Home > Marketing > Content Marketing is the New Conference and Trade Show During Quarantine [UML]

Content Marketing is the New Conference and Trade Show During Quarantine [UML]

There’s an opportunity for content marketing as audiences become fatigued with Coronavirus news and marketers reallocate live event funding

One of the goals of content marketing is attracting an audience of likely buyers to your web properties and giving them a reason – and the means – to return regularly.

There are several strategies for this including:

  • You can help people – content has utility value.
  • You can captivate people – content has entertainment value.
  • You can answer questions – content has knowledge value

The more people hang around your website, the more they get to know, like and trust you. After a while, you begin to form a connection and relationship with the audience – and a percentage will eventually make a purchase.

In some ways, that’s what conferences, tradeshows and exhibitions are designed to do too. At the core, these are all events that give buyers and sellers a reason to congregate in the same place.

Obviously, we cannot congregate today, and marketing and PR are scrambling to defend or reallocate their budgets. Pivoting to online events are a great option right now and so too is content marketing.

That’s the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing Links [UML] – an occasional roundup of vetted links tied to a theme and presented here for your perusal.

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1)  Fatigue over Coronavirus news

For the last several weeks, PR and marketing professionals wondered if pitches and content about topics other than the pandemic would come off as tone-deaf. If you’re mindful of tone and cadence, you’ll probably be fine and now there is data to support that idea.

According to Neiman Journalism Lab at Harvard:

“Last month’s striking surge in audience attention has ebbed week by week and has now largely washed away.”

The data shows:

“…as of right now, news traffic to news sites, both in the U.S. and around the world, is pretty much back to pre-coronavirus levels in Taboola’s data. Last week was a ‘good normal’ week, audience-wise, not a ‘wow’ week.”

Audiences are asking for something different and that’s an opportunity for brands.

Read more: The coronavirus traffic bump to news sites is pretty much over already via Neiman Lab and Joshua Benton

2) Reallocating budget to webinars, content and search

About 40% of respondents to a survey by Webbiquity and the aggregation service B2B Marketing Zone expect that budget for live events “simply won’t be spent” while about the same percentage expect to “reallocate those funds to other marketing tactics.”

The survey found:

“The top three areas live event budgets will be reallocated to are content creation (43%): hosted webinars (40%); and search marketing (33%).”

Not all marketers are reallocating budget the same way:

“…tech marketers are more likely to invest in online events (both sponsored and hosted) and paid social media” while “non-tech marketers will spend more on content development and organic social media.

Both groups are:

“…about equally like to allocate more budget to search advertising, SEO, and vertical website campaigns.”

The spending on paid search and SEO jives with similar surveys published on this roundup last week.

Read more: The Impact of COVID-19 on B2B Marketing Plans: Tech vs. Non-Tech via Tom Pick and B2B Marketing Zone.

3) Think and act like a publisher

Too many traditional marketers think of content marketing as a content campaign – and these are not the same thing. In a content campaign, the brand acts like a “marketer of content” pushing materials out to as many places as possible, as opposed to acting like a publisher and attracting an audience.

Stephanie Stahl makes this point well in a piece for the Content Marketing Institute (CMI):

“We might see more media outlets shutting down in the coming months as a result. But that doesn’t mean people need less high-quality information or education.”

That meshes with the data already referenced above in this post, but how can brands apply this?

“Act like a publisher of content (not a marketer of content) and be the one to fill the widening information gap, enticing people to subscribe to your content.”

It works too and she cites data from B2B Content Marketing 2020 report:

“68% of top performers use content marketing to build a subscribed audience and 83% of the top performers use it to nurture subscribers/audiences/leads.”

These results do not happen overnight but can be substantial and I have experienced this first-hand. In its third year, a business blog I championed was responsible for 50% of the third-party coverage (itself a 26% y/y increase – not to mention backlinks) the organization received. Further, it was a touchpoint in the sales cycle for roughly one-third of enterprise deals for a SaaS product with an ASP of $1.3 million.

Read more: Content Marketing Can Do More Than Survive in the New World via Stephanie Stahl and Content Marketing Institute

* * *

That it takes a while to get the engine running – is one of the many good reasons why now is a great time to double-down on content marketing.

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Image credits: Unsplash and respective sites mentioned

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