Don’t Go There Without a Map: 2018 Content Marketing Trends You Need to Know
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We’ve all heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Despite this insight, many B2B marketers have sallied forth into 2018 with a content marketing strategy that looks almost identical to what they’ve always done, yet they still expect to generate more leads, close more deals, and overtake their competition. Based on extensive study and grounded statistics, we offer these insights to content marketing trends that will shake up your processes and help you achieve your key performance indicator goals.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Every business utilizes an ROI analysis for purchasing equipment, new software, etc., but few apply this concept to their B2B marketing efforts. As a result, all actions are valued equally since you don’t have the ability to distinguish the effective efforts from the losers. Most companies don’t track ROI for marketing activities because it is not a straightforward formula, but it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Start by identifying your investment, the cost of generating your content, then evaluate your return based on the results you achieve from that content across your delivery platforms. Everyone’s marketing ROI formula will be unique, but if done correctly, it will identify where to place your time and effort to receive the most financial gain for your marketing investment.
Outsource Content Creation
There are three types of B2B marketing companies, those that do everything in-house, those that outsource part of their content to select vendors, and those with a mix of the two. Many business want to outsource some of their content generation work but are afraid to do so because they believe it will cost more. In reality, the cost is about the same to generate content in-house or send it out to a quality vendor. The question then becomes, if the cost is the same why bother outsourcing? The answer is simple: when you outsource even a small percentage of your content development activities, you can allocate your in-house resources to internal processes such as planning, implementation, and ROI tracking, to increase efficiencies and impacts. You won’t want to outsource all of your content generation, but even a small allocation can free up time to tackle other challenges.
Have a Strategy
The use of content marketing is on the rise in the B2B community, and the companies who implement this process most effectively follow an established strategy. A B2B content marketing strategy is similar to a B2C process in that it starts by identifying both your audience the best channels to reach them. Next, have a plan for what content you will create and an editorial calendar for its delivery. An editorial calendar allows you to avoid content repetition, assure consistent messages, and track delivery channels. You can plan and schedule campaigns, insert content for segregated audiences and keep your entire marketing team on the same page. A content marketing strategy keeps your audience engaged and your message consistent, which increases conversion rates.
Provide Relevant Content
Delivering content marketing pieces is not like making spaghetti, you don’t want to throw everything at a wall to see what sticks. Findings from a Global Consumer Pulse Report includes the fact that “hyper-relevant” content directly correlates to higher customer satisfaction. This is especially true in B2B marketing. Your target audience wants value, and your goal is to provide it across the board through your content, products and services. When developing content, you should constantly ask yourself if it serves your company, your audience, or both. Content that only benefits the company will fall flat when delivered and have the opposite effect of what you wanted. In all things, keep the client first by providing content relevant to their interests and needs.
Engage with Case Studies
An excellent way to deliver relevant content is through compelling case studies. These pieces are extremely effective for two reasons. First, one of your customers or clients is sharing how your product or service benefited their business, using real-life examples and outcomes. This allows the reader to appreciate the potential value your deliverables will bring to their own organization. Second, case studies are basically marketing pieces but instead of you telling your target audience why they should buy your products, a satisfied customer is doing so instead. This user to potential user communication is more powerful than you realize and is an opportunity you should not dismiss.
Even if you have an effective B2B marketing process, doing things the same way you always have will not deliver the significant gains most companies want to achieve. Shake things up by ditching ineffective actions and focusing on those with the best ROI, and provide value to your audience to increase conversion rates.
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