The goal of this article is to give you a clear definition of content marketing, why you absolutely have to get started and where to start… unless you want to close shop of course.
What is content marketing?
Definition of content marketing
Your audience will appreciate it, you will gain their trust, and they will mature until a prospect who has read you calls you to ask for your help, because you are their expert.
I could give you lots of examples, by the way you are reading such marketing content. But to further illustrate it I have a question for you:
It was published in 1900 by the tire brand of the same name, it was one of the first examples of content marketing carried out by a French brand. The guide was aimed at the few pioneers who owned a car. You could read a list of garage owners and good addresses all over the country … Without ever talking about tires, but intelligently inviting the reader to take the road … and therefore to buy tires.
The most common brakes are:
- If you share your knowledge and expertise on your profession, why call on you since your advice is free?
- Won’t your competitors take the best practices that you share in your content?
These fears are unfounded:
- If it only takes one item, no matter how specific, to replace your product or service, you have a problem. But it has nothing to do with your content.
- Your competitors already know how to compete with you by definition. How to create a Wikipedia profile on the other hand, if you are not afraid to share your knowledge, your expertise will seem much greater than theirs.
Finally, content marketing is a long-term strategy. The ideal recipe for seeing such a strategy bear fruit? Time, relevance and regularity.
Inbound marketing vs content marketing
You will surely read a proven link, sometimes disputed, between inbound marketing and content marketing.
Content marketing is, as we saw above, producing content that can really interest your prospects.
Inbound marketing is a strategy whose objective is to qualify and convert leads (prospects) into customer’s thanks in particular to content. With inbound marketing, we are particularly interested in the customer journey to deliver the right messages at the right time and promote conversion.
For example, you sell a payment terminal solution for TPEs. In the discovery phase, your prospects will be able to read advice articles on local commerce. In the decision phase, they will be able to find videos of convinced customers on your landing page. We can see here that the tone will change.
To go further: discover our tips for modeling your customers’ journey.
We can conclude that inbound marketing is a conversion process, which feeds on marketing content and marketing automation. While content marketing is a philosophy of value creation. It is essential to feed your inbound marketing approach but also to feed all your outbound marketing actions (prospecting e-mail and social selling for example). In addition, search engines love content, so content marketing is the keystone of an effective natural referencing (SEO) strategy.
At the risk of offending a few people, we believe that neither concept is broader or more important than the other. Inbound and content marketing are inseparable, complementary, and a good marketing strategy must address both aspects as a whole.
Examples of B2B content marketing
As you will have understood, the keystone of your marketing content strategy is of course the “added value” that you will bring to your audience. But there are dozens of different formats for your content marketing:
- Blog posts
- Customer testimonials
- Case studies
The example of Shine
The neo-bank Shine offers on its blog numerous information sheets intended for its privileged target (freelance entrepreneurs). We also find on the site: a revenue simulator and customer testimonials. Finally, the bank regularly produces videos in partnership with influencers from all fields.
The example of Cournand Construction
The builder of modular buildings for professional use, Cournand Construction, provides its readers with a quarterly magazine dedicated to industrialized construction. A complete magazine where you can discover articles on the field.
The Zen desk example
Zen desk, a customer service platform, offers many free resources for its customers interested in the customer experience. It includes: resource sheets, webinars and statistical studies.
Why you should get into content marketing
Content marketing is a powerful lever for companies. In particular, it allows you to create a qualified audience, educate your prospects and finally increase the conversions of your Sales teams.
Generate a qualified audience via SEO and SMO
Content creation is a great start. But the goal is to generate leads isn’t it?
So, you have to broadcast it so that it meets an audience.
The use of SEO (natural referencing) or SMO (social networks) is essential!
For example, a coach for entrepreneurs articulates their content marketing strategy around long blog posts, a white paper and a weekly podcast.
How are prospects going to be able to learn about this wide choice of content and therefore, implicitly, get to know it?
- Through a search on Google. That’s good, the coach wrote a complete and illustrated article of more than 2000 words on the steps to start a business. An article he posted on his website. His article is so good that it is referenced on the first page of Google!
- Thanks to LinkedIn. The coach shares testimonials from his clients with a link to his website. With each publication, no less than 2,000 views in its network, which is largely made up of prospects!
Next step? Let this audience turn into a customer, of course.
It looks pretty good: the content of the coach obviously attracts people who are already interested in its services.
Qualify, educate and convert your prospects with lead nurturing
Content marketing, when used to serve a lead nurturing strategy is a formidable asset for your business!
In French, lead nurturing could be defined by the maturation of a prospect, his loyalty or even his “breeding”.
So how do you allow a prospect to mature?
You don’t learn anything by saying that during a long sale, it’s important to remind a prospect that you exist. To keep you in mind, there are different options available to you.
Quite clearly, a repeated phone call is not a good idea.
On the other hand, you can offer him regular content to feed his thinking: Wikipedia writing service a personalized email, an e-book or a webinar.
Naturally, your prospect will identify you as a thought leader on your topic.
The elements that you will bring to him on your sector of activity will “nourish” him thanks to your pedagogy and this throughout the sale.
And believe us that is a strong argument when he is finally ready to buy or when he has to convince his team to choose you!
Increase the conversion rate of the sales team
Last advantage to embark on the fabulous adventure of content marketing? Provide a variety of tools to facilitate the processing of business opportunities by your team!
And for that, we have a not-so-secret secret: to create all the ideal conditions for the Marketing and Sales team to work together.
On the one hand, salespeople in the field have a detailed knowledge of your ideal customer: they know their motivations, their questions and their obstacles to buying.
On the other hand, the Marketing team has its in-depth knowledge of this customer’s digital journey and can combine this information with the customer’s knowledge of the sales. The Marketing team can therefore create content to reassure the customer at each step forward in the purchasing journey: videos, customer cases, articles, etc.
Result? The tools produced by the Marketing team are useful for the Sales team. Sales reps can participate in delivering content and the content will help them convert better.
Content marketing where to start?
Establish a content strategy
Success is not about jumping headlong into the arena and producing 7,000,000 blog posts every week.
You need to establish a comprehensive content strategy. Content marketing is very powerful but you have to use it intelligently to have a long-term and multi-channel vision.
In a few words to establish your strategy you must:
- Set yourself clear and easy to follow goals
- Detail the needs and challenges of your personas
- Create a complete content plan, anticipate the links between them and their format
- Create a distribution strategy for this content
Keep in mind that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, without a strategy and clear metrics you will run out of steam and be unable to verify the effectiveness of your work.
Write and distribute content
And yes, we will have to create this content now!
Each format has these specificities and advantages, vary the formats and adapt them to your target. My advice is to use blog posts and video at a minimum.
The blog post:
Why start with the articles? Because a blog post is easy to write, you don’t need any material, all you need is a website and some simple techniques to make good posts. Moreover, it is also an excellent basis for working on your natural referencing! Yes, Google loves written content! It is easy for him to understand it and determine on which keyword you should be positioned.
If you want to take it a step further we have written an article on how to write a good blog post. Otherwise here are some tips to get started.