Effective Research Amplification
You’ve got the data, now what?
B2B Content Marketing is generally viewed as a long-term investment, moving prospects into the “top of funnel.” Broad strokes, yes. But that’s a bit too one-size-fits-all – B2B content marketing can work toward many different goals, including:
Lead conversion and up-sell
Increasing site traffic
Setting the Right Goals
For each goal, there are content types best suited for the objective. However, in truth, the other eight goals are a distant second to #1 – lead generation. All others, with the exception of talent recruitment, are typically precursors to lead generation and lead conversion. If your content effectively generates (quality) leads, success is one step closer.
Focusing on “quality” is the operative –and challenging– concept. As discussed in prior posts, content grounded in data is best positioned to deliver:
Strong reinforcement of brand positioning
No Strategy = A Bad Strategy
Data-anchored content marketing, particularly utilizing market research, can be a serious investment. Unfortunately, many companies invest in market research and other forms of data driven B2B content marketing without adequately planning an amplification strategy designed for results. A strong amplification strategy is just as important as high-quality content.
Getting the Most Out of B2B Content
The overarching goal of content amplification is to push your content into the farthest (but most targeted) regions of the web. Measuring efficacy is straightforward. KPI’s (key performance indicators) most often employed include:
Unique email open rate
Direct web traffic
Domain and page authority
None of this is rocket science, right? Using a marketing automation tool (e.g., HubSpot, Marketo) is a requirement; otherwise, there is simply too much guesswork required. A marketing automation tool also allows you to create drip campaigns, targeting different types of content engagement with different types of users.
More Is (Not) a 4-Letter Word
The goal is to coordinate content amplification efforts across channels to produce stronger results. More is the goal. More traffic. More links. More shares. More engagement. More conversions. More leads. More sales.
SEO is alive and well. With content, a little bit of research into winnable keywords (often longer phrases with much lower search volumes) goes a long way. Don’t set out to rank well on broad keywords (e.g., programmatic advertising, data management platforms). There are many low-cost resources, like Moz.com, that will help you to hone your keyword approach.
Communication (Channel) Breakdown
Any advertising you directly pay for. Facebook, Taboola, retargeting, search, etc. Content amplification via paid media means:
– Promoted Tweets
– Sponsored LinkedIn content/LinkedIn InMail
– Paid Facebook posts
– Instagram advertising
– Traffic through search engine marketing
– Paid influencer marketing
– Inbound traffic via Taboola, Outbrain, etc.
Paid media is powerful and can be used to enhance your own promotion efforts, amplifying your content to targeted audiences. Carefully choosing the right targets, search words, etc. is key. Our general recommendation is to start small. Spend a couple of hundred dollars on Google and LinkedIn, evaluate, and if positive, rinse and repeat.
Owned media are media properties you control: a blog, website, social channels, email, etc. You create and oversee them, controlling the user experience.
– Email Marketing
– Publishing and sharing blog posts
– Great website language
– Guest-posting and free content syndication
The challenge with Owned Media is that nobody is there to stop you from over-selling. Remember, your prospects are completing their own research. Your goal from B2B Content Marketing POV is to get onto the short list of potential vendors and capture a lead. Once you get the qualified lead, your sales team can drive. But that doesn’t mean your content marketing work is over. More on that in another post.
Earned Media (Influencers Count!)
Earned media is free publicity. However, pay attention to the operative word here: Earned. Significant work is required to receive earned media. A good PR team (in-house or agency) is practically a necessity.
The holy grail of earned media is (positive) press coverage, whether it be in an industry-focussed pub (e.g., Digiday, AdExchanger, AdAge, ExchangeWire) or broader coverage on the industry (WSJ, NY Times, Business Insider).
It is also possible to gain earned media via “influencers.” Influencer marketing is the new SEO –
a few strong links from the right influencers not only drives immediate traffic, but helps with long term SEO.
If your content is truly unique, data driven, and relevant; obtaining strong influencer recommendations can be achieved through you own means. Establishing a relationship with an influencer is critical – and they must be on the cutting edge, with followers who expect high-quality content from them. Emails, direct messages, and a phone call are all that is needed to achieve a few good shares/mentions that may drive more engagement than many other channels
Earned media not only drives immediate engagement, but also provides an opportunity to leverage coverage and content over an extended period (generally about a year).
Whether in-house or through a PR agency, PR teams are, ideally, very active in amplification.
We always recommend to our clients that their PR teams are included as early in the process as possible. A good PR team should be thinking about earned media as soon as this process begins, and should be actively engaging social media influencers early, assessing which types of research may be of high interest to audiences, and preparing influencers for launch.
Driving traffic, engagement, and generating high-quality leads is a goal worthy of work and focus.
Content marketing starts with data driven, high quality, targeted content.
Paid, earned and owned media tactics – each is valuable.
Don’t assume that spending dollars on advertising will yield results. While advertising may drive traffic, smaller and highly-targeted B2B campaigns tend to be more effective.
PR Helps. View your content amplification strategy as a necessity that requires early thought and engagement – well before the content is finalized.