Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer
You might know me as a writer, coach, content marketer, dog lover, editor, golfer, sales strategist, Diet Coke enthusiast, speaker, Allegheny alum, project manager, feminist, networker, or St. Louis Cardinals fan.
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B2B marketers should not assume that your colleagues outside of the marketing department understand what content marketing is or how it works.
Yes, content marketing been around for years. But just because it seems straightforward to marketers doesn't mean sales teams and executives are familiar with the what, when, why, and how.
Marketers need to educate everyone from subject matter experts to individual business development reps on what content marketing is and why it's so important for growth.
The below terms are commonly used in content marketing but might be unfamiliar to non-marketers. Share them with your colleagues any time you meet to talk about your content strategy.
The FAQ section is designed to help marketers anticipate what kinds of questions they'll face from sales reps and executive team members about content marketing. Even if you aren't asked them directly and openly, it's safe to assume this is what your non-marketing colleagues are thinking. Use these questions to prep for that ever-important meeting where you bring everyone to the same table to discuss content marketing goals and strategies.
Some content marketing dictionaries include dozens, even hundreds of terms. Your sales team doesn't need to know about canonicalization or what differentiates one marketing automation platform from another. They need to know these basics:
Why do we need to do content marketing?
There are lots of reasons, but these are the two big ones. First, trade shows aren't coming back in full force any time soon. And even when they do, we'll never be able to compete with the biggest players in our space because we can't afford to outspend them at trade shows. Plus, our buyers typically don't wait for trade shows to make a decision, even when we aren't in the middle of a pandemic. Secondly, buyers spend 87% of their time doing something other than talking to salespeople. Content is the best way to get in front of them during that 87% of their time. And content can help you make the most of the 17% of the time a buyer is willing to talk to you.
How much is this going to cost?
It won't be cheap, not if we want it to work and not if we want to get good data and accurate contact information for the buyers who engage with our content. But remember, trade shows aren't cheap either, especially once you factor in the travel, the booth itself, shipping fees, time away from the office, etc.
Isn't it cheaper to just put the content on our website and ask buyers to fill out a form in order to get it?
Yes, that would be cheaper. But it won't be nearly as effective. But our prospects and customers likely aren't using our website for research early in their buyer's journey. We need to go to the prospect, just like we used to go to trade shows to meet prospects. That requires syndicating our content elsewhere. Buyers are not going to flock to our website and willingly share accurate contact information with us, no matter how valuable our content is.
Think of it this way. Imagine you are buying a new car. You go to one local dealership's website and want to see the price for the make and model you want. That dealership asks you to submit your name, phone number, and email to see the price. Are you going to fill out the form, knowing a pesky car salesperson is going to call you right away? Or are you going to head to another dealership's website, one that gives you the price without asking for any information?
If our thought leadership content doesn't talk about our products and services, how will this help us sell?
We will have some content that talks about our products and services. But we only want to share this content at the right time in the buyer's journey. If we share overly promotional content when buyers aren't actively looking to buy, it can actually harm our chances to make a sale later on (more on that in "The Risk Of Confusing Thought Leadership With Selling"). When our content is educational and truly aims to help our buyers instead of selling to our buyers, it will help us build trust with that buyer. And buyers buy from brands they trust.
How will we measure ROI?
We'll need to get on the same page about how we are going to define goals, and from there, we can start to measure ROI. Whether you want to measure the number of meetings, closed deals, or the number of qualified leads, content can help us in many ways. Attribution can be tricky with content marketing, but if sales and marketing can keep an open line of communication about engagement activity, we can then work together to determine ROI.
How long will this take until we start seeing leads?
First, don't think of the names you'll get from content marketing as "leads." In some cases, buyers will engage with promotional content that is about our products and services. But it'll be much more common for buyers to engage with our thought leadership content, and that engagement doesn't necessarily make them someone who is ready to buy from us. If we get the buy-in we need, we should start seeing engagement activity within 30 days of completing our first pieces of content.
We will not be great by what we accomplish, but by what we help others accomplish.How does this apply to your work as a B2B marketer?
Visit our Knowledge Center for helpful resources and guides that support any great content marketing strategy. You'll find tactical articles, customizable exercises, and more.
Learning to follow your buyer is a change in mindset
A transition from selling buyers on what you do to helping them accomplish what they do.