As B2B marketers flesh out their content strategies for 2015, many are taking a look at its role throughout the buyer’s journey — not just for top-of-the-funnel demand generation.
In a recent webinar hosted by NewsCred, trends and strategies for content marketing in 2015 were discussed — highlighting how the buyer’s journey has changed and how B2B marketers can leverage content to meet the needs of their target audience.
“Content marketing is a growing priority for many B2B marketers,” said Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy at NewsCred, during the webinar session. “This is because it represents the gap between what we — as brands — publish, and what our customers are looking for.”
According to Brenner, effective content marketers:
- Document their content strategy;
- Consistently publish quality content;
- Track their content’s ROI;
- Map their content to the buyers journey; and
- Have an equal balance of paid, owned and earned media.
“Think about it: roughly 40% of the B2B buyer journey is in the solution provider’s control,” said Brenner. “The challenge isn’t just how to sell your product and amplify brand image, but also reaching out to your buyers earlier in the buying process and providing the information they require to make their decision.”
Constantly Connected Buyers Require Content That Tells A Story
Brenner said today’s always-on, connected environment drives the need for more engaging and personalized content. While this presents a challenge for brands, it also presents opportunities for marketers to connect with prospects on an individual level.
Social media, in particular, is a new channel B2B marketers can leverage to personalize their marketing efforts. Brenner noted that “in just 11 short years, social media has had a major impact on the way we market to our audience.”
While it is challenging to use these new channels effectively, it also drives opportunities to revamp content into a way that brings value to the target audience. Great content marketing is great storytelling, according to Brenner. “We need to connect with our audience through stories people can love.”
Brenner added: “Storytelling is as old as we are. The reason for that is that stories convey important pieces of information in a way that we can remember. Social media has made a massive impact on the way we tell stories because it highlights the decreasing amount of time and attention span we have to convey that message to our audience.”
Emotion, Buyer Centricity Key In 2015
Although it is important for marketers to get their brand message across to their readers, it should not be their primary objective — especially with top-funnel content. Making an emotional connection with the target audience’s pain points is crucial to effectively leveraging content in the upcoming year.
“It’s not only about the information we are trying to convey, it’s about creating an emotional connection,” said Brenner.“It's the emotional connections that we're able to make that are important in the way we convey stories, and this is also important with content marketing.”
This change in control also shows a need for B2B companies to become more buyer-centric, and the best way to do that is through content that resonates within that target audience — while also proving value. Marketing is no longer about pushing your message out to your audience, according to Brenner. “It’s about attracting your audience, and doing so in a way that is more effective for your business.”
With buyer attention spans gradually growing shorter, marketers have to get the message across faster than ever. Creating visually stimulating content not only draws eyes from your target audience, but it can also help formulate a brand’s message into a story — rather than a sales pitch.
“Today, kids communicate less in words with long-form storytelling, but using images and pictures to tell the story in a rapid way,” Brenner added.“[Upcoming B2B buyers] are growing up in a world where attention spans are short, and we have to make sure that we are getting the message across as quickly as possible — in as visual way.”
Click here to view an on-demand version of the webinar.