Consumer trust is shrinking.
Content marketing involves reaching your target audience through helpful, relevant content, from blog posts and whitepapers to microsites and podcasts. When done right, content marketing establishes meaningful relationships with customers and prospects and demonstrates that your brand has a deep understanding of their needs and concerns.
In other words, content marketing is not about direct sales. It’s about building trust over time.
And content marketing isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s a crucial component of enterprise marketing strategies because it can:
- Drive brand awareness
- Build trust and credibility
- Educate an audience
- Generate demand
- Build loyalty
- Boost SEO
By focusing on education and support rather than sales motions, content marketing builds a foundation of trust. When your audience is ready to buy a product or service like yours, they’ll know where to turn.
Good content marketing also supports your sales team by helping prospects learn about their problem and, eventually, your solution — preparing them for an eventual sales conversation. And content marketing can also be incredibly useful for keeping your existing customer base engaged and nurtured between purchases or renewal cycles.
Types of content for enterprise marketing
Enterprise content marketing strategies include many content types. According to a survey from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), these are the most popular among enterprise marketers:
- Articles/blog posts
- Virtual events, webinars, online courses
- Case studies
- Infographics, charts, and data visualizations
- Ebooks and whitepapers
- Research reports
- Livestream content
- Print magazines or books
But, remember: the most effective content types are the ones your prospects and customers prefer most.
For example, if you serve an audience of busy entrepreneurs, podcasts may be a high-performing content type. But if your content is meant to reach manufacturers, the data shows that video may produce better results. Take the time to research and understand the kind of content your audience likes to engage with — and invest more of your resources there.
Best practices for enterprise content marketing
Content marketing isn’t just writing blog posts or setting up an editorial calendar. Especially for enterprise organizations, it requires following important best practices around strategy, collaboration, research, and technology.
Document your enterprise content marketing strategy
Before you start conducting keyword research or filling out an editorial calendar, take the time to develop and document your enterprise content marketing strategy.
Do the legwork to understand your audience, the personas you’re targeting, the topics they care about, the content types they prefer, the steps involved in their buying journey, and the channels or platforms where they spend the most time. These are the major areas that will drive your content strategy: who you’ll target with what kinds of content, along with when and where you’ll distribute it.
This fundamental understanding of what you’re doing and why will help get every team aligned around a holistic, unified content strategy. Speaking of that very enterprise-specific devil…
Demolish silos and align every team around content
Building an effective content marketing program can feel like herding cats or moving mountains, especially within a complex enterprise organization. That’s why documenting your strategy is so important: it helps get everyone aligned around your goals and how you’ll reach them.
It’s much easier to have those conversations early on — rather than when an asset is in final approvals and the stakeholders start asking where the sales CTA is or why you’ve made a video instead of a whitepaper.
As an enterprise content marketer, you’ll want to build buy-in and alignment for your strategy across:
- Products, business lines, or brands
- Departments, including sales, customer success, product, product marketing, and communications
- Marketing teams like content, creative, growth, SEO, social, and events
This is no small problem to solve. In fact, according to a CMI report, 64% of enterprise marketers say internal communication among teams is their biggest challenge. But it can have a major impact on your ability to create rich, deep content that drives meaningful results throughout the customer journey.
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Create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey
Since content marketing is intended to help prospects move along their buying journey, you’ll want to create content that addresses pain points and answers questions at every stage.
- Awareness/Discovery: Your customer is just realizing they have a problem that needs solving. Educate and inform with videos, blog posts, whitepapers, and ebooks.
- Research/Evaluation: Your customer understands their problem and is actively learning about different solutions. Start communicating your business’ value with case studies, buyer guides, comparison pages, and webinars.
- Purchase/Justification: Your customer is ready to buy your product but needs to feel confident about the purchase process, onboarding, and internal selling (for B2B teams). Help them by delivering free trials or samples, discounts, live demos, or customer testimonials.
- Retention/Advocacy: Your customers are constantly evaluating whether to buy again, renew a subscription, upgrade, or refer others to your business. Win their loyalty with referral programs, thank-you emails, and ongoing education.
Drive your topic strategy by customer needs, not keywords
If your content and SEO strategy begins and ends with keywords, you need to take a step back. Ranking for high-volume keywords and driving lots of traffic to your website is great — but only if those blog posts are geared towards your target audience and relevant to your area of expertise. Otherwise, you won’t see meaningful business results.
So before you start researching keywords, determine your topic strategy. Zero in on the topics that your audience cares about and subjects where your brand can be seen as an expert. That requires lots of audience research, including reviewing customer feedback, conducting customer interviews, and talking with your sales and customer success teams to learn about questions that could be answered earlier in the buying process.
Once you have core content topics in mind, then you can conduct keyword research to identify specific, relevant search terms you want to rank for.
Involve internal SMEs whenever possible
Creating high-quality content is a team sport. Within most enterprise organizations, there are subject matter experts (SMEs) who can help craft content that resonates with your audience. Look to your leadership team, sales team, customer success managers, and longtime industry veterans for real-life examples and anecdotes that make content come to life.
And SMEs don’t need to write a word of copy — or even take the time for an internal interview — in order to contribute. Conference talks and presentations can be easily edited into shorter video clips. Podcast appearances are a treasure trove of pull quotes for ebooks. And quick, asynchronous videos or voice memos provide plenty of meat for a blog post.
Empower your team with powerful tools
Teams need the right tools to bring their enterprise content marketing strategies to life — including a CMS that allows for innovative brand experiences without requiring constant support from busy development teams. To learn more, check out our whitepaper on how to supercharge your website with a scalable CMS.