But you have to manage content effectively to motivate people and get results.
Coming out of #INBOUND15, sitting through sessions and listening to questions, one of my takeaways is that one of the hardest things for many b2b marketers today to understand is how content translates to leads and sales. Here are my thoughts.
They say that the pen is mightier than the sword. This old maxim is true today, as you have to motivate people to take action with your content. In B2B, that means being informative and transformative in the messaging you convey, the latter being thought leadership that changes their world for the better. If you do so, people will engage with you online. The key is to be authentic at every step and let the reader choose when to engage with your sales team (so offer them lots of opportunities to do so!).
Here are some guidelines from my notes on Tracey Wallace’s presentation, "Content Controls the Brand: An Inside Out Look at a Content Marketer’s Many Levers at #INBOUND15."
Perception IS your brand reality, so manage it
Content is your brand because your customer's perception is your brand - and customer perception today is significantly shaped by what they see in their email and browser.
What you say matters and how well you say it matters
What you say, how you say it, when you say it and to whom all matter. Your ability to prove what you say also matters. If you understand your audience's needs and can provide them a logical, clear path to achieve their goals along their own unique “buyer’s journey," you will get them to take action when they are ready. That is why it is important to continually fill the top of the funnel with new prospects.
News is Content. Curate and/or Report It.
News is a great source of content. Being up on contemporary matters is what big changes have come to industry. And why is that important to your customers? Not only can you post news, but you can comment on why it is important and what it means for customers.
Don’t Forget Product Marketing Content
Leverage organizational expertise to create authentic and compelling content. After all, we are looking to sell some things (or services). A great source for content is often locked up in the product managers and other subject matter experts in your company. Get them to talk with your content and social teams and write an article; maybe even write the post and answer the comments.
Package Content to Sell, So Get Sales Involved Too
Since content MUST translate to sales, work with the sales team to identify the kind of content they use with customers. What do they say and share? Make premium content out of their ideas because this is what they are doing to move people along the buyer’s journey. Also seek opportunities for the sales team to talk with your content and social teams to create content and messaging that help close business. 'News as Content' gives rise to an idea we are developing called Inbound Journalism, a great example of which is Kodak's Chief Packaging Officer.
Investment in content that doesn't get applied effectively is like a tree falling in the woods. If nobody is there to hear it, did it ever really happen? So, don’t forget to promote your content and make it SEO friendly, but that is a blog post for another day.
Here's a link to the full presentation as delivered at INBOUND2015.