In today’s B2B landscape, leads have already browsed the web, read reviews and consumed every article they can find before even reaching out to another company’s sales team.
But did they read your article? The one that will lead them to your sales team?
Creating engaging and relevant content has become an essential part of modern B2B marketing, but the strategy behind how that content is distributed is just as important. What good is an article that’s perfectly suited for Millennials if it’s only read by Baby Boomers?
Effective content has just as much to do with placement as it does with production.
The Challenges of Content Distribution
Today’s companies face three specific challenges when it comes to closing a deal with potential buyers: speaking to the right audience, overcoming a general mistrust and dodging digital ad blockers.
B2B companies have a particularly tough time reaching the right people because their audiences tend to be more niche than B2C audiences. Many businesses struggle to identify potential consumers when specific titles, locations, and verticals come into play. Even after those groupings are ironed out, marketers still need to determine which channels will reach those people best. Then, they must tailor specific messages that suit the unique interests of each demographic.
Clearly, aligning all of these factors into the delivery of an effective message can pose a serious challenge for B2B marketers.
Once a company does speak to the right audience, it’s confronted by the fact that the average consumer has grown skeptical toward what he or she reads online. According to one study, 92 percent of Internet users say they trust earned media, while only half trust paid advertisements. They also tend to trust their friends, basing between 20 and 50 percent of their purchasing decisions on word-of-mouth recommendations.
To top it off, as digital devices become easier to use, so do their ad-blocking capabilities. In a matter of months, ad blocking went from a marginally disturbing trend that only impacted ad-supported business models to a top discussion point for marketers and advertisers alike. Today, more than 198 million people use mobile devices that are capable of ad blocking.
With so many factors working against marketers, creating a solid strategy for content distribution is critical.
Strategies for Boosting Your Content Distribution
To capture today’s elusive audiences, you must rethink what it means to be a great marketer in a digital world. These five strategies can help your message resonate with the groups you want to reach:
- Maximize your SEO
Test different keywords and buzz terms on different articles to see how far they stretch your SEO outreach. Without being too obnoxious or redundant, pepper them throughout every piece — in the title of the page, the headline of the article and the introduction. So search engines can bring you the audience who’s searching for exactly what you provide.
- Recycle your content
Starting every piece of content you produce from scratch is a great way to waste time and energy. Some projects require 100 percent unique content, but not all. Keep a robust library of reusable content, and don’t be afraid to tweak previous work to fit today’s needs. Doing so allows your team to invest more time in the projects that really deserve it.
- Turn employees into advocates
People trust other people, even if they happen to work for the company they’re promoting. An essential part of an effective word-of-mouth strategy is installing an employee advocacy program throughout your company. Happy employees make great brand ambassadors, so be sure to also make an internal investment in your distribution strategy.
- Provide social variety
If you blanket the same messages in the same manner across Twitter, Facebook and any other social account your company uses, people will start to tune you out. Each channel has unique quirks and user demographics, so be sure to vary your topics and word choice across them. Further, consider posting your material to niche outlets to reach a smaller, yet more interested, group of people. For instance, if you provide products for classic cars, establish your presence on classic car forums and offer targeted incentives to users of those sites.
- Create interactive content
Today’s audiences expect content to go beyond words on a page, so go out of your way to incorporate interactive components throughout your marketing material. Quizzes, surveys, games and clickable infographics are just a few ways to get your target demographic more involved with your message and excited by what you have to offer.
When employing these methods and testing new strategies, it’s crucial to collect data to analyze their success. Different metrics apply to different scenarios, but a few to keep an eye on include voice, engagement, traffic generation, conversions, and clicks.
Regardless of the metrics that best suit your campaigns, track them properly and analyze them continuously so your strategy can improve with your insights. Set goals and benchmarks, and then compete against them so your content marketing never stagnates.
The challenges of marketing today are greater than ever, but so are the opportunities. These five strategies can help you get the right material in front of the right people and make the most of your content distribution.