B2B Articles - November 02, 2019

What is Content Marketing?

In order to define what is content marketing, we also want to define the most effective types and define its purpose.

Content marketing is a marketing strategy in which you create and publish various educational and sales materials to generate new website visitors, convert leads, and nurture prospects into successful sales. We call these materials “content” and they are often digital or digitally distributed. Marketers use content to convert, inspire, inform, and nurture prospects throughout the buying journey.

Content marketing occurs throughout the sales and marketing funnel. According to the popular Hubspot definition, there are three main stages of content marketing in the purchase funnel: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.

  • Awareness content marketing helps expand your brand awareness.
  • Consideration content marketing helps business leads learn more about your business and the solutions you offer in the industry.
  • Decision content marketing assists prospects with their buying decision in showing you as the superior vendor.

What is Content Marketing?

As you can see, content marketing serves many roles through the buying funnel, so it requires many different formats of content to be successful.

Some formats of content include:

  • Blog posts that are often 300-1000 word articles on industry topics
  • Content offers including a wide range of multi-page eBooks, white papers, guides, checklists, and more
  • Sales one-pagers used to describe features, services, and differentiators for the sales process
  • Case studies for showing the value and impact of your partnership
  • Video content like product demos, webinars, and sales pitches
  • Visual content such as infographics, charts, and concept visualizations
  • Email content including recurring newsletters, triggered and targeted emails, and re-engagement campaigns
  • Website content such as all of your website pages and landing pages
  • Social media and ad content used for promoting the downloadable pieces you’ve created

Moreover, successful content marketing strategies utilize a wide range of pieces. Of course, it can be resource-intensive to create all of this as a company, especially with a limited marketing team. So many companies outsource the writing, strategizing, and design of content to a B2B agency, or freelance some of the process to individual contractors.

the Buyer’s Journey

It’s also wise to repurpose content for various formats -- for example, turning a research report into several blog posts and an infographic can save you time and maximize ROI.

The Most Effective Types of B2B Content Marketing.

Below, the effectiveness of B2B content types in customer journey stages in North America 2018 based on a survey of 192 Respondents; among B2B marketers by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute.

Most effective content types in demand generation - awareness and considerationMost effective content types in demand generation - consideration and decision

What Kind of Activities Fall Under Content Marketing?

As you might have guessed, content marketing overlaps with different digital marketing tactics. In fact, content marketing can be an umbrella term referring to a wide range of activities that help you strategize, promote, and analyze content for impact.

And in order to use content for lead generation, you need to host content via conversion points, like forms, on your website. This enables you to generate new leads who submit personal information in exchange for content resources.

Some content-related activities include:

  • Researching, writing, and copywriting written pieces;
  • Visual design exploration and execution;
  • Publication on your website and distribution channels like email and social media;
  • Messaging research and bottom-up branding;
  • Creation of promotional and conversion assets like landing pages;
  • Establishing lead nurturing tactics like email drip campaigns to turn leads into sales;
  • Managing search terms and keyword optimizations for your content pieces;
  • Strategic analytic measurement of content performance;
  • Continual refinement and optimization for growth in results

As you can see, content is about more than writing copy and adding a nice design. There are many steps to succeeding with content marketing and many iterations to make over time. Content marketing requires skills in many areas including digital strategy, design, copywriting, promotion, advertising, sales enablement and more.

How Can I Get Started With Content Marketing?

Start by reading and learning as much as you can about best practices and strategy for content marketing. Also, see what your competitors are doing, and get your entire organization on board.

The more you can get contributions from stakeholders in your organization, the more informed your content will be. And you will also be able to secure more resources for content production and promotion.

For more reading and education, check out these Ironpaper articles:

The Ironpaper Webintel blog is updated with new articles regularly to become a better content marketer, so follow along!


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