It should come as no surprise that for B2B marketers surveyed in Marketingsherpa’s 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, five of the top six B2B marketing priorities and challenges were related to lead generation process.
More importantly, while brand awareness (the only priority outside of the lead generation process) was an important priority, its fourth place rank in importance narrowly beat out the challenge B2B marketers face developing lead nurturing initiatives.
Effective content marketing can become a central component of lead generation initiatives. Content marketing goes beyond copy and represents all of the content assets that take an online user from casual visitor to prospective buyer. Eloqua’s Content Marketing Grid provides a great example of how this can work, across a range of content marketing assets.
But as over 30% of the world’s population now has access to the Internet and 133+ million domains are accessible, the challenge of being found in itself seems to grow by the minute. While superb content marketing might organically find its way to the masses, it is also very easy to get drowned out in the noise.
To raise awareness to content marketing initiatives, here are five recommendations B2B marketers should consider (aside from online advertising).
- Adding value to the blogger’s post and discussion.
- Establishing positive visibility for yourself and your website to the blogger and visitors of the post.
A blog commenting and outreach initiative launched two months ago for one of our clients has already gathered several guest blog post opportunities, both on the client’s blog and for the client’s thought leaders to guest post elsewhere.
Need another positive reason to establish your B2B brand on Twitter? Twitter helps bridge the gap between strictly professional and more personal social networking platforms by offering a medium that provides enough distance between users in terms of the depth of updates and personal information.
Here are a few simple suggestions to get started in specifically getting noticed:
- Retweet your favorite bloggers and site publishers but try to add a few words of additional perspective as well. Here is a recent example.
- Instead of (or in addition to) adding your site link in blog comment fields, add or login to a blog comment form with your Twitter profile as well.
- Content curation tools like Paper.li not only showcase your favorite content, but provide an opportunity to credit and mention applicable Twitter profiles too.
In order to be effective with LinkedIn Groups, participation must go beyond random link dropping and to actually developing a history and credibility within target groups and audiences.
One client has developed the following informal process:
- Daily login and review of updates and network information.
- Regular research in discovering LinkedIn groups applicable to target markets.
- Weekly review of discussions and group updates primarily through LinkedIn email distributions.
- Careful review and messaging illustrating the benefit of a linked resource (don’t worry, active groups will let you know pretty quickly when something is not appropriate!)
Over the past two months, this client has doubled the number of form submissions for white papers and webinars that they received in the entire first half of 2011.
For B2B marketers working in applicable industry sectors (technology, internet, marketing as examples), LinkedIn Today also creates an opportunity for traffic acquisition and content marketing awareness.
Real World Networking
While meeting your online network face to face (through networking events, conferences, etc) may be daunting, it might also be the most rewarding of all ideas in this article.
It is also worth noting that in some respects, the more effective the B2B marketer is with the three previous initiatives, the easier real world networking may become. The conversations and history are already there; social media helps bridge the gap.
In my experience, site owners, social media practitioners, and fellow marketers end up being receptive to a “content marketing pitch”, whether that be through social networking sites or traditional email, when they have met the sender in real life.
It is important to note that as great as content marketing can be for the B2B organization, realize it becomes part of the marketing voice, but is not the sole solution that explicitly keeps customers.
How has your organization found success in getting greater visibility to content marketing initiatives? I would love to read your thoughts and perspective via the comments below.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.