B2B Marketers in 2018 have a considerable challenge on their hands. It’s not enough to produce insightful, relevant and engaging content. It better look good, read better, and, most importantly, hit their target audience, right where they live. This is much easier said than done.
The foundation of a modern content and lead generation program must be built upon a solid content syndication network. Otherwise, the marketer is blindly throwing darts at a constantly movable target. Many marketers spend tens of thousands of dollars each year producing valuable content, only to have it available solely within the confines of their own proprietary walls. When content is only available on a company site or sent out via an internal company target list, no new set of eyes will happen upon said content, unless the content comes with its own homing device.
A solid content syndication strategy is designed to drive traffic to that content and leverage it in ways that will expand its reach, promote the company brand and help fill up the pipeline coffers with new and interested prospects.
According to Demand Gen Report, 2017:
So, what’s all the fuss about Content Syndication?
Why content syndication? Not to be rude, but, duh! Content syndication offers extensive reach, increased targeting of active buyers, reliable prospect qualification, higher return on investment, and a considerably greater share of opportunities designed to connect with the very target audience that’s most in your demand. By working with a group of distribution partners, industry influencers and digital third-party publishers, your white papers, infographics, emails, videos, blogs, and articles will be pushed out to a much broader audience: an audience that, by the way, may never have heard of you or your products and services. Good for them. Better for you.
In fact, according to a report from SalesBox almost two-thirds of B2B marketers are getting that message, saying that they already use content syndication as a core lead generation tactic.
While just over a quarter (28 percent) say they understand the concept and are beginning to reap the rewards, more than double that number of respondents (60 percent) said that they are still at the pre-launch, or just curious, stage of planning for syndication. There is clearly a lot of room for development around content syndication in the B2B space.
So, don’t be left behind. According to these figures, you have a real chance at gaining a competitive advantage by incorporating a content syndication strategy for your company.
According to a 2017 Content Syndication Survey Summary by Salesbox:
Content Syndication Networks & Publishers can be a Marketers Best Friend(s)
Content syndication and third-party publishers will host your gated content (prospects must fill out a form to receive the content prize) on their site. As the content will reflect the brand of the publisher versus yours, it’s important to receive a proof from the publisher to make sure your logo is well-defined and the content abstract is visible. Nothing is worth having your conversion rates and follow-up nurture/sales programs compromised as they go through the funnel.
Content Syndication Lead Targeting 101
Like almost everything else in marketing, targeting your content syndication network is paramount to success. B2B content syndication without a target is no more effective than any other marketing strategy with no understanding of your audience. Without targeting, you run the risk of inflating your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) without scaling your Lifetime Value (LTV). Targeting can either be generalized or explicit. In fact, you can ascertain that certain types of content are ideally geared toward a certain lead type that you’ve identified for acquisition.
Examples of generalized targeting:
• Content that is devoted to email marketing will attract a potential lead who possesses a marketing role but in a variable company size
• Content about sales operations will probably lean towards mid-to-large sized companies
• Content on marketing automation would be of interest to B2B companies versus B2C
• Case studies on a specific industry type would allow for a specific audience within that industry
Examples of explicit targeting:
• Company size
• Job Title (according to your buyer personas)
• SIC Code
Targeting is set up to be as defined or as broad as your preferences allow. It is of importance to note that most publishers will charge extra for customized questions. Although these custom questions will add to your campaign cost-per-lead (CPL) as the publisher will be scrubbing the unqualified ones, it may be worth the investment for ROI purposes. Another important note: be sure to explicitly define your target audience with your publishing vendor. Otherwise, you will end up sending non-qualified inbound leads to your sales team. Danger Will Robinson! This will result in a trickle-down-the-funnel effect from SQL to MQL to Opps.
Content Syndication Tips & Strategies for 2018 and Beyond
• Be careful to target the right audience. Admittedly, this sounds obvious, but without proper direction to your publishing network, you run the risk of investing your time, money and other resources to reach a lot of people that won’t have an interest in your content. Consider your distribution methods, such as email, telemarketing and third-party sites, that reach the buyers you want to engage. Also, contemplate where each buyer is in their buyer’s journey.
• Be patient in building credibility with the right target audience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your company’s credibility be. Although this is a difficult concept for most hungry marketers to accept, remember that you are building a relationship with your prospect(s), not just dialing for leads. The goal is to create a conversation over time that demonstrates the quality if your business; your industry authority; and, the value of your solution to the target market and their pain points.
• Be discerning when finding the right publishing partner. Although the best publishers provide real value when it comes to typical B2B content syndication, business solution providers and content syndication experts play different roles in creating and communicating value. Make sure you choose a partner that stays abreast of content marketing and content syndication trends. Determine if they are innovative in their approach. For instance, do they incorporate intent data in figuring out which prospect’s behaviors align with a high likelihood of purchase intent as it relates to your product or service? Clearly, it’s imperative that you choose a partner that gets your content in front of the most likely buyers to help you optimize your ROI.
• Take care in distributing your content assets. You’ve invested a lot of time and money in developing your library of content in variable form factors. Maximize your investment by delivering targeted email campaigns to prospects fitting your ideal technology profile, to allow you to develop and nurture real opportunities.
95% of B2B buyers have said that they are open to considering vendor content as a trustworthy source.
(Source: DemandGen 2016 Content Preferences Survey for B2B Buyers)
• Identify, target and engage with your ideal prospects as they move through your sales funnel. Although there is a market out there for your particular brand of products and services, sometimes they are most difficult to find. And, within that market, there is a subsection that may also want your products and services. Not all leads are created equal. Some prospects are ready to buy while others have just begun their buyer’s journey. Make sure your content syndication service helps deliver new customers by building brand awareness and generating warm leads from buyers actively researching topics related to your products and services.
Did you know that 47% of buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than 1 year ago?
(Source: DemandGen 2017 Content Preference Survey Report for B2B Buyers)
• Apply intent data criteria. In order to achieve a huge competitive advantage, it’s important to derive a direct correlation between your buyer’s purchasing strategy and your syndication content. You will also be able to maximize intent data by correlating it with other information, such as demographic, firmographic and geographic data. This will assist in matching prospect behavioral patterns with targeted customer profiles. Once you understand the intent behind your buyer persona research, you are in a better position to develop content that matches prospect intent, while achieving optimum value from it through your syndicated distribution strategy.
• Apply competitive intelligence data. In a “life on the razor’s edge” world of professional marketing, use competitive intelligence to target companies using your competitor’s solutions to gain market share and reach your ideal prospects.
63% of marketers say their top challenge is generating traffic and leads.
(Source: HubSpot, May 2017)
• Measure and track the results of your various purchasing partners, third party sites, industry experts, etc. Besides the obvious reason for measuring and tracking the results of your publishing partners, it is important to conduct A/B testing and content viability, especially as it relates to the influence the content has on particular types of prospects. You may discover that one format or message may vary depending upon the target audience.
• Conduct a timely follow-up on qualified leads. This is one area of content syndication and lead generation that cannot wait for next week. There is a significant difference between conventional and advanced follow-up with qualified leads. Connecting with targeted prospects that have shown intent is a more advanced method of follow-up. But delivering powerful, relevant messages via email or telemarketing will pay dividends. Not only will this help you determine which prospects have a high likelihood of making a purchase, but you can also filter out low-quality prospects early to minimize wasted time and expense over the long haul.
According to salesbox, these are B2B marketers’ top 6 content syndication goals:
We hope you find these tips and strategies helpful as you implement your 2018 Content Syndication strategy. By maximizing the result of your content syndication strategy, you will be more likely to operate efficiently and hone in on those prospects that will fill your pipeline with qualified, purchase-intending, leads.