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B-to-B Insights : Content Is King

Seven rules to follow for effective content marketing

August 2010 By Robert W. Bly
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If you asked me to name the two biggest trends in B-to-B marketing today, I'd have to say social media and content marketing. And social media seems to work best when it's based on content.

In my previous column in the June issue, I shared that in a recent survey of Target Marketing readers, 83 percent said either that content marketing complements and works in tandem with traditional marketing communications (71 percent) or that content is replacing traditional marketing as the primary selling tool (12 percent). Only 15 percent of marketers said they don't really do content marketing. None of those surveyed agreed with the statement "content is a waste of time."

Joe Pulizzi, chief content officer of Junta42, says that the average business marketer spends 30 percent of his marketing budget on the creation and execution of content, and that 56 percent of marketers increased their content marketing spending last year.

But content marketing isn't just "publishing information." There's way too much information available today. Your prospects are drowning in information. But they are starved for knowledge: ideas on how to solve problems and methods for doing their jobs better.

In addition, you're not in business to publish and give away content; you're in business to sell your products and services. Unless publishing content helps you achieve that goal, it's a waste of your time and money.

Here are seven guidelines that can help make your content marketing efforts more productive and effective.

1. Narrow the Topic
There is no benefit to cramming every last fact and bit of information about a subject into your white paper or other content marketing piece; the prospect can get all of the same data and sources using Google.

Content marketing works best when you narrow the topic. The narrower the topic, the more in-depth and useful your content can be.

For instance, let's say you're an industrial gas manufacturer creating a 10-page white paper on safety for plant managers. If the title is Plant Safety, you cannot hope to cover the topic in even the most superficial way; entire books have been written on that subject.

On the other hand, you could produce a very useful white paper on Safety Tips for Handling Compressed Gas Cylinders. It's a topic plant personnel want and need to know more about. And with your experience, you can probably offer some tips and methods that are new to the reader.


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