Calling all experts: content marketing needs you
In a world of content ‘noise’, specialism is becoming increasingly important, and spending time with IP creators is key to a successful B2B marketing strategy, writes Kate Pickering
Content marketing is more competitive than ever before, partly because content marketers are producing so much of it and partly because of increased sensitivities around personal data to consider. The fight for direct lines of communication with customers is becoming more challenging. Quality content must demonstrate worth and relevance to stand out from the crowd and seize an audience’s attention.
Speaking to our clients’ customers in focus groups, it’s clear they don’t want to be talked at by sales teams but have conversations with experts they can trust. I'll explain how using expert opinion can set your product and services apart and, importantly, grow your customer base.
It is time for specialists to step forward, into the limelight of B2B marketing.
The importance of specialism
We’ve seen the regard for specialist knowledge emerge and cluster around experts in their field online at the same time as social communities have fragmented. It has become expected to have access to anyone, to ask anything, at any time.
Tapping into these super niche audiences, by working with respected influencers, provides an opportunity for brands to leverage their trusted networks. What’s deemed peer opinion is always valued, be it a recognised analyst or independent commentator.
Social currency is only one advantage to working with experts – it can also give brands cultural capital. Looking within their own organisations to spotlight talent is a great opportunity.
Depth of knowledge around a specialism or behind the product is enticing for a prospective customer. Facilitating the use of internal voices of a brand has now become a go-to tactic for content marketers. When executed strategically, bylining experts to demonstrate thought leadership can elevate a product or service beyond those of competitors.
Whereas personal data is a sensitive issue, anonymised data to help audiences form their point of view and understand their place within their peer community is valued. Gyro regularly runs surveys with our clients’ target audiences for content creation.
A brand’s use of proprietary data, coupled with insightful expert analysis, is always popular. What’s more, successful IP holders recognise audiences are ever changing. By sharing insights gathered through research with them, content can inform product development creating a virtuous circle of improvement and, more importantly, conversion.
Tighter restrictions on the use of personal data and GDPR can actually be seen as an opportunity in content marketing. I always advocate the importance of having direct conversations with prospects and customers, and not to rely solely on third-party sites that can change their algorithms at a moment’s notice.
Every subscribe is valuable to CRM so the collection of audience data is a vital part to a successful content strategy. It enables us to cut through the white noise of non-descript content and tailor it to a customer’s preferences. Using expert opinion to set your brand apart is key to providing a valuable resource for the customer to achieve their sign up. Personalising content to an individual that serves their needs pays dividends in loyalty and advocacy. The more personalised the experience, the more profitable the relationship.
Adaptive content strategies are the future
B2B decision-making units and customer journeys are complex. One of our clients caters for a decision-making unit of up to 16 individuals of various seniority and specialisms. The best response we can deliver for return is an adaptive strategy that tailors content to the user’s job role and where they are in the customer journey. This means that our client will ultimately have just one website, but hundreds, if not thousands, of possible content journeys.
Without understanding who an individual is, their role and previous engagement with a brand, this would not be possible. We can’t forget that content is a service. It has to be there for a reason, to benefit a prospect or customer, and if we’re not giving them what they want – expert opinion – we are not serving them in a way that will engage.
Reduce the pressure on paid media
I hope by now we all know organic reach is dead and that targeted media is the only way to connect with new audiences. Many of our clients are seeing a steady rise in investment in paid media and are looking for an alternative. Expert, relevant content, that is optimised, provides that. When strategically planned the data that content creates is invaluable.
Content strategies require accompanying amplification strategies to be successful. By collecting audience data we not only make direct communications more relevant, we can create lookalikes for media targeting, ripe for conversion.
Demonstrating genuine vertical or product expertise shows that your brand is authentic and valuable. Gyro’s ultimate goal is to create trustworthy relationships with prospects so they become customers and content with expert opinion provides an opportunity to do just that.