Let's face it, things have changed a lot in the past few years when it comes to marketing your company and brand. I don't think I can emphasize that point nearly enough. And it's never going to stop. Technology will continue to "disrupt" the world as we know it on both a consumer and business to business level. We basically need to adapt or "die".
Your customers want a relationship with your company and your brand on a much deeper level than ever before. Michael Brenner, VP Marketing at SAP recently wrote an article called: It's Just Good Business: Emotional Marketing Beats Promotion 2:1. In the article Michael highlights that 86% of B2B buyers think we are basically selling the same stuff. There is more commoditization than ever before and that's a bit "scary" don't you think?
Michael goes on to highlight how important it is to connect with your customers on an emotional level. And that B2B companies that connect with their buyers on an emotional level will see two times more impact than B2B Marketers who are still trying to sell functional value. Function is boring. In life and in business people are more "plugged-in" when there's an emotional connection. That is nothing new.
So how do you do that? By creating lots and lots of informative, high value, high quality content that emphasizes personal value and emotional benefits. For most B2B's let alone B2C's that is a daunting task. According to the Content Marketing Institutes report B2B Enterprise Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, 43% of B2B's struggle with producing enough content and 39% struggle with creating a variety of content.
The most effective and efficient way to solve that issue is by building a true content marketing culture at your company. That means starting from the C-suite and throughout your organization (large or small) everyone needs to embrace content marketing. It is critical to connecting with customers and standing out from the competition. Everyone needs to commit to telling your brand story, addressing customers questions, needs and concerns and sharing information that aligns with your company values.
At Atomic Reach we have a dedicated cross-departmental team of people writing for our blog including our Founder and CEO. It is literally part of our "job descriptions". And there's not only a corporate benefit but a personal one for each team member. Each of us now has a forum to share our experience, thoughts and ideas to establish ourselves as thought leaders in our industry. Good for the company and good for each contributor's professional profile. Certainly a good selling point when rounding up company contributors.
Many B2B's like SAP and IBM make use of a similar model. They have blog contributors from all across their companies. This enables them to produce enough content to feed the "content beast" as well as solve for variety since having contributors across departments and geographic locations lends naturally to different ideas, expertise and points of view.
The key of course is planning and coordination. Create a content strategy, an editorial calendar and a way for contributors to pick or vet topics they want to write about and contribute. This article by Mike Murray published by the CMI Editorial Plan Best Practices: Prime Your Content Marketing for Success offers great guidance on how to do it right.
And there's one more piece to this "puzzle" that I think is equally important. Give your contributors tools to get the job done right. It will go a long way to insuring you are not only producing lots of content but producing lots of GREAT content. That's everything from a hosted platform to create the content whether WordPress or Google Docs, a contributor schedule that fits with their workflow, and the tools and insight to help them write content in a way that will connect and resonate with your target customers.
The time and effort will be worth every syllable and letter!