In the crowded space of B2B marketing, setting yourself apart and creating a distinct brand identity is tricky business. In fact, when it comes to startups, the challenge is even more daunting. This is why a traditional promotional strategy that talks repeatedly about the ‘goodness’ of your product and service is not sufficient anymore.
Today, B2B marketers require a diverse set of strategies to attract potential consumers, convert those leads into sales, and establish a lasting relationship with them. This is where content marketing is making a major difference.
Content marketing broadly refers to a strategy of creating engaging, but non-promotional content, and distributing it among a wide array of potential audiences through multiple social and digital media channels.
This strategy may include engaging blogs, thought leadership articles, and interesting visual content that offers informational or emotional value to the reader or viewer. The more compelling the content, the larger and deeper its impact is likely to be on the target audience.
For startups looking to make a splash in a busy marketplace, content marketing emerges as a very useful strategy to set themselves apart. The emergence of a fledgeling content-to-commerce model in recent years proves the power of content in creating a ready market for a new product or service.
Here is why content marketing is emerging as a game-changer for B2B startups:
It is key to engaging and attracting an audience
What engages or attracts an audience to a particular content – be it verbal or visual? Certainly not a story that blatantly promotes your product. That would rather be a spam.
Content marketers do not create promotional content that directly shoves their products on to the readers. An intelligent content marketing strategy finds unique ways to talk about the industry, its challenges, and bright spots. It talks about subjects people in that industry would like to read.
To cite an instance, a nutraceutical product manufacturer or distributor must create content on the power of using ‘food as medicine.’ Informative, engaging, and value-driven content not only helps attract an audience, it is also shared widely on social media, and generates a larger discussion on the subject.
Make no mistake, this also draws a large number of potential consumers to your homepage and also converts those leads into buyers. In fact, content marketing brings in considerable traffic through organic searches.
Building a reliable brand through thought leadership
A distinct content marketing strategy works systematically to establish the brand as a thought leader in the industry. At present, B2B marketers are further diversifying their content strategies by onboarding a strong network of contributors, bloggers, and experts. Adequately amplifying and repurposing content is an inclusive part of this content marketing strategy.
Good digital content is not only readily consumable but is also easily shareable. Organising webinars on pertinent industry-related challenges, involving other industry experts in panels, and creating engaging video stories have emerged as viable peer-to-peer marketing tactics.
Over time, this strategy elevates the brand to the position of a thought leader. A cohesive and vibrant content strategy helps startups, as well as mid-level players, develop into an industry voice that is looked up to by consumers and peers.
Building loyalty and establishing a lasting relationship
The role of content marketing is not limited to attracting new audiences to the brand, it also plays a significant role in nurturing an existing consumer base. In a difficult business terrain, where even a minor hiccup can push away a consumer to another waiting brand, building a lasting relationship of trust and loyalty requires multi-dimensional engagement efforts.
Come to think of it, how can an organisation interact regularly with its existing customers?
While customer handling service is the first interface, an effective content marketing outreach is another one.
Today, offering a unique customer experience includes not just delivering a quality product or service but also ensuring that you are attentive and responsive to the needs or questions of the customer. Undeniably, quality content marketing activities help augment the customer experience.
At present, content marketing specialists dedicate an entire array of content activities to engage existing brand customers including the deployment of what is often termed as custom content.
This ‘custom content’ delivers a series of informative and research-based inputs such as white papers, surveys, email newsletters, industry reports, etc., to ensure organisations are communicating constantly with their consumers. Apart from reinforcing the brand image and values, this approach helps build a strong affinity and endear the consumer to the brand.
In a digital age, when an overwhelming majority of people turn to the Internet to seek answers and solutions, quality content marketing is an inalienable part of an overall digital marketing strategy for B2B organisations.
For startups looking to create a niche for themselves in a crowded market, quality content creation accompanied by an intelligent content distribution strategy is emerging as the main differentiator.
Content marketing works because it does much more than just attract a buyer to a product. It helps your brand communicate one on one with the consumer, addresses their questions and needs, and engages them in a wider discussion about the industry or society. However, consistency and quality are the essential elements of a successful content marketing strategy.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YS.)