Experts Reveal Content Marketing Truisms—And A Few Important Non-Truisms

Published: November 6, 2012

Content marketing is nothing new. Regardless of the type of content, the goals remain the same: inform, educate, engage and provide value to prospects.

A recent content marketing roundtable, sponsored by Bizo, highlighted different aspects of content marketing followed by executive viewpoints from panelists: Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing for Kivey; Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs; Matt Johnson, CMO of uTest; and Todd Wheatland, VP of Thought Leadership and Marketing for Kelly Services.

 “B2B marketers have always created brochures, data sheets, and corporate videos that were played on VCRs,” said Sean Callahan, Editor for Digital Marketing Remix and moderator of the panel.  “What’s different today is the corporate web site which has moved far beyond its initial incarnation that’s ‘brochurewear.’”

Callahan shared two trends that have led to the evolution of content marketing:

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– Search engine sites became more prominent, making companies focus more on the “look and feel” of their web sites.
– The emergence of blogs and social media, an essential platform to share content for B2B marketers.

The best SEO approach for a company is to have great content, noted Callahan. However, the question here isn’t whether or not to produce content; it is to understand the types of content needed to engage customers as well as the right platform to distribute the content.

For B2B marketers, content marketing is still about branding, sales and lead generation. The top five organizational goals for B2B content marketing according to a recent CMI/MarketingProfs report are:

– Brand awareness (79%);
– Customer acquisition (74%);
– Lead generation (71%);
– Customer retention/loyalty (64%); and
– Thought leadership (64%).

B2B Content Marketing Truths

The heart of content, according to Callahan, is social media. In fact, 87% of B2B marketers today use social media to distribute content, a 13% increase from 2011.

Chernov discussed what he considers fiveessedntial  content marketing truths:
1) Without content, social engagement stalls;
2) Logo size is inversely proportional to credibility;
3) No bait, no bites;
4) B2B needs to mimic B2C; and
5) We share how we want to be seen.

“Content is not only the ‘fuel’ for your social media programs, but it’s also the bait for your customer acquisition programs,” noted the former VP of Content Marketing for Eloqua. “One thing that we discovered early on at Eloqua was that the better the content, the better the campaign.”

Chernov added, “It’s important to look at your demand generation program through a content lens because the quality of content that you’re baiting your hook with determines the amount of fish you’re going to catch.”

The Content Marketing Lies

The concept in content marketing isn’t about storytelling — it’s about telling the true story well, and making sure they are worth sharing, explained Handley. “You have to think carefully as your creating content and in the best way possible.”

Handley laid a few content marketing myths to rest during her presentation:

  1. Storytelling should be at the heart of your content.
  2. Your story is about you.
  3. Mo’ content, mo’ better.
  4. Quantity trumps quality.
  5. Don’t even think about trying to be funny.

5.5) LinkedIn is only for the unemployed.

The challenge is not about finding the right content marketing professionals; in fact, the majority (64%) of B2B content marketers said they are challenges with producing enough content. In addition, 52% find it difficult to produce the kind of content that engages with the customer; and in the B2B space, it’s important to focus on who you’re trying to reach, not just trying to reach everyone.

The CMI/MarketingProfs Content Marketing study noted that B2B marketers use an average of five social media sites to distribute content. Among them, LinkedIn holds the top spot, followed by Twitter.

Handley believes LinkedIn is a “rich resource, especially if you’re trying to have discussions around B2B subjects.”

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