Content is the cornerstone of industrial digital marketing. It allows your target audience to get a feel for who you are, what you know, and how you can help solve their challenges without ever picking up the phone to talk to your sales team. However, new content is indexed by Google every day and floods the inboxes and newsfeeds of your target audience. As a result, your B2B company is asking ‘how can we get our content in front of our personas?” The answer is simple: invest time into a content distribution strategy.
Content Must be Distributed Thoughtfully
There are three high-level media avenues manufacturing firms can take to get the right content to the right audience time and time again; owned media, earned media, and paid media.
Owned media encompasses any web property that your company can control. This includes your website/blog, social media company pages, newsletters, and RSS feeds. You’ll want to determine the appropriate cadence for your content distribution on these channels and then stick to it. Do research into the most common times your personas are interacting with social channels and emails, then tailor your strategy to the information you find.
Owned media does present a challenge, however: you need an existing audience to be successful. Don’t worry, the other two media categories can help increase your company’s audience and help owned media become a successful part of your distribution strategy.
Earned media is considered the online version of word-of-mouth, meaning that people are engaging with, and sharing, your content on their own. This can be in the form of posting content into LinkedIn groups, forums or being picked up by a content aggregator. When earned media occurs, it results in improved conversions, increased traffic, and brand awareness. People want to hear from people and are more likely to trust the opinions of their peers.
It is important to remember that you need to take initiative in order to maximize your earned media influence. This can range from promoting your own content through a guest post on a partner’s website or pitching a content piece to a media firm (as long as it pertains to their audience as well). Influencer marketing is also going to be key. Determine who the experts in your industry are and reach out to see in you can co-create content. This will then results in increased exposure to your target audience. You should document how often you are going to seek out earned media options as well as your process for securing these opportunities.
Paid media has often been painted as the ‘bad guy’ of content marketing, but is quickly becoming a vital piece of content strategy success. As search engines and social media sites continue to evolve, so too do the rules of engagement. This means that to stay in the game, you’re going to have to invest a little bit of money into your social strategy. Typically, companies engage in pay per click ads or social media advertisements. However, some companies also invest in advertorials or native newsletters in which they pay for their content to be shared by a relevant organization. Regardless, you’ll be able to create a targeted campaign that will increase your earned and owned media efforts.
The first step is to decide what kind of paid advertising you're interested in and then set a budget. The nice thing about paid ads is that you can control how much you are spending and for how long. If something isn’t working, you can seamlessly end that section of the campaign and adjust. Be sure to also determine who is monitor these ads and when.
A successful content marketing strategy will use all three distribution channels over its lifetime, but the secret is starting with one channel at a time and continuing to grow.