The ultimate purpose of content marketing as a whole is to generate leads for the sales team. But that’s not the purpose of each individual piece of content. Because the process of generating leads is a journey. And your job as a marketer or business owner is not to run full pelt towards the finish line but to move prospects along the buying journey at the right pace for them. Rush and you’re likely to lose them.
In the early stages of that journey, the focus of your content marketing is likely to be more on brand awareness and positioning than anything else. For many B2B business, this stage is all about establishing yourselves as experts in your field. And content is a great way to do this. Here are three ideas to get you started.
Create original content
Nothing beats original content when it comes to establishing your brand’s expertise within your industry. This can take different forms – blog posts, LinkedIn articles, videos and so on.
When it comes to subject matter, think about creating:
- ‘How to’ posts: These add high value for your audience and will help build brand loyalty as well as expertise.
- Opinion pieces: Trending subject in your industry? Join the debate to show that you have your finger on the pulse.
- Trend shares: Do it right and calling out or even predicting industry trends is a sure fire way to label yourself as an expert.
Creating original content does take a commitment of time, budget or usually both, so make sure you make the most of it. Share it widely and often and even repurpose it for different channels: the audio from a video can easily be converted into a podcast, and blog posts can be chunked down into snappy tips for a series of Facebook posts.
Share industry news and views
We’ve already looked at how creating opinion pieces about current issues within your industry can show that you have your finger on the pulse. But you don’t always have to go as far as creating your own original content in order to do that.
Sharing interesting news articles and features that you’ve read shows that you’re well informed, that you take time to learn about what’s going on within your industry. Adding a comment with an opinion or an anecdote from your own experience will cement this impression.
Be seen with the right collaborators
Who you’re connected with can be hugely influential in establishing you as a significant player within your industry. It’s not just about referrals and introductions. Having an industry influencer comment on your LinkedIn post or mentioning a relevant contact in a blog post sends a signal that you’re actively involved and that you have a good network.
At Rin Hamburgh & Co we’re a relationship-focused team so this is something we naturally do a lot of. For example we recently did a #RosiesRoundup blog post featuring several of our Natwest Accelerator desk buddies sharing their top business tips. And whenever we attend an event or a meeting, we try to get a photo for social and always tag relevant contacts where we can.
We’ve found that when it comes to forming B2B relationships, there are two important questions that a client will ask themselves: can you do the job and do we like working with you? Content marketing can help establish the former and, if you’re clever, build towards the latter too. Then it’s time to hand over to the sales team to seal the deal.
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