Inform, educate and empower. I wrote those words in my last blog post to describe what we feel content marketing needs to do in order to be effective. It’s especially true in B2B marketing where the challenges and business needs are complex, and the solutions are specialised. Even so, many clients still feel that content marketing requires them to give too much away and they are worried about losing their competitive edge. But how much of a risk is content marketing, really?
“There’s no way this content is free….”
There are some well-known examples of B2B brands that have embraced content marketing and regularly create materials that are designed to help their target audience in their jobs. Think Hubspot, Marketo and eConsultancy. When you first stumbled across them, did you think their content was too good to be true? Were they really giving away all that great insight for just a registration? Yes, there were, and they still are.
“Where do we draw the line?”
We know you can’t give away the crown jewels in a piece of content marketing. That would be like handing your business over to the world on a shiny platter. But you can create materials that add value to your audience, while supporting your core business proposition.
With Hubspot, that might involve helping prospects to adapt their marketing strategy in preparation for automation – focusing on segmentation, campaign planning and content creation. They are not telling you how their automation platform works, but they are helping you to improve your processes so that you can get more benefit from using their tools. Not everyone who is looking for a marketing automation platform will eventually sign up with Hubspot though, so you could say that they’ve given something away without getting anything back from those people. But the fact is, they wouldn’t get anywhere near the level of awareness, requests for trials or sales meetings without giving that content away.
“What’s in it for us?”
It’s about credibility. Yes, your web copy can tell the world what you do, how good you are at doing it, and why everyone should work with you. But those are just words, and they won’t have as much impact on their own as they will with good supporting content. And, no, that doesn’t mean a sales brochure. We’re talking about ebooks, guides, executive briefs, blog posts, workbooks, videos and more, all designed to help the reader to be better in their job. It’s about sharing ideas, spreading knowledge, and at the same time positioning yourselves as an expert in your field.
Add value and become memorable
Creating valuable marketing content assets doesn’t mean you are inviting people to steal your business. Remember, you are the experts at what you do – you have first had knowledge and can speak with authority about your services and solutions. Just because other people can hear what you have to say doesn’t mean they can deliver what you do! So don’t be afraid to get involved with the conversations in the market. Make yourselves heard and start to build a reputation as a brand that adds value. Your prospects will thank you and remember you for it.