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Technology & InternetContent Marketing – Building a Reputation as an Expert
We have probably all heard it: “Content is King.” Regarding Social Media in B2B this is more than true, as most companies, that use Social Media successfully to build a reputation and get new business out of it, do it via creating and providing great content. So to excel as a business within Social Media, you have to excel in content creation. But first you have to answer some questions: why, what, where and how?
Why Content Marketing?
The first question you have to answer is, why you want to do it? What do you want to achieve with your content marketing? Of course the first and obvious answer at hand is: more business. To tell the truth, it is not that easy. Content Marketing is not an advertisement, where you try to sell a product using a simple message, as often is the case in B2C. As B2B relationships usually last longer and are of greater importance to the companies, goals in B2B Social Media usually are more complex. They vary from building up brand awareness over customer relationship building to establishing the company or members thereof as experts in their fields.
As in B2B business decisions are influencing the success or failure of projects, branches or whole companies, decisions are made with great care and consideration. To trust cooperation partners with the success of a company requires considerable effort and care in choosing the right partners. Usually one strong factor in this decision is the trust in the expertise of someone.
So, if you want to generate new business with your content marketing your main goal probably is to build yourself, your employees and your whole company a reputation as problem solver, expert and helpful individuals. You to be the one considered to know his business best, who provides helpful and educational content and who therefore is an ideal partner or collaborator. Your content that you publish and spread throughout social media should help to attribute these motives to you.
It is fairly obvious that a reputation is not build with one post and stating the attributes yourself does certainly not do it. A reputation is something you achieve by doing a good job, telling stories, where people can read about your expertise between the lines, by knowing the right people and providing helpful information for your target group. It takes time to build a reputation as a thought leader and build a loyal audience – as most of us know from offline life.
Building a reputation with content marketing is not limited to a social media strategy. (You have probably done some form of content marketing offline in the past - giving speeches, participating in interviews, having the local paper visit your company or contributing an article to a local paper.) However, the benefit of working online is the rate at which your knowledge can reach your lead generation.
What Content to use?
When choosing your content, keep in mind, that first of all your write for the benefit of your potential customer. Of course the content should relate to you and your business, bit it definitely is not about the products you are trying to sell. There are virtually no limits to form and content of the stories you provide, just make sure you boss is with you. Content can appear in articles, videos, photos, graphics. (Hint: you can even tell the same story in different, creative mediums.)
Do not focus on what you want to tell, rather think about what your target audience would like to read or know. To get some ideas for good content, first pay attention to what kind of information you yourself like to read are watch.
To give you some ideas (and direction) for content creation here are 5 examples:
• Create How-To lists and lessons
• Give your perspective on industry news
• Tell a story about challenges you faced and how you overcame them
• Interview someone who will inspire your audience
• Relate company news from a new perspective, ie. an intern, programmer, accountant
See the White Paper, “The Social Media Way of Life for B2B Experts and Content Marketers” for more ideas on stellar content.
Where do you reach Your Audience
Deciding on what kind of content you want to use and creating it, is just the first step in the direction of content marketing. You have to publish and spread your content in order to reach your audience. While this sounds easy to most of us, that we are active on some social media platforms, this can actually prove very frustrating. As a matter of fact, even if you have a lot of friends, they often prove to be the wrong audience and most social media channels do not just start running on their own. It is necessary to know the channels you want to use and understand the specialties of each of them. Also be aware that one piece of content is just that, a piece in a puzzle – success comes with continuity.
As a matter of fact, not every platform will prove as useful as you might have thought. To gain attention in some of the larger well populated networks can prove difficult as they are built on a news stream and everybody floods them with news. Other networks need you to acquire a following before you really get the awareness you are looking for. Also the kind of content you are trying to spread plays an important role, as some of the networks concentrate on just one form of content like Pinterest.
When choosing your networks, take into account your motivation, your audience, and what you can achieve on these networks.
Places to publish content:
• Your/company blog (including Wordpress, Tumblr)
• Content publishing platforms (i.e. exploreB2B)
• Guest posts on other blogs
• Q&A platforms (Quora)
Places to share content:
When deciding which platform to use, take into account that it is not the number of users on the platform that matters to you, but the number of relevant people you can communicate with.
How to get it right
Web 2.0 has inspired a new level of influence for content marketing, even though the concept is not new; just think of conferences, business dinners and offline publications. Also there is not the one right way to use content marketing in social media. Do not expect to get everything right from the start, but listen, communicate, try and learn. If you get that right, you will in the end build the reputation you were looking for with social media content.
See the White Paper, “The Social Media Way of Life for B2B Experts and Content Marketers” for a more thorough insight into B2B Content Marketing, get to now some Content Marketing Rockstars and learn about building an expertise with social media.