A new survey of 2,400 B2B marketers suggests content marketing is the top priority this year – and by a wide margin.
According to Marketing Charts, 37% of the respondents cited content marketing as the most important initiative. While that percentage is a plurality, the next highest priority, brand building, trailed with 24% of the votes.
“Not only is content marketing by far the top digital priority for B2B marketers this year,” wrote the publication, “but it’s also the discipline most likely to get a spending hike this year.”
The instinctive conclusion stemming from such studies is more content, but with a little planning, creativity and even daring to be different – and make a little bit budget go a long way.
And that’s the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links [UML]. As it is every week, below I offer three three vetted links augmented with experienced commentary for your consideration.
1) Content basics and prospect maturity
Perhaps a better way to think about the so-called buyer’s journey is “prospect maturity.” The idea is that a prospect unfamiliar with a company has different information requirements than one that has the business’ products already on a short list.
That’s the gist of a piece titled The Best Content for Each Stage of Your Sales Funnel by Jeanne Jennings on the Pinpointe Marketing Blog:
“No matter what your sales funnel looks like, it’s important to understand: the prospect’s disposition at each stage; what you need them to do to progress to the next stage; what type of content you should provide to get them there;”
She walks through the classic AIDA model with an explanation and this a good basic approach. Basics are good because sometimes businesses put forward elaborate models of the buyer’s journey that are too complicated for a company to execute against and it smothers the program.
Often, I advocate for an even more simplified model: attract, convert and retain by a simple persona. You can always improve it, but get the basic machine running smoothly first.
2) Advanced content, visualizations and strong views
If the level of prospect maturity is one dimension, and personas are another, then the content format is a third. Julia McCoy outlines 7 Content Types That Gain the Most Engagement & Links in a contributed piece for the Search Engine Journal.
While she lists seven formats, you can see some common theme in her recommendations centering on visualizations and having a strong point of view. For example, she notes while text can sometimes “talk at readers” infographics tend to be interactive and have longevity:
“infographics have a long lifespan and can continue to perform online months or years after they’re originally published.”
As for having strong views she later says:
“…it’s tough to stand out on the web…more content is being published than ever before, much of it is the same, and lots of brands find it difficult to develop their voices. Luckily, there’s one type of content that can put an end to that issue right away: opinion content.”
The various formats also provide an opportunity repurpose content – to take a strong opinion and represent it graphically for example.
It’s also worth noting, all the links and shares in the world don’t count for too much unless you have the content subscriber mechanisms in place to attribute revenue over time.
3) The bold “content marketing” bridge
Here’s a content idea: build a bridge. And no, that’s not a metaphor, according to Mark Evans in a post on his blog titled Why Bold Marketing Turns Left When Everyone Turns Right:
He talked about a real estate developer in Buenos Aires who wanted to attract attention to a new development, Madero Este, in a remote section of the city.
With a $4-million budget, his advertising agency could have taken the easy way out by creating a traditional campaign. But the agency decided not to do the expected because it wouldn’t move the needle.
Instead, the agency made a recommendation to build a beautiful pedestrian bridge. By creating a landmark, the agency believed a bridge would draw people across the river to the development. In the end, it was a brilliant decision.”
I’ve got to believe there were also some substantial media opportunities in building a bridge:
- announcing the plans, naming and artist’s visualization
- the groundbreaking ceremony
- project progress and updates
- the ribbon cutting ceremony
- releasing the time-lapse photography of the build out
- annual events on the bridge
This is an example of why I sing a chorus to the effect that content marketing and public relations needing each other.
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Context in Marketing Campaigns, Mediums and Measurements [UML]