"... a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
In recent years, marketers have been forced to think differently about how they engage with potential customers, particularly B2B marketers who are involved in a lengthy sales cycle.
Every year, customers have increasing control over what marketing messages they wish to consume. Gone are the days when a business could bombard prospects with marketing messages. Now prospects must be attracted with useful content.
In a guide, "Content Marketing Playbook," published by the Content Marketing Institute, 42 of the most heavily used tools for content marketing are described, from blogging and white papers to infographics and mobile apps.
Here's a summary of the top 10 tactics as they relate to B2B marketers:
Blogs - If you only do one thing on the list of 42, blog. Blogging, in addition to being the best way to increase your website's visibility with search engines, enables your firm to engage in a conversation with customers, end users, stakeholders and influencers.
Enewsletter - Permission-based email that is rich with useful, educational content is a great way to stay in touch with customers and nurture prospects.
White Paper - White papers are generally 8-12 pages and, when not overly self-promotional, are very effective at explaining technical topics, and are especially effective for defense contractors.
Article - An ongoing article publishing effort in targeted publications (print and electronic) has long been an effective means of establishing thought leadership and raising awareness. If you can tie in an article writing program with speaking engagements, even better.
eBook - Generally 12-40 or more pages, these are like white papers on steroids.
Case Study - These can be one of the most persuasive tactics, and involve demonstrating in 1-2 pages how your product has solved a problem for an organization similar to the one you're pitching.
Testimonials - When praise comes from a customer, it decreases skepticism and barriers to purchase.
Microblogging - Twitter, specifically. The speed and reach of Twitter creates an almost real-time conversation with your followers.
Webinar/Webcast - Webinars are excellent call-to-actions or follow-up to other content. And they can be downloaded afterward.
Video - Videos are inexpensive to produce and easy to upload and share. In fact, the less "slick" the video, the higher the credibility.
For the remaining 32 content marketing tactics, flip through the SlideShare presentation below, or click here to download the guide.