Because there is no secret sauce in content marketing, my dear friend. Look at my straight face here. I am not joking at all.
In fact, I am going to reveal a profound truth that might have been eluding you for a while.
Digital marketers and entrepreneurs: prick up your ears, as I am going to sprout the century’s most enlightening...
Oh wait! Let me start with a verified truth here.
In life, we tend to chase our tails at times ... in an illusion of the presence of some invisible magical power around us. We like to think or let’s say, we WANT to think in luck—which I totally believe in—that nothing is in our hands. But in reality, a lot remains in our hands. Seldom do we realize that the power is within us.
The magic lies within you as a content marketer.
It’s not by chance that a slight 1 percent of internet entrepreneurs have 100K+ Twitter followers while the rest have a mere hundred. It’s amazing how that little, privileged segment of entrepreneurs are being talked about in almost every other blog in that particular niche. The community admires them, “worships” them and eats out of their palms—even if some of them are selling $2000 ecourses. (Quite a BIG sum, right? Is it worth it? That’s another topic.)
First, can you tell me what’s separates these ‘special’ people from the pack?
Can you guess?
It’s the Power of their Brand.
Are you wondering, “Huh! Why are we talking of Branding now?”
Have patience. Let me explain. (Taking a long sip from my coffee mug.)
Come to think about it...
What’s driving that solid brand in the first place? I mean, how do you think these entrepreneurs created one for God’s sake?
Yes, you guessed it correctly, my friend.
By the Power of Grayskull! (I am kidding.)
It’s through their Awesome Content Quality.
Go through each of their blog posts, their reports, their infographics or sometimes even their landing pages.
You will see that they give so much value. Whether through the interactive quizzes, colourful graphs and geeky informative charts, they give, give, GIVE!
CMI’s Chief Content Adviser Robert Rose says, “If we’re truly focused on delivering value through content — value that is separate and distinct from our product or service — then the experience becomes ‘enhanced.’ This enhancement is what will be additive to the customer’s perception of what that brand provides.”
So true. I fully agree. Thumbs up.
Only with the right content marketing strategy can you build a solid, time-tested brand for your B2B business. A Brand that stands out and shines in its own industry niche. But optimizing for such a content marketing campaign with the highest return potential requires ... umm ... ATTENTION.
I agree with 4 aspects of a great content marketing strategy as suggested by Talia Wolf:
The content: Map the content people actually want and need. Why should people read your article vs. someone else’s? What will you be saying that is new and different?
The influencers: Next, map out influencers who would be interested in this article. You can collect quotes from them, mention them, or simply add them to a list of people you’re going to tweet to or reach out to via email when the article is ready. The more personal you get with them, the more likely they are to share the article.
The media: Map out websites and publishers that would be interested in your article. Many publishers feature articles they find interesting or syndicate content. Reach out to them and let them know you’re writing a specific article they may be interested in. Reaching out beforehand will give you an indication if they’d like to see certain information in that article for them to share it or syndicate it.
The promotion: Writing the content is only 20% of the job. The other 80% is promotion. Don’t just rely on sharing it a couple of times on Twitter and LinkedIn. Have a list of all the sites, communities, and platforms you’re going to promote on.
If we tend to these four factors regularly in your content marketing campaign, you can rest assured that you business graphs—whichever you prefer—will go up.
BUT, BUT, BUT...
There’s one another crucial aspect of a perfect content marketing strategy that we are missing here. Perhaps, that’s the reason why your card house is crumbling down again and again. Or maybe, you are not being able to reap the results you want.
Normally, as soon as we start talking about content marketing, the following objectives begin popping up in our mind from nowhere—it’s become so cliché these days, seriously:
Generate traffic and visibility in social networks
Yes, this one is indeed important. I believe, if nobody gets to see my content, it’s no use creating it. Then...
Improve SEO positioning
Ah, how can we ever forget about the search engine robots, right? With all the hype of automation going on around us, we may as well become robots ourselves. But that’s best kept for another letter.
Promotion of a product or service
Your content needs to sell. Everyone says so. That includes me as well. He he. However, we are still not talking about one particular objective of content marketing.
Getting loyal subscribers
Nopes, this is not the one we are talking about. Yes, getting LOADS of subscribers has never made any marketer unhappy. But guess what, this is still not the one.
Add to this...
Building A Solid, Unbreakable Brand
Seen it and already know how powerful it can be. In fact, all of the above can be accomplished if you manage to succeed at this one only.
(Courtesy to the $2000+ courses! No offence to those entrepreneurs. I know a few and I can tell you, they are a bunch of the most hardworking people on this planet. But frankly speaking, not all those courses are worth it. However, they sell like hotcakes. Brand, my friend, that’s called a Brand. And in case you are wondering, oh, I am damn jealous, you know.)
If you listen to Talia’s advice, you will achieve all of these objectives. However...
I believe we are missing ONE IMPORTANT INGREDIENT from the content success matrix.
Let me add this one.
Want to know about the most consequential, earth-shattering secret sauce to your content marketing strategy?
“Hey, you said there’s no secret sauce at the beginning of this article!”
Well, I lied. Straight face. Can’t I?
The secret sauce of your B2B content marketing strategy is ... wait for it ...
You probably didn’t get it, right? I can see it in your blank face.
Let me say it again ... in a simpler way.
You don’t do content marketing first in order to build a brand as a result.
You focus on branding first for a perfect content marketing campaign.
I think, this has been aptly brought out by Jillian Hillard, director of brand marketing, small appliances, at Electrolux, commented:
“For brands, it’s no longer a question of how you can use content to enhance the consumer’s perception of the brand, it’s a necessity. Content is the gateway into a brand’s soul.”
You build a brand by focusing on BRANDING at all times. You cannot be telling your copywriter, “Hey, get me an article about the latest industry statistics.” And then, you daydream how it will increase the brand score of your business.
You create branded content to create a brand.
Stop reading right now, and give it a long thought.
Doesn’t that really make sense?
Unfortunately, this is where most marketers and entrepreneurs falter. They lack the right content marketing strategy to start with. Needless to say, it doesn’t fetch you the expected results.
3 Main Essentials Of Branded Content Marketing
Your B2B content must demonstrate your brand values and principles.
Content marketing is not advertising—bold and direct. As a content marketer, you need to bring forth the essence of your brand in a subtler manner.
Your B2B content must achieve the business priorities.
Are you trying to find new customers? Retain existing customers? Cross-sell? All three? Are you a direct-seller with ecommerce sales goals? Whatever your marketing goals are, your B2B content marketing strategy must cater to your business goals ... always.
Your B2B content must serve your customer needs and desires—a challenge for most businesses.
We live in a selfish world, and as humans, businesses too care about their self-interests. You need to go further. Traditional research, customer surveys or lengthy pitches from sales professionals might not cut it anymore.
Understand what moves your customers, their needs, their desires and their fears. Create content not to advertise your business, but to cater to their personal lives. Make it ‘shareworthy’!
It is the secret sauce that’s been lacking in your B2B content marketing strategy.
Give them more than they expect from you.
Give ‘em value, my friend.