I have written extensively and shared on LinkedIn and other social networks about the importance of content marketing in B2B marketing. Of course I am not alone. A recent survey conducted by MarketingProfs entitled B2B Content Marketing: Trends and Benchmarks for 2012 affirms the rising importance of content marketing for the modern marketer. One point from the survey bears repeating:
“Among B2B marketers, successful content starts with engaging and compelling storytelling (81.5%), originality (52.6%), and customized content (49.2%), followed by well-edited copy (38.5%) and professional writing (38.3%)”
I would argue that this needs to go one step further — we need to know the why of our content marketing efforts. This is a critical step that most marketers gloss over. In the rush to keep up with the Jones’ we often overlook the why and go straight to the how (e.g., “our competition has a Facebook page, so we need to be on Facebook now! Instead of what is it that we aim to accomplish and what vehicles will help us achieve those goals?”). This all boils down to knowing the story you aim to tell and forming a content strategy that communicates your story in a compelling way to your current and future customers.
Strategy First, Content Second
Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute has written and presented on this point extensively. I had the pleasure of attending Joe’s session during the MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston last week. During this session there were many tweetable comments but the one that stuck with me was this:
His reasoning for this was driven home by his recent post on this topic entitled Why You Need a Content Marketing Mission Statement in which he writes:
Marketing professionals from so many small and large businesses get so fixated on channels such as blogs, Facebook or Pinterest that they honestly have no clue of the underlying content strategy.
We know content is a powerful weapon within the modern marketer’s arsenal, but without a content strategy (e.g., what you want to say, why you want to say it and to whom you want to say it to) your content marketing efforts will often miss the mark. In short, in marketing it’s important to tell your story (Even in B2B); and ensure your content communicates it clearly.
So my question to you is this — what is your content marketing mission statement?