isn’t anyone else for you to brainstorm with, or if you’re looking for another way to brainstorm content ideas, there are many online tools that will help you come up with content ideas. For example:
- HubSpot’s Marketing Grader: HubSpot’s Marketing Grader grades vital areas of your marketing and sends you a detailed report to help you optimize and improve each area. You can use this tool to work out how to make your website more search engine friendly and discover new content ideas.
- What To Write: Get your brain creating some new connections with What To Write’s unique content idea generator which asks you questions that will help jumpstart your brainstorming. It even generates blog post ideas for you after you’ve answered the questions, so you can use those ideas in your content marketing plan if they feel right.
- Digital Rhinos: This B2B content marketing agency has detailed tips in their blog post on how to generate hundreds of blog post ideas based on what your audience is already interested in.
- Prozely: This copywriting service offers a blog post title generator which is a fun way to come up with blog post titles ideas fast.
- HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator: Get blog post ideas for an entire year with HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. All you need to do is enter general topics or terms you’d like to write about, and this content idea generator does all the work for you.
- Feedly: This popular RSS feed is a useful way to keep track of trending topics in your industry which you can then use to create content ideas
- Buzzsumo: You can find out the most popular content and get new ideas on Buzzsumo. Buzzsumo uses social media shares to determine if a piece of content is popular and well-liked and you can use this information to help you gauge which content ideas are most likely to be popular.
- Content Forest: Content Forest offers free tools including TopContent, KeywordKiwi, and ContentIdeator that help you find popular content from your competitors, effective keywords for search purposes, and content ideas all in one spot.
Can I outsource content creation?
The short answer is “Yes, but….”
If you don’t have the time or talent to create your content in-house you can find content creators through an agency, by hiring a local freelancer or through copywriting websites. It can be more efficient and economical to create a set or series of blog posts at once than to write one at a time. However, you want to make sure that you have a clear idea of what you want – the more detailed you are in the brief that you provide, the better results you’ll get.
You can choose to be specific about the type of content you want to be created when working with a freelancer or ask them to help you come up with ideas, but always keep in mind what you’re trying to achieve with your content.
Choosing a professional writer and a native speaker is essential if you want quality content.
What are the main differences between B2C and B2B content marketing?
There are some important differences to consider when creating content for a B2C audience. These tips will help you get it right.
On a B2B platform it’s fine to use industry jargon but on B2C the language used should be simple, clear and easy for consumers to understand. So avoid buzzwords and industry jargon that may confuse them.
Understand their needs
The B2B audience wants to see efficiency and expertise or get educated, while the consumer audience is more likely to be seeking deals and entertainment. Psychologically, the B2B purchase process tends to be rationally and logically driven, while consumer choices are often emotionally triggered. For example, by needs like hunger, desire or status. They just want to have fun and have their needs satisfied.
Meet their needs
The B2B audience expects to be educated and courted by a sales and marketing team. They want to get the full picture and know all the details. On the other hand, B2C content simply needs to meet their basic needs of being useful, humorous and shareable.
Lengthy content works for B2B marketing when a brand or business needs to prove its expertise. However, consumers usually prefer shorts, sharp injections of content and the lower the price of the product the truer that is.
Understand the buying cycle
B2B marketing takes more time as there is usually a chain of command to deal with as business people have to get approval on purchases. So the B2B buying cycle is often much longer than the B2C decision process, requiring more nurturing and attention. B2B decisions contribute to long-term goals while B2C buys tend to satisfy immediate needs. Furthermore, individual consumers tend to make their own choices and do so fast, often after being influenced by personal recommendations or online reviews.
However, a contract gained for a B2B purchase can last months or even years, making the long sales cycle worth the extra time needed and highly valuable compared to a less lucrative B2C cycle which could be over in a few minutes.
Know your budget
Budget-wise, the two types of marketers have distinctive problems with B2B marketers typically lacking both content and the time needed to create it. This differs from B2C marketers who often have a bigger advertising budget. These financial differences will have a significant effect on tactical executions.
As can be seen, there are a lot of elements to consider when developing a successful B2B content marketing strategy!