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How to create effective content

Andrew Dalglish, director at Circle Research, reveals his tips for content success

Content marketing, that trend everyone is talking about, is nothing new. Whether it’s publishing whitepapers, creating case studies or speaking at trade events, content marketing has always been a mainstay in B2B. However, there is an important difference between then and now…

In the past content marketing was an option, but now it’s a necessity. It supports SEO and the constant quest for higher search rankings. It provides potential buyers with evidence of a supplier’s expertise now that much of the buying journey takes place online. It fuels that shiny new marketing automation machine. I could go on, but what’s important is the net result – that your target audience is constantly bombarded with content from every angle. 

How do you stand out?
Well, you could use brute force. Create some content and then throw lots of money at promoting it. That will undoubtedly build awareness, but misses the point. The goal of content marketing isn’t simply to say ‘we’re here’ but to say ‘we’re the experts’. So the real trick is to focus on quality. To create content that:

• Is relevant and unique. Ask your target audience about their challenges and what information they would bite your hand off for. Then take each of these potential subject areas and audit everything already published to identify areas of white space. This will ensure that your content is in demand and fresh.

• Has substance. Often content has some kind of survey underpinning it as this provides a solid basis for any assertions. But take care. Adopting the survey-led approach half-heartedly by doing a ‘quick and dirty’ piece of research may be counterproductive – it could position you as not really understanding the issue rather than being an expert.

• Is useful. The target audience isn’t reading content as a leisure activity; they’re reading it because it might give them an edge at work. So help them to act. Couple the core thought piece with supporting content such as case studies, best practice guides, benchmarking tools and third-party expert commentary.

Of course, you’ll still need to invest in promoting the content, but this approach will deliver a much greater ROI.