Content Marketing: The key to reach and long business relationships

For some years now, good content marketing has been one of the elementary prerequisites for all-round successful online marketing. Even in times of the ever-increasing social web, the "classic" website still serves as the basis for all online activities. The quality of the content provided there determines on the one hand whether interested parties make use of products or services and on the other hand also gives Google important information for the ranking.

There is practically a reciprocal effect: the better content is tailored to the respective target group(s), the more (potential) customers will accept it. This is registered by Google, whereby corresponding content rises in the SERPs and once again more web visitors become aware of it.

Create trust instead of asking to buy

Successful content marketing can always be compared to good journalism. Nevertheless, it proceeds on a completely different level. Here, too, the recipients are offered (at best) unique, well-researched and not least interesting content. In contrast to conventional advertising, specifically targeted content strategies optimally generate trust instead of throwing around flat purchase incentives.

The formula for this is basically simple: marketers must put themselves in the heads of their target group(s) and think about how these people can be helped in exemplary situations. The goal is always to offersolutions to concrete problems, which ultimately lead more or less subtly in the direction of one's own services. The latter is probably the most obvious difference to classical journalism. The latter functions primarily as a producer of publicity - which content marketing also does - but does not aim to promote the sale of goods or services.

In this article, you can read about the concrete strengths of B2B content marketing, how long-term business relationships can be achieved in a targeted manner, details about the effect of content, and the first steps for your personal content strategy.

The sustainable effect of content marketing

In the meantime, there are numerous theories on different levels regarding theeffect of online content. Of course, we cannot list all aspects of these here, but limit ourselves to the mechanisms that are essential from our experience. According to this, content today generally has an effect in three, mostly successive areas:

Nowadays, potential B2B customers usually become aware of products or services via Google - thesearch engine is therefore one of the first influencers of the customer journey. This means that corresponding web content must be optimally findable there. As already mentioned at the beginning, the search engine optimization necessary for this is to a certain extent carried out by providing well-coordinated content. The mere promotion of services by means of static information has not worked for a long time.

In order to actually be noticed, content today must always be geared to the respective target group(s), i.e. pick them up directly at the point where the corresponding information is particularly relevant and, at best, offer real added value. If only high-quality content is published that attracts the attention of many web users, this can result in an immense strengthening of the entire brand - both with Google and (potential) customers. Because convincing content brings dwell time or a good user experience, is passed on and thus convinces more and more people. The expert status of the company grows.

Companies that convince with optimal content and thereby achieve deals, therefore, practically automatically build theirexpert status. On the one hand, this leads to more and more potential customers becoming aware of the brand, but it also promotes the relationship with existing business partners. If the latter always feel well advised, the probability of a long-term relationship is very high.

In this context, conveyingtrust,appreciation andreliability has proven to be extremely relevant. Those who manage to make customers identify completely with their own products or services have reached the "maximum". However, this is by no means the end, because these buyers must continue to be sufficiently convinced in order to remain competitive.

In the modern web world, content marketing also increasingly evokes B2B communication. This is shown, for example, in the form ofcomments,likes orratings. If these are consistently positive, this is an extremely effective, free additional advertising for one's own services and in turn the entire brand. Such signals are usually perceived as extremely authentic and thus maximally meaningful. For a large proportion of Internet users - both B2C and B2B - they now represent the most important arguments for using specific products or services (or against them). This results in further interested parties, deals, recommendations, etc.


The buyer persona as a prerequisite for particularly economical content marketing

This article has already indicated several times how important it is to target content strategies precisely. An analysis of the relevant target group/s in the respective context includessocio-demographic data,typical actions,psychological characteristics and/ormedia affinity. From such information, highly useful conclusions can already be drawn for a comprehensive content marketing strategy. However, the buyer persona approach is much more differentiated. It adds a CV, potential professional and personal challenges and further details to the collection of the above-mentioned data. This gives the target group a concrete face, which allows content to be tailored even more precisely. You can read more about the numerous advantages of the Buyer Persona in the articleThe advantages of the Buyer Persona in B2B marketing - give your target group a face.

What do customers want to know?

The (potential) customer is the focus of the digital business world! They search - mostly via Google - for web content that has the greatest relevance in the respective context. Relevance is therefore always individual. It can be determined quite precisely on the basis of target groups or, better, personas, as well as data analyses of one's own website. It is therefore important to observe precisely in order to find out what (potential) customers expect from content.

Only those who grasp what your content users really want to know can develop a maximally effective content marketing strategy that provides support across theCustomer Journeyoffers. By precisely targeting content to typical keywords, providing support at various touchpoints and other specific measures, a (potential) customer ultimately feels understood at best.

The content of a website's homepage is far less important than the detailed pages. After all, it is the latter that prospective customers usually come across via Google. They are the starting point of the customer journey in the respective company and thus the most important medium for playing out content strategies!

Relevant, evolving content as customer magnets

The perfect content marketing always exactly fulfills the expectations of the respective (potential) customers. How these can be determined, which requirements corresponding content must generally fulfill and how it works was the subject of the last sections. Once all these factors have been taken into account, the content strategy must be further developed in order to continually address new potential customers and ultimately to be able to defend and expand thestrength of thebrand as well as themarket position. In order to ensure this, it is usually not sufficient to drive a static content marketing strategy. It is important to keep all content formats in mind when figuring out new approaches.

For example, it may make sense to invest more heavily in video content in the future, perhaps as new products are launched that require specific tutorials, or to present detailed infographics on new production benefits in the wake of a massive company expansion. Therelevance factor is always paramount! Never use new formats as an exclusive end in themselves, as this will not go unnoticed by both viewers and Google. Furthermore, you should look beyond your own range of services. If content always refers to the same products or services, the likelihood that it will bring a significant increase in interest is low. More general,broader, but still contextually relevant content that skillfully suggests the advantages of one's own services, on the other hand, is the key to attracting many new users. Because these show up on Google even if a search query doesn't include a specific product or brand name. The range is thus considerably increased!


The importance of content marketing for medium-sized businesses

Today, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can no more do without well-developed content strategies than globally active corporations. The web customer journey increasingly begins at Google. For maximally successful online marketing, it is therefore elementary to be optimally positioned there with one's content. This is achieved through various search engine optimization measures, which now also include content marketing.Unique,value-added content is classified as particularly relevant by the search engine leader and now contributes enormously to the quality of a website's ranking. In the past, search engine optimisation through the mass acquisition of backlinks and other dubious monetary measures was often only extremely cost-intensive to operate and therefore hardly feasible for SMEs. However, this has changed after various algorithm updates, which have largely undermined so-called black-hat SEO, and the shift in priorities on the part of Google towards relevance. Since only very few SMEs have registered this fact so far, the unique selling proposition potential is (still) very high.

Furthermore, there are special advantages even compared to large companies. Due to the steadilyincreasing mobile web usage, Google has massively expanded its capabilities of interpreting local search queries. Today, searchers can quickly look for useful services in the respective context while on the move via smartphone or tablet. Queries such as "lawyer Minden", "real estate agent OWL" or "content marketing agency around the corner" bring very accurate results. These region-related entries usually even appear before the national or international ones. And so, through a combination of perfectly coordinated content and Local SEO, smaller companies can sometimes even outrank global corporations!

These steps form the basis of any
B2B content marketing strategy

Only by setting up a concrete content strategy canmaximally relevant content be created. The starting point is always the positioning of the respective company. From this, topics can be derived that really reach the (potential) customers and at the same time correspond to specific marketing and sales goals. The following steps should always be taken into account.

Before writing wildly, it is important to deal with your ownbrand positioning. In most cases, companies are of course already aware of their positioning. Nevertheless, it can be worthwhile to work through this again for an efficient content marketing strategy. The central questions here are: What does the company stand for, what sets the brand apart from the competition and what added value do the products or services offered bring to the customer.

That the content strategy should ultimately promote sales is beyond question. However, due to the muchmore subtle persuasion mechanisms of content marketing in contrast to heavy-handed advertising, far more differentiated procedures are necessary here. The following questions can lead to the definition of the appropriate marketing and sales objectives: Is the content intended to appeal to a broader target audience? Is it intended to strengthen the trust of (potential) customers? Or is the content perhaps intended to generate leads? These and other goals form the basis of the strategy.

A content marketing strategy can be maximally economically aligned or ultimately implemented on the basis of personas. Here, no target groups are taken as a basis, but one or moreexemplary person(s). The following questions are particularly important: How can the personas best be helped with their problems and challenges? Which media or content types do they prefer to use?

It should be determined exactly with which keywords relevant in the respective context (potential) customers complete theircustomer journey on Google. In doing so, not only the keywords that refer specifically to a product or service offered or to the company's own brand should be taken into account, but also those that move in the wider sphere of those keywords. These offer clues for the most important topics.

A closelook at the competitors provides an overview of which providers of similar services use content to attract or retain customers. This results in insights about niches that can be used for your own content strategy. Only through this measure is an efficient unique position possible.

Based on the previous steps, optimally suitable topics can now be set up. Here, it is important to ensure that the range of topics is as broad as possible, but absolutely relevant to the context, in order to achievemaximum reach. An editorial plan structures not only the specific topics, but also their placement in different channels, specific contexts, further possibilities, etc.

The results should always be evaluated against set KPIs and appropriate conclusions drawn. A good content marketing strategy is never static. Sometimes small changes or even more massive interventions are necessary to achievelong-term success.

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