Content Marketing

A Successful B2B Content Marketing Strategy Requires Authority

Marketers are often struggling just to keep up with the needs of their content and email marketing programs. More often than not, our clients’ strategies are built around their internal processes. News, product releases, service updates or even just weekly schedules dictate the content that’s published.

The problem, of course, is that your business’ marketing plan doesn’t follow the routine of your prospects’ journey. A prospective business may be searching for information that you could provide every day of the year, or perhaps by season, or by budget cycle. Timing is one of the promises of lead nurturing and marketing automation systems – providing content that pulls or pushes the business towards a conversion based on their schedule.

But automation still isn’t without flaws. Many companies analyze and aggregate client data to come up with an optimized lifecycle. The reality, of course, is that each business works on their schedule – push too hard and too soon and you’ve lost the prospect. Pull too slowly and your competitor may get the sale.

There are multiple dimensions to content development. More often than not, businesses work on productivity. An example might be to produce a daily blog post, a weekly newsletter, a monthly infographic and a quarterly whitepaper. But productivity doesn’t get a business where it needs to be present. Presence is having the right content in the right location when the prospect is searching for it.

So, businesses develop robust content calendars, internal processes, and promotion schedules and public relations campaigns to ensure success. New automation technologies are utilizing machine learning technology to optimize communications with prospects and walk them through to the conversion at a pace dependent upon the customer.

It’s still not enough.

The problem, of course, is that any competent competitor is working the same angle and perhaps even implementing similar technologies. It’s simply not enough to continue to produce content in an endless, repeated cycle. Moving a business lead from a marketing prospect to a qualified lead requires authority. And moving a qualified lead to a sale requires trust.

When businesses are seeking a solution, they seek it from an authority. Businesses want to mitigate risk, so they tend to buy from vendors and solutions with industry authority.

Authority is often overlooked despite it being a key to successful content marketing strategies.  Tweet This!

Some companies enlist the assistance of influencers that already have authority in a given industry to advance their own. We’ve seen mixed results with this strategy since influence is often really just popularity online.

The most effective way to achieve authority isn’t by paying for it; it’s to build your own.  Tweet This!

Building authority with content isn’t about developing new content. It’s about auditing every piece of content you already have and optimizing it. It’s about removing extraneous content that’s not driving any leads or moving prospects down the lifecycle.

As a gauge of authority, there’s no better system than Google. Google’s algorithms have evolved in recent years to focus on the relevance and relationships between people, businesses, locations, product names, and even people within the organizations. If you wonder whether or not your company is an authority, you should be researching where you rank for the topics associated with what prospects are researching online.

To rank well in search engine results, you must create incredible content. For a given keyword combination, that requires you study which is winning the search and do a much more thorough job. We identify topics that competitors are ranking better on than we are, we develop better content through the use of text, graphics, and video… and we update the content that we already have that’s not ranking well.

Our efforts have shifted from 100% new content production now to approximately 50% new and 50% optimization of current content. Our content strategies have moved from away from always producing new articles, infographics, and video. We now optimize our current content, republish it as new (at the same URL) and promote it socially. We also incorporate paid strategies to maximize its reach.

Because it’s the best content, it will rank better. The results are startling. Across hundreds of keyword topics we’ve worked on, we’ve moved from an average rank of 11 to an average rank of 3. Our conversions are up over 270% for lead acquisition. And our cost per lead is dropping while our lead quality is improving.

The last note on this. Authority comes to people easier than business entities, so you must put your leaders out there. Apple is a huge brand, but the authority of the business isn’t without names like Steve Jobs, Jonathon Ives, Tim Cook, Steve Wozniak, Guy Kawasaki, etc.

Provide your people with the opportunity to be authority figures and you can accelerate your business’ authority. Seeing your leaders speaking at events and conferences puts your business in front of an audience that is both relevant and timely. In-person relationships will reduce the time needed to close sales since you’re able to display your authority and simultaneously acquire the trust of the prospect.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and recognized expert on digital transformation. Doug is a Keynote and Marketing Public Speaker. He's the VP and cofounder of Highbridge, a firm specializing in assisting enterprise companies to digitally transform and maximize their technology investment utilizing Salesforce technologies. He's developed digital marketing and product strategies for Dell Technologies, GoDaddy, Salesforce, Webtrends, and SmartFOCUS. Douglas is also the author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies and co-author of The Better Business Book.

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