There is an awful lot of money spent on content – in fact, B2B marketers spend over a quarter of their budget on it and 55% expect to increase their spend in the next 12 months, according to research released this year by the Content Marketing Institute.But investing this money is not enough to ensure a return on it: you need to produce engaging articles that work for both your organisation and your readers.
There is plenty of marketing copy out there that promotes a service offering effectively, but this often has limited value for clients. There is also plenty of editorial out there, from trade journals to the national press, which may do little or nothing for your marketing needs. The art is to find that sweet spot in the middle: addressing the issues that really matter most to your clients, while at the same time getting your messages across and reinforcing your brand positioning as experts in the field.
There are five fundamentals of producing content that hits this spot.
Focus on the client
Clearly, having an understanding of what the business is trying to get out of its content is essential. However, this must not be allowed to dominate your editorial process. B2B firms often know their clients intimately: they know what is keeping them awake at night, what they are looking forward to and the problems they would most like to solve. This understanding of the readers’ needs must be front and centre in content creation, to ensure your quality editorial stands out from that of your competitors.
Offer ‘news they can use’
Part of any publication’s remit is to stimulate thought, but there’s no point raising questions and provoking debate if it doesn’t enable clients to do something positive as a result. Offering practical applications through the effective use of case studies and expert advice turns the theoretical into the practical: It demonstrates your experience in the field, and your ability to overcome the most pressing business challenges, making it clear how your services and expertise will feed through into a stronger bottom line for your clients.
To gain respect for your content you have to demonstrate your respect for readers. Authoritative editorial from independent subject-specialist journalists, bringing together the views of your professionals with those of other recognised experts in the field, can ensure a rounded and insightful perspective that delivers your messages in a way that readers will trust.
In order to gain competitive advantage you must do more than keep abreast of current developments. You also need to demonstrate your understanding of the trends and concerns that will grip clients in the future and your ability to tackle those challenges before they arise. Part of the art is selecting the right subject matter for each piece of content, and part of it is ensuring that the editorial delivers real insight into the future. Both are essential if your content is to reinforce your position as a thought leader.
Master the process
Anyone can write, but the art of creating engaging content is something for professionals. It starts before a word is written, with a compelling editorial idea and a well-constructed brief. It involves selecting and commissioning the right journalists who combine subject specialism with a dynamic style. And once the piece is produced, a great deal of the success of the content lies in the edit. A good editor will work closely with you to understand your business and your needs, as well as the specialist subject matter. They will then bring all of these elements together to refine each article and hone the publication as a consistent whole.
Follow these five fundamentals and you will ensure sparkling copy that your clients actively welcome and that delivers a real return for your business. Neglect them and you may well find you are spending over a quarter of your marketing budget on something that doesn’t quite do the job.