As a golfer, the falling leaves are annoying, but the views from the fairways are stunning.
Fall is in full bloom. Not only are the leaves turning colors, but you notice individual trees more because you will see a mix of orange, brown, red, yellow, and green colors. Each tree stands out more when they're not all green, like in the summer.
In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, mid-sized Business-to-Business (B2B) companies often have a hard time standing out in a sea of the same. It's hard to create a difference when all you can get people to pay attention to is a one-line headline and/or a featured image.
SEM or SEO are techniques to get people to see that one-line headline and/or a featured image when they access a social media platform or a search engine. The biggest problem is you are not alone. Every post or sponsored post looks like the next. How can you get people to pay attention to your tree and make it stand out like fall colors and not just become annoyed by the falling leaves?
Forest for the Trees
The phrase, “can't see the forest for the trees,” means that someone is so focused on small details or individual parts of a situation that they fail to see or understand the larger picture or the overall context. In other words, it suggests that a person is too preoccupied with minor, irrelevant, or unimportant aspects of a situation and, as a result, misses the broader and more critical perspective.
But in the case of marketing, you want people to see your tree in the forest of cold calls, unwanted direct outreach messages, and random targeted pixel ads.
The Power of Content Marketing
Content marketing is a strategic approach that can share the unique attributes of your products, services, competitive advantages, and people.
It has two components. First, you have to create that unique content. It has to be written in a way that attracts and interests your intended audience. Secondly, you have to market. That means distributing it in a way that people take notice.
There are five main benefits to not simply posting to social media and/or buying ads:
1. Builds Authority and Trust
Content marketing allows your business to position itself as an industry leader and authority. Consistently creating interesting educational content can address the pain points and challenges of your target audience. That helps you and your brand establish trust.
2. Asset vs. Expense
Content sitting on your website is an asset. Ads go away when the budget stops or a click is made. Assets can be accessed and distributed through multiple channels (various social media platforms and email). You can reuse them and post them when you want or need them.
3. SEO Benefits
Text and keywords are key drivers of search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines live off of links to websites with relevant, informative, and regularly updated content. By investing in content marketing, you not only engage your target audience but also improve your online visibility.
4. Diverse Content Options
Content can be repurposed. A blog post can become a video, infographic, or podcast. A series of articles can become an eBook or case study. An eBook can be broken into a series of blog posts that can be shared one at a time. You get the point. Content can become a springboard to more content.
5. It's Cornerstone
Your content becomes the main thing that drives direct traffic back to your website. That traffic is measurable through analytics which is a much more instructive measurement of views, likes, and comments. Even better, it can show what your audience is really interested in. Do more of what is getting people back to your website, and do less of what is not getting attention.
Why is Content Marketing Better than Ads?
1. Control vs. Choice
With Google or any social media platform, you can't control who sees what, and when. The AI or algorithms choose that for you, and it's not looking out for your best interest. They choose what will keep people looking at their platform. If you are buying ads, then they want people to see and click while simultaneously hoping your competition notices and tries to outbid you for that click.
2. Costs Per Click
There are multiple ways to buy ads and frankly, it's confusing. You can buy keywords, phrases, images, videos, dynamic, display, and in-network or partner networks. More options mean more choices. More options also mean that your ads can often not only compete with your competition, but they can also compete with your own ads.
3. Conversions vs. Conversations
Ads generally direct people to a call to action page. Conversions are often measured by people getting to your “Thank You” page. By promoting content, you can build the call to action into the content as banner ads or links. That increases the possibility that people may take some action after reading your content. It's more likely that they will also dig deeper into your website content, which can become a catalyst for conversations.
The main goal of content marketing is to create sales. B2B sales take time and trust. In most cases, it takes multiple visits to your website, to generate enough interest to want to have a conversation with your company or sales team.
Conversations are the building block of trust. If your conversations and your content are 100% aligned, that builds even more trust. Trust is the space where the transaction happens.
Ads, especially those with a call-to-action, are very transactional. Sales are transactional. But in the B2B world, it is rare that people or companies are willing to bet their jobs on just a great Google or social media ad.
One of the reasons that we moved to Raleigh is that my wife wanted a warmer climate than Chicago, but still wanted to embrace the changing colors of fall. It's just beautiful.
Sometimes it takes intention to see the forest for the trees.
Content adds color to your messaging and that can be a beautiful thing in a forest of cold calls, unwanted direct outreach messages, and random targeted pixel ads.
Oh look here, there's an ad to rent a cabin to see the fall colors.
No Thanks! I'm good!
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
– Albert Camus
Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about content marketing today! Do you have a content or advertising communications strategy that is working for you? What tips or techniques can you share that work for you and your business?
To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.