Recently, one of our software clients forwarded a note from a prospect who reached out because they had seen the company in trade magazines over the past year. The prospect in question had been struggling with their current system for a long time. So, when they kept seeing the CEO’s guest posts sharing his expertise on what they were struggling most with, they finally reached out to see what our client had to offer.
Another client, also in the software space, frequently runs into distributor prospects at trade shows who tell them that they stopped by their booth because of the blogs they’ve been putting out.
In other words, the content the company is publishing is driving the prospects to our client’s businesses. It’s a great position for them to be in. This may not happen immediately after a blog is published. It could be months or even a year later. But over time, as you contribute your expertise to the conversation, you become known as “the guy (or gal) who knows what he’s talking about.”
Effective content marketing is about playing the long game. Sure, a well-written email pitch may trigger some immediate sales, depending on your market. But in B2B, content marketing is particularly effective, especially if the sales cycle is long and the investment required by the prospect big. Pain points for most prospects don’t just pop up overnight. They build until the prospect can no longer function without replacing their existing solution or supplier. If you’re not top of mind when they’re ready to talk (or you don’t appear when they search online), they may not include you in their list of potential solutions.
It’s about building a reputation around the problems that you solve.
I like the way Copyblogger put it in a recent post:
“Instead of gambling everything on a one-page, one-shot conversion possibility, we spread our message out over a period of months and years. We use lots of different kinds of blog posts, and publish content in chunks of around a thousand words.”
Because, after all, not everyone in your market is ready to buy at any time. In fact, most aren’t. Rather than waiting until they make the decision to move forward and hoping they will land on your website, grow an audience of prospects that start to depend on you for great insights on the pain points they are facing. An effective content marketing strategy will put you top of mind when they are ready.
One of our most effective long-game strategies is to publish guest posts in trade magazines that our clients’ prospects read. Get our 3 tips for getting published in trade magazines.