If you pay attention to the constant buzz of B2B marketing trends and best practices, you have no doubt heard of several different aspects of marketing that are deemed essential to your growth and profitability. Everything from inbound marketing to landing page optimization, marketing automation, link building and content marketing have been declared the vital tool in your marketing arsenal, but which ones are more important than the others, or which ones are actually parts of something else that have simply outgrown their status as a small cog in a big marketing wheel?
Having a content marketing strategy, while important to your overall marketing efforts, is possibly something you're already doing. Even though you're likely already incorporating it into your marketing strategies, you should still have a greater understanding of what it actually is and what it means to the success of your efforts. Just because you're doing it doesn't necessarily mean you are doing it well, even if you are achieving a certain level of success with your campaigns.
According to Forbes magazine, "content marketing" has been defined by the Content Marketing Institute as "a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."
Perhaps the most important part of the definition of "content marketing" is the reference to a clearly-defined audience. You can't create or distribute effective and informative content if you don't know who you want that material to appeal to. Surprisingly enough, a large percentage of marketers do not have a defined digital marketing plan, much less a defined audience. In 2012, 39% of marketers did not have a defined content marketing strategy or plan. In 2018, the numbers had risen slightly, despite the importance of mapping out a plan with specific metrics and measurements that allow you to determine whether or not your efforts are successful [2018 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends].
Creating a Buyer Persona
No matter what type of business you operate, generating leads and converting them into customers plays a critical role in its survival. Whether you're selling a product, service, or idea, you have to know and understand the target buyer. The answer to this can be found in a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional written profile of your ideal customer based on interviews, market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s) you need to include things like:
- Role in Company
Buyer personas provide needed structure and insight for your company. A detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your time, guide product development, and allow for alignment across the organization. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, prospects, and leads to your business.
Targeting the "Right" Social Platforms
With the steady rise of social media and more diverse marketing applications, trends, and methods, your marketing material has to be tailored to a particular audience in a specific location. For example, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn are the most popular and most used social media networks today, and each one has a user base that is distinctly different. Marketing campaigns that work on one may not do well on others, simply because your target audience might be less active on the platform where you're publishing your marketing material.
Aside from having a clearly-defined audience, the other components of "content marketing strategy" should also be part of your marketing efforts and goals. You naturally want prospective customers to find your content engaging and take action, therefore your marketing material should be created to encourage that action. You should be striving to motivate potential buyers to become more involved with your material through personalization, engagement, and uniqueness, as well as the fostering of a stronger and more intimate business-to-buyer relationship. When you know who your audience is, it makes the other aspects of content marketing infinitely more simple and easier to achieve.
As you can see, your audience is the key to effective content creation and a successful content marketing strategy. Know them and you'll then be better able to know what they want, how they want it, and how you can provide it to them.