Content is king. When it comes to marketing B2B products and services, we’ve all heard the phrase, especially in the technology space. It’s become a cliché.
In many respects, it’s true. You need quality, informative content to engage prospects at all stages of the sales funnel. And because tech sales cycles tend to be longer than most, often stretching from months to years, the volume and variety of content is always growing.
But is content really the mainstay of a successful marketing effort? This may sound strange coming from a content guy, but no. Here’s why content alone can’t rule the whole kingdom.
Content is crucial, but…
Quality content is critical for attracting prospects and keeping them engaged once they’ve expressed an interest. Lead magnets such as eBooks can convince the buyer to provide contact information, then periodic blogs and articles establish your authority in the buyers’ eyes. As they progress through the funnel, more detailed content—whitepapers, case studies and product sheets—help the prospect along the buyer’s journey towards a final decision.
But what about how you draw the prospect into the funnel at all? How does a prospective buyer even know who or where you are, before they ever request content or become a lead?
Good content needs good press
But you can’t rely on just great content and great SEO. Getting wide notice in a noisy, competitive world requires more. You need a public relations team.
It’s PR’s job to ensure the tech media outlets take notice of your company events, patents, product launches, awards and—above all—your industry expertise. And because there’s always someone else trying to claim the spotlight, PR must be a continuous effort. When big media notice you, their readers notice you. Now they have reason to head over to your website to find out more.
Compelling content deserves an engaging website
Aside from your blog and downloadable assets, your website copy is content, too. It should be clean and clear, to get your core message across to your customers. And that core message is not just what you say to customers, but how that message is represented visually.
The goal of your web design team isn’t just to make your website “pretty.” It’s to make the visitor want to engage with your business, with your products, and with the content you are offering. And like PR, an effective website relies on continuous improvement, to address and respond to micro and macro changes in customer behaviors and expectations. An abandoned visit means your great content goes unnoticed.
Inbound campaigns drive prospects to your great content
So, you’ve written a great whitepaper or eBook to engage your prospects. How will anyone ever know it’s there? Content without an audience is content unread.
Inbound marketing works with PR, social media outlets and paid media ads, not to mention email lists of potential customers. Its purpose is to offer up targeted content to those most likely to respond to it. Inbound campaigns draw those qualified visitors to your site, your current offers and, yes, even that compelling whitepaper.
A balanced, integrated approach is best
There are more pieces to successful marketing than those mentioned above. For example, social media, SEO and keyword analysis, core message development and detailed buyer personas. But for each one, the point is the same. Content may be “king,” but it can’t rule without support from the rest of the kingdom.