Content marketing needs to be part of a long-term marketing strategy that is based on making connections, fostering relationships and building trust. It does take discipline and planning, but the pay-offs can be huge.
Our last post Why Your Content Marketing Isn’t Working and How to Fix it – Part 1 listed some of the main reasons that many manufacturers and distributors fail to make content marketing work for them. These include the following: no overall strategy, a lack of dedicated resources, sub-standard content and insufficient content promotion. We also offered tangible recommendations to address these deficiencies.
There are, however, other factors that often come into play. Below are some further tips to help you in your content marketing efforts.
Avoid the Shotgun Approach
This amounts to spraying bits and pieces of content around the web that have no direct connection—blog and social media posts, videos, tutorials product reviews, white papers, newsletters, webinars, etc.,—in the hope that something sticks.
Rather than relying on chance and blind luck, create an editorial calendar with connected themes. As mentioned last time, using software such as HootSuite is an excellent way to efficiently manage and integrate your social media postings and help with your brand management.
Remember: Creating the content is only one aspect of content marketing. Be sure to commit the necessary resources to promoting the content that you worked so hard to create!
Content marketing does take awhile to gain traction with the search engines. When executed properly and regularly, it will eventually generate traffic and leads for your company. But the process can be slower than say, direct mail, or a Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising service such as Google AdWords—an effective way to generate fast sales by quickly reaching multiple prospects who are searching for your products online. However, it’s more likely that these sales may end up being one-offs because customers were lured in through a standalone promotion and never developed a relationship with your company.
On the other hand, a carefully crafted blog or webinar that offers education and expert insights through Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) can turn prospects into lifelong customers.
Keep in mind that there’s often a lag time between when customers begin seeing your content and when they take the next steps (such as downloading your e-book, signing up for a webinar or initiating contact). So don’t give up if you don’t get results within a few weeks or even a couple of months.
Think long-term, but in the meantime keep producing awesome content and you will eventually see positive results.
Don’t Expect Miracles
Despite the challenges, B2B content marketing certainly has huge success stories—instances with crazy spikes in website traffic based upon one article going viral, or the landing of huge new contracts that are the direct result of a specific initiative.
But it’s important to remain realistic about what your content marketing may accomplish. After all, outcomes are not only dependent on what you do, how much you spend and what tactics you deploy. They’re also very sector-specific and reliant upon your customer base—their online habits, preferences, schedules and buying cycles.
If you’re making gradual progress in terms of leads and sales as a result of your content marketing efforts, then you are headed in the right direction. Keep at it!
All manufacturers and distributors want their website to generate more leads and to grow sales. The problem is not a lack of embracing new digital tools—most B2Bs have done so to some extent. Rather, it is the failure to properly execute content marketing that puts many industrial B2Bs out of sync with today’s savvy online purchasers because they simply fail to meet customer expectations.