Call it publicity, self publishing or content marketing — the result is the same. Quality branded content reigns supreme across the digital platform, and marketers are spending about a quarter of their marketing budget on its development. Effective B2B marketers are spending 30 percent of their budget on content marketing, while less successful marketers only allocate 18 percent.
There are several reasons B2B companies have adopted content marketing. Most of them say that better brand awareness, improved customer retention and recruitment, lead generation and increased web traffic are their top goals. In 2010, nine out of 10 B2B marketers used content marketing to grow their business, according to a report from MarketingProfs and Junta42. This makes sense, given that a B2B brand doesn’t get to be No.1 unless buyers know its brand promise, performance capabilities and expertise.
Companies are using, on average, eight content marketing tactics to achieve their marketing goals, with the most popular tactics including social media (79 percent), articles (78 percent), in-person events (62 percent) and e-newsletters (61 percent). Additionally, corporate websites, e-books, videos, podcasts and presentations are all weapons in the B2B content marketing arsenal. And because these avenues are less expensive than other marketing tactics, even small companies with limited budgets can leverage them to deliver branded content to their customers.
Marketers use the Internet to syndicate branded content to thousands of prospects in seconds. Press releases, white papers and feature articles broaden your reach through Google, Yahoo and other search engines. Online publishers are in the loop, too, and ready to give you a voice on industry-specific websites and blogs.
On digital channels, the key to branding success is to think like a publisher, not a marketer. The Internet is a subtle medium where buyers are seeking information they can trust. Vendor-slanted, sales-driven content can result in a quick disconnect and departure of potential buyers. Buyers want information they can trust. They don’t want to be sold; they want to be informed in a believable way.
When it’s delivered in an efficient and engaging way, it’s not uncommon for branded content to double or triple a company’s leads. How? It doesn’t sell a product, and it doesn’t sell a brand. But it does tell a story that displays a high level of expertise in solved the challenges of a specific industry. This approach speaks to the integrity of the brand, helping the brand penetrate the industry and dominate the market’s mind.