Is content marketing an over-used term? Probably. Is it over-hyped? Maybe. But make no mistake, it is the new reality for marketing organizations – ignore it at your peril.
[Google Trends shows recent uptick in search activity for Content Marketing]
The trend has been building for years in the B2B technology area, as buyers have been changing how they research and buy solutions.
Give away the good stuff
When I started in technology marketing, marketing saved its really ‘meaty’ materials for the sales team. Anything that included target audience, potential objections or competitive differentiators was marked with “Confidential” and included as part of sales training. You didn’t want your competitors to see what you were doing or to put potential objections into the minds of your prospects.
Those days are gone. Today people are actively researching solutions long before your sales team ever talks with them. You still need sales training, but you also need ‘prospect training.’ Focus on the customer. That’s where content marketing comes in.
The key is to give people useful, high-value content that helps them solve their business problems. Give it away freely, without waiting for prospects to talk to your salespeople. They can find this information on their own, anyway. You can earn their trust and attention by providing value early in the sales cycle.
There’s no turning back
Maybe you think you can stick to what you’ve always done – business as usual. This only succeeds if all of your competitors have the same idea. Once your competitors start engaging your prospects with useful, valuable content, they’ll gain an edge and you’ll lose the chance to form those relationships yourself.
Here’s a good article from Velocity Partners on content marketing hype and history.