In the complex and saturated B2B landscape, it can be difficult for business professionals to attract new clients. Standing out among the competition is crucial, which is why marketing managers look for ways to employ creative and valuable marketing strategies. Content marketing is an effective choice because it offers relevant resources to clients and prospects and can establish a company as a leader in its industry.
Susan Parente, publications marketing manager for Sheridan, a printing and publishing services company, understands the value of quality content well. Sheridan, and Parente in particular, has been an Active Blogs client for nearly a decade. Active Blogs team members are responsible for creating, writing, designing, and sending out newsletters for each of Sheridan’s divisions including journals, books, and magazines on a regular basis. In an interview, Parente shared her insights on producing valuable content.
AB: Why is producing content an important marketing effort for any company?
Parente: You need to supply more than just your service. You need to prove yourself as knowledgeable in the industry or space you consume. By generating content that has meaning to your customers, you’re adding value.
AB: What types of information are people seeking from you the most?
Parente: Our more popular pieces are definitely around solutions. So, solving a problem that definitely seems to resonate with our readers. It doesn’t have to be something we offer a service for, either. We try to be very careful about that. In terms of our newsletter, it is not a newsletter filled with Sheridan solutions. We might have one or two things in there where we have an actual product or service that would resolve the problem, but we really strive to keep it very objective.
AB: How has using Active Blogs to help you produce consistent content helped your efforts?
Parente: If a customer has a problem, issue, or challenge, and you prove yourself to be someone who understands the industry by generating content that matters to them, they’ll come to you looking for solutions.
Being able to pull metrics from the content — who it gets sent to, when they open it, and what they look at — is also very important to me as a marketing manager. I put goals against those things.
It’s really valuable for sales reps who are assigned these prospects and customers who, often times, it’s difficult to maintain a conversation or even to start a conversation. But with newsletters going out with regularity, the sales rep is able to see what articles piqued interest with that particular prospect. This gives them the entry they need to start the conversation or just continue to cultivate that prospect by feeding them additional pieces of information that appear to be in their scope of interest.
A sales rep can also look at the metrics and say, “Hey, this person didn’t see this article. I know for a fact that it’s something that would be important for their business.” So not only do we push out the newsletter but then the sales rep has the latitude to take specific articles and send it to that prospect saying, “I think you might have missed this.” So, it gives them an opportunity to extend the life of the content.
AB: Will you make any changes to your current content plan in 2018?
Parente: More of the same!
However, I would like to create more landing pages for the content. If there’s an article that piques the reader’s interest and they want to know more, I can set up a specific page for them to land on and can establish a goal at the onset. For example, I want to get at least 20 people to download this whitepaper from seeing this featured in my newsletter.
AB: Do you think marketing managers should focus more on audience engagement and personalization?
Parente: Absolutely. For Sheridan specifically, that means going into specific niches and segments of industries whereas, before, we have addressed the entire journal community. We’re finding we need to be more granular there and really look into the types of journal publishers, magazine publishers, et cetera to generate more specific content.
AB: Any other marketing trends you are seeing and think are worth noting for 2018?
Parente: Things will continue to go digital, including advertising and content.
Content isn’t only about proving your worth. It’s about providing value to your prospects and clients, thus, building deeper relationships and earning trust. It can offer so much more than an interesting read to your audience. In fact, it can offer actionable insights about your prospects. Are you taking advantage?