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With your content, it’s particularly important to determine what audience you’re speaking to. We can broadly group it into two sets: what we call B2C, which is Business to Consumer, and B2B, which is Business to Business. We’re going to consider how you should tailor and adapt your content based on your audience’s needs.
Generally speaking, a business-to-consumer audience is broad. When we recommend pushing content at a business-to-business audience, being focused on a particular vertical, being quite specialist, and a little bit more niche than a business-to-consumer audience is generally recommended.
When we talk about the individual purchaser in a business-to-consumer situation, largely, the purchaser is a single person. For example, somebody who buys a single ice cream goes to the shop and makes a purchase; whereas with a business-to-business relationship, if a shop is ordering an ice cream from a wholesaler, there might be multiple factors influencing their purchase decision, based on shelf space, based on the retailer, and based on logistics. So being cognizant of the purchase behavior in that individual relationship is key.
The buying process for a business-to-consumer audience is very much a single-step process. Generally speaking, these are individual purchases that are carried out and completed quite fast. Within a business-to-business realm, a multi-step process can be in place.
With a business-to-consumer audience, as a result of the single-step buying process, the sales cycle is short. With the business-to-business audience, essentially, services are retained and are kept on for a lot longer. So be aware of this when you’re generating your content, as you may need to invest in a long-term relationship with the business-to business-audience.
Considering the sales drivers, a lot of business to consumers make their purchases based on recognition and the reputation of brands and businesses. Business to businesses are a lot more rationalized around the professional relationship and often require detailed information based on whatever your business or brand is offering.
Consumer audiences often buy into more impulsive or emotionally targeted advertising or marketing. On the other side, business to business is a lot more rational, thought out, fact-based.
Being able to create content that talks to each of these individual markets will be key to securing the right content marketing strategy for you.
There are a myriad of different content types available, from infographics to long-form videos, static graphics to eBooks. Being able to determine exactly what content will help you achieve your goals is key. Taking the time to identify exactly what content works with your audience, what content they are consuming on a day-to-day basis, and what content will help you achieve your goals will help you deliver the best content strategy possible.
When we talk about content, it’s incredibly important to recognize how this feeds the sales funnel. Literally speaking, we can break the sales funnel into three key sections: awareness, consideration, and eventual conversion:
When we overlay the audience journey with the content that best serves their needs, we can start to build a clear picture of exactly how we’re going to get consumers to convert. When we talk about the awareness section, creative content suggestions here would be stuff like eBooks, whitepapers, blogs, podcasts, or even video content
In terms of the consideration phase, again this is about building the relationship. So, answering questions, building a community that you interact with on an ongoing basis, replying to any emails that you get, and being able to build up an element of trust with a new intended audience is key in this section.
And finally, in the conversion section, adding additional value, looking to see where you can make further discounts, and being quite clear and direct with your call-to-actions are key.
In terms of amplifying content, this has never been more important for social media marketers. Essentially, what was before seen as a free launch by a lot of marketers has now become pay-to-play. Understandably, content channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have now got business cases to support. So they are leveraging reach in exchange for payment by brands. Brands can no longer rely on organic reach for getting their content on to their intended audiences, but must also be familiar with social media advertising and how to boost content to newsfeeds.
Let’s look at some of the larger social media channels you can use to get your content to your audience.
Facebook as a channel has an incredibly low reach. Facebook was the first channel to introduce what we call algorithm-based newsfeed filtering. This means that essentially, brands can pay to be up higher in the newsfeed and also appear in more newsfeeds based on that algorithm. Facebook has become the largest earner of paid social advertising in the world. Through the paid formats, you can activate a number of ad types, which generate engagement on individual pieces of content.
When we look at Twitter, they have also introduced an algorithmic newsfeed for their platform. There are nice paid formats on Twitter to help your content be seen by individual audiences. These include Twitter Cards. Twitter Cards are largely aligned, much like Facebook ads, to clear objectives, whether that be click to install, content promotion, click to engage, or click to website. Being able to align your ad type with your business objective for each piece of content will help you receive the best return on investment.
Instagram have also introduced an algorithmic newsfeed for organic content, and have introduced new ad formats as well. Their targeting and their intent is aligned with business objectives and it’s a very powerful tool. Individual objectives for Instagram advertising could be click to app and install, click to website, and also view video content.
With YouTube, there is no such thing as an algorithmic newsfeed. However, the platform doesn’t really function on a newsfeed basis. It is more about video discovery. However, low organic reach is suffered by brands who activate on the platform. For your content to be seen, you need to be using Google Ads for video formats. These are placed through the Google Ads platform.
Tumblr doesn’t currently have an algorithmic newsfeed, and there’s an array of paid formats that can be used by brands to get their content seen by larger audiences. These include sponsored posts and sponsored videos.
Snapchat doesn’t currently have an algorithmic newsfeed. However, it offers some really innovative platform features for brands to use. A great example of this is the Cadbury’s Creme Egg Easter Snapchat filter, which ran across the UK and Ireland for two days and achieved over 4.5 million views and usages of the filter on the platform. Other innovative advertising formats on the platform are sponsored stories.
When it comes to content, there is no one size fits all. We strongly recommend that, in your research and planning phase, you establish content personas. To do this, there are number of key questions you should ask yourself about your intended audience:
Creating content that resonates with each of these audiences should be a number-one objective for you. We recommend not trying to make too many content personas, but ultimately identifying what the ideal consumer looks like for you and then generating halo content around that individual.
Gaining shares and positive amplification of your content is great. We’re going to look at three reasons why people share content online.
Incentives. Usually, some form of tactic in terms of a discount, a promotion, or even a competition that you run through your social media channel can help your content get shared across different platforms by different consumers.
Fame. People often share content with their peers to look good within their social circles. Being able to tap into that aspect of vanity for users within their individual social networks will help you achieve great brand kudos.
Utility. People often share content that they believe their peer groups or social circles will find useful, valuable, or insightful. This can lead to emotional connections being established between audiences and brands.Back to Top
Creative Director at Teneo PSG Digital
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If you are interested in learning more about Content Marketing, the DMI has produced a short course on the subject for all of our students. You can access this content here:
DMI Short Course: Content Marketing
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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE
This module introduces the concept of engaging with and acquiring customers using the creation and sharing of content. It explains how to choose the right content for your customers – and how to ensure it gets seen by them. It outlines the different content formats available on social media channels and helps you identify which platform best suits your content. It also identifies best practices for scheduling your content, and equips you with the knowledge to devise and execute your own content creation strategy.