We’re now two years into the pandemic, and it’s more apparent than ever that content marketing is still an important way—if not the best way—to meet the ever-growing needs and expectations of brand customers. But don’t just take my word for it.
The 12th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute found that content marketing will take center stage for many marketing teams in 2022:
- 66% of B2B marketing teams will increase their content marketing budgets in 2022
- 21% of teams will invest at least half of their entire marketing budget on content marketing alone
I’ve seen first-hand how content marketing can build brand awareness, strengthen customer loyalty, build an engaged community of raving brand fans, enhance executives’ thought leadership profiles, and drive a consistent lead pipeline.
To explore how brands can best engage in content marketing, I joined Anthony Gaenzle and the #AGMarketingChats community to discuss what content marketing is and how brands can create the right content marketing strategy for them.
Check out the chat highlights below for an overview of content marketing, and read the entire conversation here to learn how to find the right content marketing distribution channels for your brand, create and utilize visual content, and more.
P.S. Don’t miss #AGMarketingChats Thursdays on Twitter at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern.
What is Content Marketing?
At the highest level, content marketing involves helping a brand’s prospective and current customers throughout their buyer and customer journey.
The goal of content marketing is to empower your audience with content in their preferred format. These formats can include blog posts, video, social media content, email newsletters, and more to help them overcome their challenges.
Content marketing usually sits within a brand’s overarching marketing team and overlaps with many business units, including public relations, customer success, and sales teams. The best content marketing teams directly engage with each of those business units to partner on content creation.
How Can Brands Get Started with Content Marketing?
Successful content marketing involves a cycle of gathering audience intelligence, creating content, testing new content types, reviewing your results, and optimizing your future content with these learnings.
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating your content strategy is it has to be executable. That means being realistic about the resources you have to create and distribute content across your chosen channels.
To get started, you will want to look internally and externally to understand your audience’s content needs and preferences.
On the internal side:
- Conduct a content audit (we provide a detailed walkthrough and template here)
- Map your analytics to your audit sheet
- Use multi-touch attribution to understand what content and channels deliver consistent results
On the external side:
- Hold 1:1 meetings with your best customers
- Survey your email database to validate what you heard in 1:1 meetings
- Read industry research
- Conduct a keyword gap analysis with a tool like Semrush
With this data in hand, you can begin mapping your content marketing priorities for the coming months.
Community Is The Heart of Content Marketing
It’s important to remember that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Your program growth will likely be slow, and that is OK. The value of an opted-in, engaged community that reflects your ideal customer is much more valuable than a big mailing list. Stay dedicated and remain consistent in your activities because every interaction will strengthen your brand’s connection with its community.
This concept of community should drive every piece of content you create. Every word you write, visual you create, or concept you discuss should strive to help a person. I think the future of content marketing is going to center around building community. And that’s not just because I’ve been an active part of the #CMworld and #ContentChat content marketing communities for years!
To hear more of my thoughts on content marketing, including how visual content should fit in your content marketing strategy, how to find the right content distribution channels, and the pros and cons of long-form and short-form content, check out the entire #AGMarketingChats conversation.