Written by: Natasha Drilon
“Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants” or so said BuzzFeed’s Jonathan Perelman. So what does this mean in practice for integrated marketing practitioners? The goal of creating content is to attract and acquire a target audience that eventually converts to customers or brand advocates. But in reality, many financial services brands find that they develop useful content but struggle to find an audience for it.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 87% of Australian B2B marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago, yet only 28% find that content effective. Often the problem comes down to not having a strategic plan about how your content is distributed.
Here are some tips to help you fully leverage your investment in content for a B2B audience.
What information does your audience want to know?
To get started, you need to know your audience’s pain points or aspirations. If you know your target audience well (we’re talking personas here), you can tailor your content to meet their needs. For example, financial planners might want advice on ways to increase referrals and generate leads – how can you fulfil that need?
Where does your audience hang out?
Next, you need to figure out your audience’s content consumption habits. Where do your ideal clients find their information or news and how do they interact with the content they read? Understanding your audience’s consumption behaviours will help you to find the right distribution channels to amplify your content.
Dig into your Google Analytics data, talk to your sales team, look at client profiles to get clear on your clients’ demographics, psychographics and values to discover behavioural trends.
Content formats suited to B2B
Choosing the right format to suit your message is crucial and providing different content experiences will help attract and keep your audience more engaged. The Content Marketing Institute found that in-person webinars/webcasts (66%) were rated as the most effective format for B2B content marketing, followed by case studies (65%) and white papers (63%).
Don’t forget that content can be tailored to suit the audience depending on where they are on the buyer journey, as we’ve discussed before. Webinars/webcasts and white papers, for example, would probably lend themselves to lead generation, while case studies could be used to nurture hot leads.
Content channels suited to B2B
Now that you’ve created your content, how can you choose the right channels for getting it to your audience? As a general rule, all content should first be published on your brand’s chief publishing platform (most likely your company website or blog) and other owned channels before it is amplified elsewhere. This approach will generate traffic and, if you’ve set up your website or owned channels for lead gen, you’ll capture more leads and conversions.
You can confirm which channel/s your audience is using by mapping your target persona with the channel user, checking the information in your database and auditing your competitors’ comms.
The Content Marketing Institute found that the most effective B2B social media platforms to distribute content were LinkedIn (66%), Twitter (55%) and YouTube (51%), while the most effective paid advertising methods to distribute content were Search Engine Marketing (55%), promoted social media posts (48%) and content discovery tools (45%).
Always think about whether a piece of content can be published on other channels, and whether the format of your content is appropriate and useful for the channel it has been published on. For example, a slide presentation can be hosted on SlideShare and will play natively when shared via a LinkedIn post whereas the infographic in your slide presentation may work better in Twitter.
Tools for B2B content distribution
To help you get your content in front of your target audience, there are many free and paid tools to facilitate building an audience with the push of a button.
Hootsuite is an example of a social media management tool you can use to coordinate content across various social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Content posts can be scheduled for publication at specific times and you may respond to posts directly.
In terms of earned media content, tools like PR Newswire can help with distribution of media releases to up to 200,000 media outlets and 10,000 websites. Basic distribution of your release is $129.
Lastly, for paid media content, amplification tools like Outbrain are content recommendation platforms that help internet publishers increase web traffic by seeding it to relevant news websites.
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