It is difficult to avoid the hype about content marketing (it is everywhere) but is it really of value to businesses in B2B markets? The first step is to research if content marketing will deliver an acceptable ROI. It does not work well for every business in B2B markets. Next, it is important to decide if it is best to go it alone or invest in a marketing mentor to guide you through the process?
The (Alleged) Value In Content Marketing
The theory behind content marketing all appears valid. It states that prospects and customers have grown weary of push marketing techniques. They no longer rely on suppliers to push the information required to make purchasing decisions their way. Instead, they actively seek out what they need long before engaging with a potential supplier.
Delivering information (content) that supports potential customers information needs during various parts of the purchasing process is (it is suggested) the way forward.
In theory, high quality content can be used to build inbound links to the business website. This increases the effectiveness of the SEO process and drives more traffic to the business website. Content may also fuel social media channels and increase reach, awareness and customer engagement.
The Problem With Content Marketing
All of the above theory is valid and sounds wonderful in principle but there are some key problems to address. The first problem is the ‘build it and they will come‘ mentality. What complete nonsense. Nothing is going to waste your time, effort and hard earned cash faster than buying into this mentality. Content must be marketed and delivered by the most appropriate means to reach the target audience.
This brings in the second problem and that is the need for a cohesive plan and strategy. This should detail the target audience, what their information requirements may be at various stages in the buying process and where they look for that information. Without a plan in place a significant amount of time will be wasted.
The most obvious resource customers will use for information is the business website but it is important not to forget offline sources.
Finally, there is the issue of the time required to build and deliver content. It takes time to create blog posts, infographics and other valuable and engaging information. It is therefore important that the maximum benefit is extracted from this content. It should be re-used in as many different forms as possible and be distributed appropriately.
Is There Value In Employing A Mentor
Any business can build its own, content based, inbound marketing process. The issue is the time and resources wasted on a content marketing process that has not been properly planned.
An alternative is to seek out an experienced mentor who understands what works well (and what does not). Although a mentor comes at a cost this should be measured against any time and resources wasted due to inexperience.