September, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Content Marketing

“Content marketing” is the all the rage among today’s B2B marketers, along with the overused phrase “content is king.” But for those of us who live and breathe this stuff, we know that a good deal of it is really good public relations.

A March 2014 study by Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab looked at three types of content—branded (company-generated) content, user reviews, and third-party expert content. Hands down, the expert content had the most impact on buyers throughout the purchasing cycle, the study found.

Why? The implied endorsement of third-party experts holds much more weight to consumers than anything a company can say about itself.

B2B marketers should take a page out of the B2C playbook, and actively seek out such experts. Before exploring the realm of third-party reviews, let’s take a quick look at both branded content and user reviews. They, too, can help build your content kingdom.

Branded Content and User Reviews
inPowered offers a content marketing platform, and publishing an industry report with a respected research firm helps to elevate its thought leadership status. And I’m a perfect example of a third party indirectly promoting the company by referencing its research.
Other examples of branded content include e-books, webinars, blogs, infographics, and more.

User or customer reviews, too, can help your company (or lead to its demise). For example, as a teenager I worked for a catering hall, and my boss said something I’ll never forget: “For every great event, in time we’ll pick up three more. But for every bad one, we’ll lose ten.” It’s human nature that people are quick to complain and slow to compliment (as much as it pains me to say that).

Now let’s focus on the most powerful content of all—the content generated by third-party experts. We’ll take a look at how to find them, woo them, and make the most of their reviews.

Finding the Experts Who Can Help Your Business
Who are the credible experts in your industry? Look for experts with “volume of voice” and a solid following in the markets you want to penetrate. These third-party experts can include...

Journalists and bloggers
• Industry analysts
• Association leaders
• Noted authors in your industry
• Government officials (if your company is taking a stand on a cause, for example)
• Where to find them


Not long ago, I was conducting a leadership conference with a number of managers and sales executives. At the meeting, one of the managers shared with the group the following story about one of his tenured salespeople. During a typical field day, they were doing “rounds” to catch up with some of their existing customers, as well as trying to connect with some potential customers that they were unable to get time with to discuss their products.

The Effects of Social media’

In 1971, the first email was delivered. More than 40 years on, social media has taken the world by storm. Social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are now used by 1 in 4 people worldwide. Such activity may seem harmless, but some researchers suggest social media may affect our mental health and well-being.
In 2012, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting that Facebook use may feed anxiety and increase a person’s feeling of inadequacy.
A more recent study, led by social psychiatrist Ethan Cross of the University of Michigan, found that using Facebook may even make us miserable.

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