The 'C' word - and why it's vital to your content marketing

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as "strategic marketing 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.” It's a must-have of modern B2B marketing - but its quality and effectiveness varies hugely. 

In the rush to push information out to a wide range of audiences on a constant basis, the sheer volume of resulting content has created big challenges for B2B brands. For content marketing to cut through the noise, its audience must immediately recognise it as relevant and valuable.

Give your content context

A successful content marketing strategy focuses your audience’s agenda first, rather than your brand's. By understanding its needs and identifying its challenges, you can focus on producing content that will engage these people. But by simply segmenting your audience using generic, high-level criteria and personas your content may fail to get the attention it deserves.   

Market setting

To be practical and sustainable, these challenges need to be common across multiple audiences. For example, creating “a single view of a customer” is desired by brands in many different markets - but achieving it depends on different criteria. Considerations for banking will vary subtly from those in automotive. However, by taking the common issues and contextualising them for each specific industry, audiences will be more likely to recognise their relevancy and engage faster, for longer.

Role relevant

A key difference between B2B and B2C is the decision-making unit (DMU). For any given business requirement, concerns and priorities will be different for each member of the DMU – the CIO, CEO, CFO.

Understanding the key members of the DMU enables more specific, focused content to be created for them - increasing its chances of engagement. If your content helps a particular job function solve its particular challenge, those people will gravitate towards your brand when making a purchasing decision.

Right content, right time

The buying journey is a voyage of discovery. At key stages, the buyer decides whether to continue or select an alternative path. Although they happen in different ways, these journeys usually include similar considerations. Those brands that best understand and appeal to these, with the right content at the right time, will be the most successful. They will differentiate themselves from others, and begin to determine the buying agenda.  

Choosing channels; mastering media

Creating the right narrative is one thing. How you share it with the world is another. To reach the right people, you need to tell your story through the right media and communication channels.

Think about which channels suit which type of content. Which media will it be best suited to in each channel you select? What do you want your audience to do as a result?

People interact with different media and channels in different ways and at different times, Think about how they can work together to amplify your story. 

Getting personal

Marketing technology and automation are creating new possibilities for personalised content and dialogue. By analysing and recognising the behaviour and consumption of individuals, these tools can predict and serve the content they are most likely to engage with on the next stage of their buying journey. It avoids frustrating the customer by serving content they have already engaged with.

Another dimension of this is media preferences, which recognise the preferred channel of the individual and prioritises this over others. It’s the science behind the writing.

According to Microsoft research, human attention spans have dropped by a third in less than five years. Today, we’re barely more attentive than a goldfish. Context speeds and deepens engagement leading to greater effectiveness and return from your investments – start using the c-word.