B2B Content Marketing Basics: How to Understand Your Target Market

If there is one thing that harms many new businesses, it’s that they don’t take the time to properly define their target market. Or they go about it all wrong. Understanding your target market is vital for ensuring that you don’t waste money or energy on going after clients that aren’t a good fit for you business.

While many businesses will define their target market as “anyone”, this isn’t really helpful. Your ideal buyer will have specific characteristics, pain points and situations that your service or product can speak too. On the other hand, having a target market that is too narrow can also be harmful. 

Understanding your target market will allow you to use the right words and enticements to speak specifically to their needs, as well as place your messages where they’re most likely to see them. As an example, if you’re a graphic designer that works specifically with real estate agencies, you could post an ad for your services in the local newspaper. You’ll probably pay through the nose for that ad, and most people who see it won’t be specifically looking for your services. If you understand your target market, you instead place your ad in the newsletter for the local Realtor Association. While your reach would definitely be smaller, you’d also be more likely to appear in front of someone who actually requires your services.

WHAT IS A TARGET MARKET

So now you know why understanding your target market is important, let’s get into the details of what a target market is. Too many people think that a target market is the customers that you’re already serving. For instance, if you’re a digital agency that currently has a lot of property development clients, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily your target market. 

A target market is the group who are most likely to purchase your products or services, and who’s needs you could most easily fulfil. Because these people already want or need your services, it makes the most sense to market to them. The alternative, which is marketing to everyone else, is inefficient and expensive.

FINDING YOUR TARGET MARKET

To determine who exactly your target market should be, you can start by answering these three questions:

  • What problem could your product or service solve? Does it help companies better manage their leads? Allow people to communicate better? Does it kill spiders?
  • What type of person is most likely to have this problem, and in what situation are they most likely to use your product or service? This will help you to narrow down whether you should be focussing on individuals or businesses.
  • Does your product or service help different groups with different needs? It’s possible to have more than one target market, or market segment. These segments will be divided on how you utilise your product or service. As an example, bike shops may service families with children choose a safe bike for their little one. Or, they could service professional athletes who may need assistance choosing a professional racing bike.

Get really specific with your answers. Try to narrow down the pain points your product or service could address for your audience, and who would typically feel that pain.

SIX STEPS TO DEFINING YOUR TARGET MARKET

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you can start to get into more detail about who exactly your target your market is. Understanding who you are selling to, what they stand to gain and why they should choose your product or service above that of your competitors helps you to increase the effectiveness of your marketing messages. 

1. UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEMS YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE SOLVES

As we’ve mentioned, this is the first question you should answer when you begin your journey of understanding your target market. Once you have a good idea of exactly the pain points your product or service addresses, you can begin to identify who is most likely to experience these pain points. 

2. PAINT A PICTURE OF YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER

Once you’ve made a list of all the different problems your product or service could solve, you can start to build up an idea of who you should market them to. You can segment your potential ideal customers in many different ways. For instance, if you service a local market, you might know that high net-worth individuals tend to live in certain neighbourhoods. Alternatively, you could group your prospective clients by market sectors, such as manufacturing or recruitment. 

Answer as many relevant questions about your ideal customer as possible. If they’re individuals, are they married? Are they male or female? Do they work a specific job? 

If they’re a business, what industry are they in? Are they B2C or B2B? What is their yearly revenue?

3. WHICH SPECIFIC CUSTOMERS WILL BENEFIT FROM YOUR OFFER?

Ask yourself a few more questions:

  • Who will these pain points be the most bothersome for?
  • Who will have the most to lose by not dealing with these issues?

Your job is to demonstrate that the cost of not addressing their pain points and sorting out the issues is greater than the cost of purchasing your product or service to address them. This allows you to craft benefit-driven messaging to draw prospective clients in.

Factors such as stress, emotional distress and the prospective customer’s reputation all play a role in the value of your offering. 

4. THINK ABOUT NICHE MARKETS

Nowadays, we live in a world of niches. Just like people are no longer restricted by television schedules, and can watch whatever they want, whenever they want, they are similarly no longer restricted when it comes to the other content they consume. The internet is excellent at delivering personalised recommendations for products and services, and it has outdone many of the traditional and outdated distribution channels businesses used to have to deal with – along with the challenges they brought along. 

All of this means that it’s now easier to be a big fish in a little pond. Not only is it now easier to gain referrals and build your reputation, but you’ll probably also find that you get more from your marketing. 

Now that you’re a little bit closer to understanding your target market, you can begin to segment them:

Do you know what particular type of person or business you want to work with?

Are there any specific geographical locations you want to work in?

Are there any defined market sectors you particularly want to work in?

5. WHAT COMPANY EXPERTISE CAN YOU OFFER?

One way of deciding on the right markets to pursue is to think about your business and its employees.

  • Do you have particular areas of expertise? For example, do you have a lot of experience in particular markets, such as working with lawyers?
  • Do you have unique knowledge of a specific geographical area?
  • Are you better at getting on with certain types of people?

All these factors could help you establish a particularly attractive offering for your target market.

Take an accountant working alone in Manchester, for example. For a start, working all over the country is probably not practical. They may therefore decide to only work with clients in the North West.

It may be that before going it alone they worked in-house for a couple of different entrepreneurial businesses. Therefore, the accountant may decide to make their marketplace ‘Entrepreneurs in the North West’.

Suddenly, if you are an entrepreneur in the North West, this is an accountant probably worth knowing. Because the accountant only works in this area, they are more likely to introduce you to the right people and know about schemes and funding available to entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, by concentrating in this marketplace, the accountant knows which websites to look at and belong to, which publications to read and possibly write for, and which networks to attend. Within this target market it will be quite easy for the accountant to become known. Without limiting their market it would almost be impossible to know where to start.

6. WHO ARE YOUR COMPETITORS?

Once you have decided the answers to some of these questions, you must look at the market to see what else is available. The question you must have an answer to is:

  • Why am I uniquely placed to solve the problem?

It may be that for some marketplaces there is no answer. However, in certain sectors or geographical locations there may be a compelling response to that question.

If you are unable to answer the question, you either have the wrong target market or the wrong offering. In this case, more work will need to be done before you start targeting your potential customers.

ZEROING IN ON YOUR TARGET MARKET

Once you are clear about who is most likely to need or want your product or service, it’s time to get even more specific about this group, or groups, of people. There are several different ways to define your target market, based on different characteristics.

You should decide which approach comes closest to exactly describing your perfect customer:

  • Consumer or business – Start by clarifying if you have a B2B (business-to-business) or a B2C (business-to-consumer) offering.
  • Geographic – Local  brick-and-mortar stores may find that their most likely customers are within a two-mile radius of their store, or within a particular zip code. This target market is defined geographically, based on where they live or work or vacation or do business.
  • Demographic – Describing  your best customer demographic means that you define your target market in terms of their gender, age, income level, education level, marital status, or other aspect of their life.
  • Psychographic – Sometimes customers don’t fit into a particular group based on outward characteristics, but more based on internal attitudes and values. These are psychographic characteristics.
  • Generation – Many companies today define their target market based on which generation they were born in, such as baby boomers or Gen Y.
  • Cohort – Other companies find that their target market is better defined by looking at cohorts, or groups of people who had similar experiences during childhood, such as being raised by a single mom or attending boarding school.
  • Life stage – Other target markets are more alike because of the stage of life they are in, whether it’s post-college, retirement, newly married, newly divorced, or parenting young children, for example.
  • Behavioral – Another approach is simply based on frequency of use, or behavior, which could be a good choice for nail salons, car washes, or vacation rentals, for example.

Armed with a clear understanding of your target market(s), you can now begin to craft marketing messages that appeal to that particular group’s pain points and preferences.

Our Top 8 Tips For Writing Amazing B2B Landing Page Content

Conversion copywriters are wonderful human beings. They write B2B landing page content that converts readers and produces sales. Would you like to have the same skills they do? Would you like to be able to write effective landing page copy? To draw readers in, create endless buzz and produce endless profit?

To be honest, it’s only part skill. The techniques can be learned, practiced and made perfect. The best part is it can be mastered by all. You can write copy that would inspire others and leave them in awe. The most important thing is to understand the techniques at play. 

Writing conversion-focused copy is all about understanding your prospect’s mind. How do they process information? How do they make decisions? What convinces them to make a purchase? In today’s blog, we’ll be discussing a few writing techniques that have been proven to drive conversions. 

Once you’ve done the hard work of generating loads of traffic, these writing tips will help you turn that traffic into revenue with conversion-focused copy

8 TIPS FOR WRITING EFFECTIVE B2B LANDING PAGE CONTENT

Use customer testimonials.

Having your customers write your copy for you is one of the most powerful copy techniques.

Nothing starts conversations like testimonials. Good copy consists of source as much as it does style and substance, and that is why any copy you write will never be as good as a customer testimonials. Testimonials are persuasive because they show the consumer exactly what they’ll encounter when using your product or service. 

The landing pages of HighriseHQ are a prime example of using customer testimonials, and this plays a big role in their success. Featuring a customer photo next to the testimonial can even further spark conversation around your copy.

Most well performing companies will have testimonials on their landing page, but ConversationXL use testimonials as their headline.

Customers are your best conversion writers. Let them speak for themselves – a good addition to your copywriting and marketing strategy is social proof.

Emphasize the benefits, not the product.

One lesson a lot of marketers still need to learn is that customers don’t actually care about your products or services. They only care about finding an effective and affordable solution to their problem.  A Harvard research survey, performed in a number of different fields, encompassing 1,400 B2B consumers, concluded that we have reached “the end of solution sales.” 

Sales have historically been focused on the “solution-selling technique.” According to this technique, “salespeople are trained to fit a solution with an identified customer need and show why it is better than the competition.” 

This approach is no longer valid, as customers already know what they are looking for.

Thanks to the internet and search engines, they are able to discover just about everything. In reality, not only do consumers understand the solution, they also recognize the specifications they are searching for the criteria that the product must fulfill, and a pricing benchmark.

By only pitching your solution,  the customer does not find all they are looking for. Customers want to know the benefits of the solution or service you are pitching. You can mention your solution to let the customer know they are at the right place. That being said, push the benefits of the solution more than the solution itself. Let the customer know what they will receive from using this solution.        

Unbounce does this well, successfully emphasising the benefits of their product: “Without IT”; “build a high-converting landing page now”; “we’ve doubled and tripled conversion rates.”

effective landing page copy

Jaybird, who sells high-end Bluetooth headsets also speaks exclusively about the benefits on their landing page.

effective landing page copy

Benefits will always be better than solutions. By putting the customer benefits front and center, you can dramatically increase conversion rates, and by doing so take your copywriting to a whole new level.

Spend time writing a killer headline.

People do not read landing page copy meticulously. They search, they glance, and they allow the page to flitter through their eyes, but they don’t read every word. 

This means that it is the copywriters job to compel the customer to stop their skimming habits. Here are some things that customers would pay attention to.

  • The headline. 
  • The subheadline. 
  • The images. 
  • Buttons for CTA. 

Clients may or may not read the following after that: 

  • Major sections portion. 
  • Bullet points. 
  • Short paragraphs. 
  • Image captions.

As you write your conversion copy, thisshould give you an idea of what to focus on. The ten or fifteen words in the headline are the most significant piece of your material. Focus on it, nail it, and you’ll have accomplished a lot. In order to help the “non-readers” convert, you should:

  • Make your headline stand out and be clear.
  • Remember to push your benefits and be compelling.
  • You can further display the benefits by using images with written explanations.
  • Use strong copy in your CTA.
  • Lead with large headlines and break your copy into major sections.
  • Use bullet points to discuss the benefits of your product. Short bullet points. Not long ones.
  • Use short paragraphs, rather than long blocks of text. Any paragraph over five lines long can be hard to digest.
  • Use captions on your images.

Keep your writing simple.

The best advice you’ll ever hear for writing effective landing page copy is going to be the next few words: keep it simple. You could be as literarily great as J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, but literary prowess is useless when it comes to writing conversion-focussed copy. The most powerful writing skill when it comes to writing effective landing copy is simplicity. 

Let’s look at Optimizely as an example. They produce some excellent landing pages for their clients, but take a look at their landing page:

effective landing page copy

Though it seems simple, it’s extremely effective. And why? Because of its simplicity. GetResponse has the same idea.

effective landing page copy

Again, super simple. Whoever created these landing pages didn’t spend hours brainstorming, outlining, meditating and thumbing through a thesaurus. They wrote the simplest, clearest statements they could. That isn’t an invitation to replace creativity with buzzwords, though. There are certain words and phrases that kill conversions stone dead. ConversionXL has a list: 

  • “On-demand marketing software”
  • “Integrated solutions”
  • “Flexible platform”
  • “World leader”
  • “Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”
  • “Changing the way X is done”
  • “Paradigm shifting”
  • “Exceeding customer expectations”

Clichés like that just don’t work anymore. Simplicity is key, and we have a few tips for writing effective landing page copy that keeps it simple:

  • Keep your sentence structure simple.
  • Use short sentences and short words that are easy to skim and understand
  • Be clear, be succinct and don’t use fancy wording. 

If you can be simple, you can write effective landing page copy..

Write like a human

There is another tactic that can help you smash your competition: sound like a human being. 

At some point, a group of copywriters thought it would be nice to create copy that sounded forced and robotic. Who writes like that?  Who’s reading this stuff? I don’t remember, but I do know that nobody’s going to convert on it. 

People prefer to communicate with other people, not robots.  That’s why your copy has to sound like it was composed by an actual person. Here are some unique things that you can do to make your writing more personal:

  • Write the way you talk
  • Use normal words and sentences, like those you would use if you were talking to a ten-year-old. Why use “convivial,” for instance, if you can use “friendly?” ” 
  • Break the laws of grammar if the writing still sounds normal and pleasant. 
  • Be funny. 
  • Talk in the first person. 
  • Use terms and expressions like you would in a regular conversation. ” I’m wondering…,” “Wait a second.” “It was nuts.” “Wow.” “It was pretty cool.” “It’s like…” “Wow.” “It was pretty awesome.”

With sky-high conversion rates and a strong personal style, Ramit Sethi, a personal finance expert, developer and author of the popular blog “I Will Teach You To Be Rich,” has a strong personal style. His posts feel like a best friend’s confidential letter. He doesn’t even mind adding in a phrase or two that he would use if he was talking with his friends, he would use. Check out one of his blog posts with this excerpt: 

effective landing page copy

Try to get away from the notion that you write “copy,” and think more about it as a dialogue. You’ll write faster if you do that. You can sound human. Your conversion rates will almost definitely go up.

Use numbers and get specific.

The more specific you are, the more persuasive and compelling you’ll be.Which one of these arguments makes is more convincing? 

“Your conversion rates will go through the roof!” 

“In the last 60 days, our customer conversions have increased by an average of 64.3 percent .” 

The second is even more accurate, and therefore more reliable. Anyone can make blanket declarations of awesomeness, but facts and detailed metrics can’t just be quoted by anyone. 

Let’s take another example. Check out this landing page from TeamGantt. To advertise the advantages of their offering, they use a particular number: 

How successful would it be if they said they had planned “millions of tasks?” That amount makes all the difference. Customers want specific reports on the advantages that other customers see, and they want specific explanations of what they are going to get. Specificity is a good weapon

A/B test your copy.

A successful conversion-focused copywriter doesn’t just write – they have to keep testing, too. How else can you know what kind of writing converts higher or lower? 

On a landing page, there are all sorts of A/B tests you can do — photos, placement, movement, layout, etc. Typically however, the greatest benefits come from copy modifications. If you want to achieve better and higher sales rates, along with the other elements of your landing pages, you’ll need to test your copy. 

Do not expect to hit a homerun your first time. By deliberately, methodically, and purposely testing any deviation, you will excel. Here are several things that can be tested:

  • Headline variations
  • Subheadline variations
  • CTA copy
  • Lists of benefits

What You Need to Know About the B2B Marketing Funnel

There is a lot of talk about the B2B marketing funnel. Who owns it? Marketing or Sales? Is the funnel even still relevant to modern buying processes? 

The answer to those questions, in no particular order, are: yes, and both. 

Today we’ll be discussing the B2B marketing funnel, diving into some of the recent changes and the rising challenges for marketers. We’ll compare the uses of the funnel for B2C and B2B cases, and break down the marketing vs. sales ownership debate. We’ll also explore some nonlinear approaches to the funnel, and explore how it can be flipped to create more leads.

Before we get into that, let’s recap what we know about the B2B marketing funnel. 

WHAT IS THE B2B MARKETING FUNNEL?

In a nutshell, any marketing funnel is just a visualisation designed to help understand the process of converting leads into customers. The idea is simple: marketers bring in as many leads as possible, nurturing them through the decision-making process and whittling down the amount of leads in each stage of the funnel.

In a perfect world, the funnel would actually be a cylinder. Anybody who shows interest in your business would eventually become a customer. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality of today’s business world. Thus, it becomes part of a marketers job to convert as many leads as possible. The more cylindrical the funnel, the better.

Another important thing to note is that there is no universal funnel. The funnel varies, and can look very different between industries, and even between businesses. Some have many stages, others have only a few, and most of them will have different names for the stages, with different actions that need to be taken by both the consumer and the business for each. 

Below is an amalgamation of the most relevant and common B2B marketing funnel stages, actions and terms.

marketing funnel

B2B MARKETING FUNNEL STAGES

Let’s go through each of the funnel stages, just to recap how they work and what they mean.

Awareness

Awareness is the first stage of any marketing funnel. Consumer research and discovery, as well as marketing campaigns, will draw potential customers into the funnel by making them aware of your brand. This is where lead generation takes place. 

Through social media, PPC, media mentions, content marketing, webinars and other marketing, trust and thought-leadership are established. These efforts often result in information collection through forms and landing pages, and during this phase, all leads are pulled into the CRM system. From here, they can be nurtured, and hopefully moved further down the funnel.

Interest

Once a lead has been generated, the move from awareness to interest. During this stage, they learn more about the company, as well as the products or services. This provides an opportunity for brands to establish a relationship with their leads.

During this stage, marketers can nurture leads with email sequences and targeted, informative content – allowing them to position themselves.

Consideration

Once a lead moves into the consideration stage, they become marketing qualified. At this point in the funnel, they become prospective customers, rather than just leads. To move them further down the funnel, marketers can send them more information about offers through email sequences, and continue to nurture them with targeted content. This can include case studies, white papers, free trials and more.

Intent

A prospect will enter the intent stage of the funnel when they have demonstrated that they are interested in purchasing a product or service. Intent can be demonstrated in several ways, including adding an item to their shopping cart, asking certain questions to customer service, or signing up for a trial or demo.

During this stage, marketers should be making their case as to why their product or service is the better choice for the buyer.

Evaluation

During the evaluation stage, prospects will be making their final decision about whether or not to make a purchase. During this phase, sales and marketing will have to work together closely in order to nurture this process, convincing the buyer that their brand’s offering is the best choice. 

Purchase

The final stage of the funnel. At this point, the prospect has made the decision to buy, and is “closed won” – they become a customer. At this point, sales is taking care of all customer communication. 

By ensuring the customer has a positive experience, referrals can be gained which further fuel the marketing funnel. These new leads will enter the top of the funnel, and the process can begin again.

HOW DOES THE B2B MARKETING FUNNEL DIFFER FROM THE B2C MARKETING FUNNEL

Below is another amalgamated diagram, this time modified to reflect some of the differences between B2B marketing funnels and their B2C counterparts. The funnel below outlines some of the actions a prospective lead could take within each stage of the funnel. 

B2b marketing funnel

Some of the key differences between the types of funnels include:

  • B2C customers will usually go through the funnel alone. They may have a few trusted advisors, such as family or friends guiding them. Conversely, B2B buyers will often have a much larger buying group (averaging 5.4 people), usually including multiple departments. 
  • B2B customers are more likely to interact with a company representative than their B2C counterparts.

NONLINEAR FUNNELS

One of the first questions we mentioned when we started this blog is whether or not marketing funnels are even relevant anymore. The buying process isn’t as linear as it used to be, and not every lead joins the funnel at the same stage. Sometimes, a referral is so convincing that the prospect jumps right to intent. Through their research, they could come in at consideration. 

With the internet being what it is, users have access to almost limitless information. This means that they’re doing a lot of their own research, and they depend on content such as blog posts, infographics, case studies and whitepapers to tell them what they need to know about a brand’s products or services. According to CEB, B2B customers get through a whopping 57% of the funnel on their own, before ever engaging with a company representative.

Alternatives to the traditional B2B marketing funnel include McKinsey’s “consumer decision journey”. This model is circular, and demonstrates how the process actually fuels itself. 

customer journey

Not everyone agrees on this approach, though. According to Mark Bonchek and Cara France in their Harvard Business Review article, “Brands may put the decision at the center of the journey, but customers don’t.”

With no universally agreed upon model, both the funnel and the decision journey continue to be useful, and used. 

MARKETING VS. SALES: WHO OWNS THE B2B MARKETING FUNNEL

A tale as old as time – marketing vs. sales. 

Among the other things sales and marketing teams love to fight about, they also argue over who owns the funnel. On the one hand, consumers have begun to rely on content such as blog posts and case studies to help them make purchasing decisions. Surely this means that marketers should be responsible for the funnel. Afterall, it’s their content which nurtures prospects through the various stages. Below is a diagram which highlights how ownership of the funnel has changed in recent times.

B2b marketing funnel

Some seem to think that the funnel should be split down the middle, belonging fully to both marketing and sales. The argument for this is that salespeople are “increasingly becoming thought leaders to drive awareness by doing outbound outreach.

If this is the case, then it is the responsibility of both sales and marketing to nurture prospects through the funnel, each having an equal hand in getting leads from awareness to purchase

THE B2B MARKETING FUNNEL AND THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Flipping the funnel – turning into a customer experience funnel – is becoming increasingly common. Rather than focussing on turning leads into customers, the experience funnel focuses on turning customers into advocates. This way, the experience funnels fuels the marketing funnel, by driving referrals. 

Below is a diagram from Track Maven of what the customer experience funnel could look like:  

customer experience funnel

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FUNNEL

Repeat

The first step after a customer has made a purchase is to encourage them to make another. To do so requires implementing effective retention and nurturing strategies to nudge customers into making more purchases. Marketers should continue their bottom-of-the-funnel activities to encourage repeat purchases. 

Loyalty

The loyalty stage is the phase of the customer experience in which consumers develop a preference for a particular brand. At this point, engagement is key. At this point, consumers will begin to identify with a brand, and possibly personalise products. Through community development and outreach, marketers can help to nurture this connection.

Referral

Once a customer is loyal to a brand, they are more likely to provide business referrals and recommend brand products.

Advocacy

Turning your customers into advocates is the ultimate evolution for nurturing current customers. Evangelism in the form of writing product reviews, posting about products on social media, and more can help drive more new leads for your marketing funnel. Having an external recommendation not connected to a brand can strongly influence prospects. Marketers can work to develop their communities to better support advocates, ask them to participate in case studies, or engage them around consumer-generated content on social media.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The ultimate goals are to increase the number and size of purchases and to drive more awareness and referrals to fuel the marketing funnel.

How to Develop a Solid B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is a vital part of any B2B marketing strategy. Not only is it effective for generating new leads – it is also useful for nurturing warm leads into sales-readiness. It also contributes to the entire sales and marketing pipeline. The stats back this up. The average B2B customer consumes between three and five pieces of content before they engage with a sales rep. 96% of those buyers choose to do business with organisations who have provided them with relevant content throughout the buyer’s journey. So it’s clear that an effective content marketing strategy can have a dramatic impact on both lead generation and lead quality. 

There are two parts to creating an effective content marketing strategy – the content and the distribution. Whether your content is created in-house, or it’s outsourced, you need to be tactical about your content marketing strategy. Leads nurtured by content spend up to 47% more, so you want to make sure your content marketing is done right.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Content marketing differs in outlook from other B2B marketing strategies, because it hinges on giving something back to your prospects. Channels like email marketing and digital marketing push adverts and messages out, asking people who have an interest to express it. In the short run, they may gain a free demonstration or trial, and in the long run, they’ll gain a product or solution.

With content marketing, however, you’re offering something of value in exchange for the expression of interest. These objects of value come in the form of an insightful or informative medium; most commonly, this is a blog or downloadable asset like an eBook or whitepaper. It could also be something a little more varied, such as a video, podcast or infographic. This content is created with a double intention: to raise interest in your product or solution, but also to share knowledge and entice discussion in your field.

This means prospects are further inclined to inquire, as they’re thankful for the content and now thinking about their business needs, but it also works to nurture those who may not be ready to buy just yet. After reading a few blogs and watching a couple of videos, the prospect may then realize you can help them, and come to you for a solution.

So how is this done? How can you create an effective content marketing strategy that generates both hot and warm business leads, doesn’t repeat itself and is consistent in its results? 

HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY

Perfect your Buyer Personas

If you’re not already using buyer personas, you should be. And if you are, make sure they’re perfect. 

In a nutshell, a buyer persona is a representation of your ideal buyer. The more information you can attribute to it, the better. Make sure you’re covering both bigger picture factors and more detailed, micro preferences. For example:

  • What industry are they in?
  • What facilities do they need for your product/solution to work?
  • Who is their clientele?
  • What’s their annual turnover?
  • What’s their business size?
  • Where are they based? These are often similar to the questions used in turning a normal business lead into a qualified lead. Then look to more specific detail:
  • What’s their job title?
  • What’s their seniority?
  • Can they make a decision alone?
  • What’s their time scale for purchasing?
  • What’s their budget?
  • What are their needs?
  • Which hours of the day are they in the office?
  • What are they already aware of and what do they need to know?

Other Details

Pad your buyer persona out with these details. Some organizations have two or three different personas, where they have several use cases and market to varying industries. So why are buyer personas important? Once you’re in the head of your ideal buyer, you’ll know what language will get them excited and intrigued, you’ll know what they’re looking for in research, you’ll have insight into the movements and advancements of their industry. This all feeds into making the most successful content for your specific audience that meets the business needs of your desired buyers. Last year, 71% of the organizations who exceeded revenue and lead generation goals were actively using buyer personas. This is because a buyer persona allows you to appear less “sales-y” in your B2B marketing; 81% of those using buyer personas were able to improve their business proposition and product value within their content marketing, so they saw more leads generated! Don’t forget – buyer personas change, just like every aspect of marketing, so ensure you update them at least every six months. Even if there is little or no change, this will help ensure all your marketing channels are tapping into the correct buyer mind-sets.

Make an Informed Decisions About Mediums and Platforms

Now you’ve got those buyer personas nailed, let’s use them to make informed decisions and create an effective content marketing strategy.

Start by asking, what information do our ideal buyers want to know/consume? Think of broad topics that apply to your product/solution, like “B2B sales” and then delve deeper into niche topics and subjects, such as “sales analytics”, “sales call techniques” or “sales pipeline”. Pick two or three of these broad, big starting points, and draw five-to-ten detailed areas from each one. Relate these back to the needs attached to your buyer persona, also to their industry, job title and clientele.

Mediums

Then you need to ask, how do our ideal buyers want to receive this information? Do they want to read it, or watch it, or listen to it? It’s good to offer a variety, as we all have different preferences, but here you can rule things out you know won’t appeal. If you’re marketing to a persona that enjoys detail and information, then a 60-second video is unlikely to spark their interest more than a blog, asset or 15-minute podcast. Draw up a list of mediums you’ll definitely use, a list of ones you’ll test and try, and a list of those you don’t think will work with your buyer persona.

Platforms

Now the final question- where would our ideal buyers like to find/interact with our content? This is where the strategy deepens and you look to the practical use of the content you’ll make. Of course uploading content to your website is a must, to grow a community and boost SEO, but think about how you’ll announce and share that content, via email, social media, direct mail even? Look at all the options through the eyes of your ideal buyer. Also, contemplate how often they would want to receive content- B2B organizations who publish 11+ blogs per month generate an average of 4x as many business leads!

Answer all these questions in detail, and you’ll be ready for the next step.

Create a Content Calendar

A content calendar takes time to create but is the key to implementing and maintaining an effective content marketing strategy. You should be planning out every week: what content you’ll publish, when and where.

Start on a large scale; apply a broad topic to a month or choose a campaign to run the length of a quarter, then go deeper. Spread those niche, more detailed topics across the assets, blog posts, infographics and podcasts for that month, so you’ll cohesively cover that topic on both a surface level detail and a more in-depth, adept level of detail in the mediums you deem preferable to your ideal buyer.

Plot titles for each piece on the calendar in the week you want them published, and describe where they’ll be published, promoted and shared. Then you need to expand the calendar from a practicality perspective- when do you need to start constructing the content to publish on a certain day? What input will you need from your internal or external copywriter and/or graphic designer to complete the content? How many checks and amendment processes will you undergo?

This content calendar will be what gives your content marketing that ability to nurture leads through a journey, along with the ability to run a content market strategy with the power to bring constant results and reliable lead quality.

Be a Thought Leader

96% of B2B buyers want more input from thought leaders in the content they read. To become one! Conduct the appropriate research and position yourself as a thought leader in your field. Whether you choose to relate closely to modern influencers in your ideal buyer’s industry, or you aim to carve your own path of learning and expertise, make sure you’re working with reliable resources. Find statistics from surveys or academic studies, and look to different schools of thought within your industry, to create content with superior knowledge. Set up your own surveys and use the results to make benchmark reports. Aim to be teachers- your prospects should come to you to learn about their industry and find research for their own strategies.

This does wonders for many factors outside of lead generation. Namely, credibility. The name of your brand, when positioned as a thought leader, becomes associated with expertise, knowledge and trust. This helps all of your B2B marketing channels by legitimizing their message and increasing their standing in the market. This also helps your sales team; when leads come their way, they already believe you’re a brilliant organization and the best in your field, so closing that sale comes far quicker and easier.

Track the Right KPIs

With any marketing strategy, the reporting and analysis are as crucial as the build-up in its success. This is especially true of content marketing, where you’re running a constant campaign and nurturing journey. So make sure you not only have a good reporting system in place, but you’re recording the best metrics to improve your strategy.

There are no right or wrong key performance indicators to measure; as every content marketing strategy will differ due to its buyer persona. Its KPIs will of course, also vary. We would recommend, however, ensuring you have a good website analytics software, that will enable you to see the number of views or downloads your content has achieved. This is a great starting place to track the reception of your content and its conversion rate. 

Remember, content takes time to work. It’s not as instant as some channels as it focuses more on the nurture of a lead. When you launch a new content marketing strategy, make sure you allow a few weeks for it to take effect.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Content marketing offers that softer approach that many buyers not only appreciate but also feel a benefit from. So it balances out your B2B marketing department where other channels focus on getting that instant “yes!”. Though it seems there’s loads to do to get started, the contribution of an effective content marketing strategy to sales and retention is as valuable as its B2B lead generation capabilities, so you’ll not only obtain more customers, you’ll keep them too.

How to Generate Leads with B2B Content Marketing

In our previous blog post, we discussed how generating leads is the biggest challenge in B2B marketing these days, as well as some methods for generating leads with social media. Of course, social media is far from the only way to generate B2B sales leads. 

Just by the fact that you’re reading this blog post, and have hopefully read the previous one, you should hopefully know that we are major proponents of content marketing. Content marketing works. While it’s not just as simple as slapping together a 600-word blog post twice a month, it’s an effective source of leads when done correctly.

According to the 2019 trends report released by The Content Marketing Institute, 78% of B2B marketers already make use of content marketing. The most successful of these have a well-documented content marketing strategy. Another study by MarketingProfs and ContentMarketing puts the number even higher, at 91%

On average, B2B marketers are spending up to  33% of their marketing budget on content marketing.

Unfortunately, having said this, not all marketers get it right, and executing your content marketing the wrong way can lead to frustration and mediocre results. In a study by CMI, only around 30% of B2B marketers claimed that their organisations effectively implemented content marketing.

WHY IS CONTENT MARKETING IMPORTANT

Content is the foundation of a good and healthy website, and search engines like Google prioritise websites with a decent amount of content. SEO and lead generation are all about increasing time on page and building engagement. You can do this by following the EAT guidelines with your content. 

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trust

By positioning yourself as an expert in your field, your content automatically gains more authority. The more authority your content has, the more your audience will trust you. In turn, having the trust of your audience is vital for improving your search rankings. 

Why is any of this important?

The top five results on the search engine results page (SERP) receive 67.6% of all clicks

HOW TO GENERATE LEADS THROUGH CONTENT MARKETING

Now that we’ve had a bit of an introduction, how do you actually generate B2B sales leads with content marketing? Content marketing is a wide field, with dozens of subfields. Here are just a few of the ways you can generate B2B sales leads with content marketing.

The Basics

  • Host a webinar. Choose a topic that should appeal to your target audience and host a webinar on that topic. Remember though, webinars are not the time to sell your product or service. They’re for informing your target audience about a topic they’re already interested in, or answering some of their questions. Webinars are a relatively low-cost way of getting your message in front of a large audience, and to generate a good amount of leads. 
  • Publish research reports. Using research reports as lead magnets can be a great source of leads, especially in the B2B sector. Most businesses know the value of research, so they’ll often be more than likely to share their contact information in exchange.
  • Publish videos. Videos are no doubt the content with the most current appeal, and the most viral potential. After all, Youtube is currently the second largest search engine in the world. If videos are not a part of your content marketing strategy, you’re losing out on one of the biggest sources of lead-generating content. 
  • Create blogs. Obviously, blogs are far and away the best form of content. As long as you do them right, blogs are more likely to appear on the SERP than any other type of content. Blogging effectively can allow you to dominate the SERP, build authority and gain recognition and trust from your target audience. 

Of course, all of these mediums can be used together. For instance, you can publish the results of a research paper on your blog. You could publish video snippets of your webinar to your Youtube channel. Announce your upcoming webinar on your blog. You can use each technique in tandem with the others. 

Why Your Content Marketing Isn’t Working

Right now, more B2B companies are using content marketing than ever before. It’s definitely one of the most effective forms of marketing available today. Unfortunately, most businesses dive in head first, creating content randomly without first devising a strategy. Often, they’re blithely assuming that their audience wants to read endless blogs about their products or services, or watch 20-minute product tutorials and testimonial videos. As a result, many content marketing campaigns fall flat at the first hurdle. They fail to generate the leads businesses think they will.

There’s a simple reason for this. 

“Content without strategy is just stuff.” – Arjun Basu

The internet is a massive place, and there’s a ton of content out there. Some of it’s good, some isn’t. A lot of it is entirely out of data. So the main challenge in generating leads with content marketing becomes offering relevant, useful and helpful content that your audience actually wants to read.

Most people don’t have the time to read content that doesn’t answer their pertinent questions – especially in the B2B sector. The bitter truth is, they don’t care about your product or service. They also don’t care about your new office, or the latest office birthday. They want answers to their questions, and solutions to their problems.

Besides these basic mistakes, there are a few other reasons you could be failing to generate B2B sales leads with your content marketing:

  • Lack of detailed strategy
  • Lack of buyer personas
  • No clear goals or KPIs
  • Lack of creativity or differentiation
  • No promotional activity

In this digital age, there are few things that audiences want, besides the answers and solutions we mentioned above. They want product comparisons and accurate reviews, as well as pricing documents.

If you’re not offering any of the above, there’s a good chance that your visitors will just click away.

Content Marketing Tips

If you want to generate B2B sales leads with content marketing, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Help People Do Their Jobs

Your B2B content should, above all else, be useful. Whereas B2C content can be either educational or humorous, the target audience in the B2B sector is on the job. They need to sell your solution to the people they work with. The easiest way to generate B2B sales leads with your content is to solve a problem that they’re having – make their jobs easier. 

You can do this by researching your audience, including the positions they’re likely to hold and the common problems they face. With these factors, you can start building a buyer persona (or multiple) and applying that persona to the content you create. 

As an example, when health information management company Ciox Health wanted to launch into a new market, they launched a six-part content series of informative and important information. This included a video, checklist and a listicle. 

generate B2B sales leads

This content provided legal firms with the information they needed to streamline the process of retrieving medical records. This campaign reached 1,884 potential prospects and achieved an Open Rate of 42.8% and a CTR of 14.5%. 

Deliver the Right Content at the Right Time

Though you might have created a great piece of content, and it might be getting good traffic, there’s no guarantee that the audience you’re attracting will be ready to make a purchase. Why? Maybe you’re delivering your content at the wrong time. If you’re not delivering content to your audience based on their position in the funnel, it’s unlikely that they will convert. 

Think about it like this. When you meet someone new, unless the stars have aligned, you don’t jump right into being best friends. Rather, you make a bit of small talk, and get to know each other over time. The same principle applies to content marketing. 

If your content isn’t converting, maybe it’s because you’re treating brand new acquaintances like old friends.

So, what’s the solution?

Create a segmented strategy with different goals for different content, making use of different buyer personas in varying stages of the funnel.

Gate Your Content

One of the most obvious ways to generate B2B sales leads with your content marketing is to gate it. Offer access to your content in exchange for the readers information – their name, email address and company, for example. This is something that HubSpot does particularly well. 

Of course, it won’t work for every piece of content, and it won’t work for every business. 

If you’re not sure which content is worth gating, here are some examples of the pieces of content which are considered most valuable:

  • Whitepapers and industry research
  • Exclusive eBooks
  • Expert-led training and webinars 

Don’t Forget About Social Media

Though we discussed social media at length in the previous post, it works especially well in conjunction with content marketing. Many B2B buyers have social media profiles, and by sharing links to your content, you can catch them in their down-time and ‘plant the seed’ in their mind. From social media, you can drive them to informative landing pages, or get them to engage with your content. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Content marketing sometimes gets a bit of a bad rap in the B2B sector, but the truth is, it can be an amazing source of leads. The key to content marketing success is to know your audience. Know their problems, and the questions they have, and provide the answers and solutions they’re looking for. According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of the best-performing B2B companies are hyper-focussed on their audience’s informational needs. 

Don’t limit yourself to just blogs. Find the type of content that works best for you and works best for your audience. For some, this may be online courses and webinars. For others, it may be whitepapers and other industry research. No matter what your strategy, put your audience’s needs first, and always be testing. 

How to Generate B2B Leads with Social Media

Generating leads in the biggest challenge in B2B marketing these days. Afterall, without leads, you have no clients, no revenue and no business. Without leads, your business is sunk. The obvious question then is, “how do you go about generating B2B leads?”

If you’re ready to experience true existential horror, Google that question. You’ll be greeted with so much useless drivel, you won’t even know what to do with yourself. 

  • Tweet at least five times a day
  • Engage your audience by posting motivational quotes and funny pictures
  • “Aggressively seek to incrementally maximize your intentional trade show presence for the duration of 2014 in order to garner and nurture more qualified leads.”

There’s a reason that so many B2B marketers are prone to ulcers, possibly losing their hair and having bad dreams about AdWords. Generating B2B sales leads can be an absolute nightmare. Hopefully, we’ll be able to shed some light on the process and make it just a tiny bit easier. 

TWO FACTS TO REMEMBER ABOUT B2B MARKETING

Though most of the information out there is just rehashes of the same-old, trite and unhelpful garbage, there is some helpful data. Amidst the elaborate (but useless) business jargon and banal generalities, there were some cold, hard facts. 

No one really knows where B2B leads come from.

We’ve spoken in a previous blog about this chart from HubSpot, which purports to tell us where most B2B sales leads come from. 

Hubspot lead source graph - Generating B2B Leads

You see all the things you’d usually expect – PPC, traditional advertising and social media – but there’s also a massive, mysterious spike called “other”. Supremely unhelpful. And it’s the highest bar on the entire graph. Which means, we have no clue where most leads are coming from. 

Even the smart people, who’s whole job it is to research these things, have no idea.

A lot of B2B lead generation is just consistently creating good content, constantly cultivating industry relationships, and an organic mashup of all sorts of behaviours, interactions and activities. Do enough of that, and you’ll probably get some good leads. 

So the takeaway here is to not focus on any one silver bullet. B2B lead generation is a mashup of truly unquantifiable activities and behaviours that just work. 

The digital revolution has completely changed the B2B playing field.

With the advent of the digital age, there has been a flood of new marketing techniques, and a decline in the use of old techniques. While the goal remains the same – generating leads – the way we achieve that goal is now completely different. In future blogs, we will discuss some of the best methods we’ve found for generating B2B leads, but for now we’ll focus on just one. Social media.  

USING SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGICALLY FOR GENERATING B2B LEADS

You may be thinking, “Yes, obviously we should use social media.” Unfortunately, there’s more to it than just tweeting five times a day or posting cat pictures with a link to your website. Before we get into it, though, there are two things we should mention. 

  • You can’t expect to start generating B2B leads just because you have a social presence. While it is important, it’s not inherently effective. There are some techniques for using social media as a lead generation method, but it’s not enough to just have an account on LinkedIn and post once a week.
  • On the other side of the same coin, don’t dismiss social media out of a hand as a good source of leads. While  some individuals have wrongly stated that social media is the holy grail of leads, that’s not the case either. There’s a fine balance. They say that social media is the world’s water cooler. Almost everyone is there, milling about and chatting idly. There definitely are leads for the taking.

First things first. Twitter is not effective.

Forbes in 2013 made the (unsupported) claim that “Twitter is the strongest social media channel for generating business-to-business (B2B) leads.” They gave no proof, and obliquely hinted to ‘a recent study’ which they didn’t include a link to. 

Lead generation chart from Insidesales.com - Generating B2B Leads

According to data from InsideSales.com, social media is low in effectiveness, but widely used. This is because most people are not using social media correctly. As we’ve said, they start a Facebook page or a LinkedIn company page, and post sporadically about their sales or business news. Obviously, this produces mediocre results at best. 

How Social Media Can Be Used for Generating B2B Leads

Being the water cooler of the world, social media is a perfectly good source of leads. Unfortunately, most B2B companies don’t fully harness the power of their social media platforms. They don’t see results, not because there aren’t leads there – but because they don’t take the ones that are. 

Here are a few strategic ways to effectively make use of social media as a lead generation tool:

  1. Direct people from your social media channels to your website. Having followers on your Facebook page is nice, but they’re not leads you can work with, because you don’t have their email address or another way of contacting them. For this reason, make sure to direct as many people from your social platforms to your website as possible. Make it easy for them to visit your website. Offer multiple links. Ideally, direct them to a landing page that will draw them in, and make it easy for them to give you their details. 
  2. Allow signups directly from your Facebook page. Another great way to generate leads from your social channels is to allow signups without them having to leave the platform. That way, you get their email address, and they don’t even have to leave the water cooler. 
  3. Use effective CTAs. Though social media is more of a way of life than a marketing tool, it is still a form of marketing. Make sure to include calls to action where appropriate. Though you shouldn’t post nothing but hard-sell, don’t be afraid to promote yourself, link to landing pages or suggest the next step a visitor can take. 

Just by implementing these three tips, you’ll probably see an increase in your overall lead generation. But unfortunately, it’ll probably just be a trickle. There is a way to turn the trickle into a flood, though.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn has consistently ranked the highest among social media platforms for B2B lead generation value. One look at the visual representation by Mediabistro makes this obvious:

Mediobistro research graph - Generating B2B Leads

Research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs also shows that LinkedIn is used more than any other platform by B2B marketers.

Social media is the water cooler of the world, but that means that people from all walks of life are there. That means those who are unemployed, those who are retired, or those who aren’t old enough to be in the job market yet. Conversely, LinkedIn is a gathering of only professionals. As social media platforms go, it’s the biggest and beefiest in certain terms. LinkedIn has:

  • The largest number of professionals
  • The biggest percentage of decision-makers
  • The highest per capita income per user. 

More than that, LinkedIn is viewed as a sophisticated and mature social platform. Twitter is full of porn bots, Facebook can be a hive of conspiracies, and Instagram is the realm of the “influencer”. Essentially, the kind of businesses which have B2B relationships are more likely to have a presence on LinkedIn than any other platform.

Like all other social media platforms though, having a LinkedIn presence won’t spontaneously start generating leads. There are a few things you need to do to make your LinkedIn page work as a lead generation machine. 

  • Be present and active. Each social media platform will require that you have an account, and also make use of it. Rather than let the page sit there and gather dust, get online and get active. Connect with your peers and industry professionals. Comment on their content, and post some of your own. 
  • Make sure your page is robust. Fill out all the necessary details, and make sure you’re capitalising on all the available real estate. 
  • Join LinkedIn groups. The platform has a huge variety of groups available, and you can easily find one with members who could eventually become leads. 
  • Take part in conversations. There are millions of conversations taking place on LinkedIn. Be active and join in. Not only will you be seen as an active member of your industry, you’ll open the door to new connections and more leads.
  • Look for help. Quid pro quo can go a long way towards building and solidifying professional relationships. Occasionally, asking for help is the best way to encourage a lead. You can use LinkedIn to find qualified people in your industry to help you with a project, point you in the right direction, or recommend solutions to a problem. These people can be useful leads in future.
  • Use LinkedIn’s lead collection tool. This is going the direct route, but the integrated tool allows users who come across your page to request a contact. Obviously, these are warm leads. Before using the tool, be aware that you’ll first need to open an Advertising Account, which costs money. But who said that lead generation is free? When the leads come through, you’ll be able to contact them through email or via LinkedIn

Bottom Line

Though social media has a lot of potential, it hasn’t proven particularly successful, and to see real ROI, you’ll need to have a process in place for converting these leads. You’ll also need to put in the work. Use CTAs, don’t be afraid of linking to your website, and put most of your effort in LinkedIn.

In later blog posts, we’ll discuss a few other methods for generating B2B leads. 

Is WFH Good For Gender Equality?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a major shift in the way we work. In fact, an MIT study shows that in the US, over half the pre-COVID-19 workforce is now working from home (WFH). While many believe that the move towards WFH was inevitable, the process has been rapidly accelerated. There has been plenty of media discussing the pros and cons of WFH. We’ve seen – and even published, some articles exploring topics around WFH – everything from the effects of WFH on productivity to its environmental impact.

Now, we are going to take a dive into another important issue – the effect of WFH on gender equality in the workplace. There is a lot of literature heralding  WFH and flexible hours as a weapon against gender inequality. On the contrary, there is an equal amount of research slamming WFH for widening the inequality gap. We are going to explore both sides of the argument, in an attempt to assess the true impact of WFH on women and their careers. 

When WFH Works Against Women

There is evidence to show that the socioeconomic burden of COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting women.  A South African study showed that women accounted for two-thirds of COVID-19 related job loss. Additional research, done in the UK, showed an increase in domestic violence over the pandemic. Experts attribute this to the pressures of social isolation. 

WFH Increases Motherhood Tax 

Numerous studies show that mothers earn less than both fathers and childless women. This has been aptly named ‘motherhood tax’. Motherhood tax is a global phenomenon that is proportional to the gender pay gap in a particular country. So, if there is a greater pay gap, motherhood tax is also greater. Hiring and promotional practices are an additional feeder of this phenomenon. Many companies weed out mothers and those who plan to become mothers in the hiring process. From personal experience during job interviews, prospective employers often ask if I plan to have children in the next five years. 

WFH and Childcare

When adults were sent home from work to protect them against the coronavirus, children were also sent home. Over 290 million children are out of school. These statistics don’t include children who are no longer able to go to early childhood development centres like crechès and playschools. 

In many cultures, women are traditionally shoulder domestic duties and childcare. Furthermore, moms that rely on work-related child care services are now no-longer able to do so.  This is not to say that men don’t contribute to child care, only that in many households the burden falls solely on the mother. So, not only is your average working mom trying to adapt to WFH, but she has an increased childcare burden.

Under pressure to finish the academic year, many schools have created an at-home syllabus. This puts excess pressure on the mother to facilitate the learning environment. Particularly true for younger children who need help reading and interpreting their school work. 

Relating this back to motherhood tax,  when in a WFH scenario moms have great strains on their time and thus have compromised productivity compared to their counterparts. This decrease in productivity may result in a decrease in potential earning if the mom is working in a no-work, no-pay situation. 

Breaking Into The ‘Boys’ Club’

Women and other minority groups are often excluded from critical networking opportunities, informal decision making processes, and informal mentorship and feedback. Often, business deals made on the golf course or informal feedback given over drinks can play a massive role in furthering one’s career development. The concern with WFH is that the lack of face-to-face time might increase this type of exclusion. 

When one analyses managerial positions among the genders, this effect is clear.  Studies show that women are 21% less likely to get promoted into a managerial position than men. Additionally, women are less likely to get hired directly into these positions. Taken together this results in women holding a mere 38% of manager-level positions. Putting this in perspective, studies show that only  23% of women are happy with their career trajectory.  

When WFH Works For Women

The What Women Want Report 2020 showed that an overwhelming 98% of women would like to have more flexible work arrangements and would like to WFH at least one day per week. While 69% said that they would like to achieve a better work life balance. WFH does allow the individual more control over their daily schedule. This is integral to all workers, particularly parents. 

Here, I’ll digress with another personal story. A friend of mine, a young single mother was doing her internship in a psychology clinic. She asked her boss if she could leave thirty minutes early on a Thursday to fetch her son from school, she was told that she would have to take a full days leave in order to do so. When she tried to negotiate, she was promptly told that if she didn’t like it, she could leave. 

This teaches us an important lesson. Flexibility doesn’t necessarily mean wanting to to set your own hours or even to WFH, it means basic understanding from supervisors. A WFH environment with no support, encouragement, or understanding is not a flexible environment. 

Additionally, the strain of childcare on WFH moms is higher now during the pandemic than it will be in the future. Once children return to school and early-childhood development centres re-open, alot albeit not all of the pressures will normalise. 

After analysis of the various articles  I’ve cited, as well as my experiences as a woman in the workplace, I believe that many mothers would choose to WFH – despite the possible repercussions of slowed career development. Choosing between picking up your child from school and quitting your job is not something anyone should have to do. Having the freedom of movement allowed by WFH might seem a fair trade-off for a potentially slowed career trajectory. In essence, one is making the choice between a possibility and a tangible need.

What Can We Do To Improve WFH Gender Equality?

A WFH environment doesn’t necessarily mean an inequitable one. If we are aware of the types of exclusion that can happen in a WFH environment, we can prevent them. Here are some important changes companies can make to ensure an equitable WFH program:

1. Representation In Leadership Positions

Adequately represent minority groups in your top leadership positions. At Goodman Lantern, our ethnically diverse leadership team is 50% female.

2. Equal-Work-Equal-Pay

PayeEmployees of equal rank and experience at the same rate regardless of the gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. At Goodman Lantern, we have two methods of working out payment. Our managers and tech teams are paid on a per-hour rate that is based on position and experience. Our content team is paid on a per-project basis which is based on respective length and difficulty.

3. Equal training and mentoring

Grant all team members the same access to mentorship and training programs. In the WFH scenario, inclusive social gatherings are an important part of facilitating employee networking. Social events such as Zoom ‘pub-quizzes’ are a favourite among the Goodman Lantern team.  

4. Avoid having two tiers of employees

Allowing your WFH employees to become second-class citizens compared to your in-office staff, is a dangerous game. This can particularly affect working mothers, as they are more likely to elect to WFH. Treat all workers equally, give them the same opportunities, and pay them according to the same scale. 

WFH can either stunt or progress gender equality in a given company. If we are to get it right, we need to be aware of possible problems, and try to address them before they crop up. Most importantly, we need to ask the women in our workplaces what they need to achieve. The future is here, and she is female.

Digital Sharecropping: A Native English Content Writers’ Perspective

So you’ve decided to invest some time, effort, and budget into your business’s online presence.

You’ve heard that social media is the way to go. While social media can play a big part in your marketing strategy, you need to be careful of one thing…digital sharecropping.

It’s easy for any business to fall victim to digital sharecropping because there’s an alarmingly low amount of awareness about it. Native English content writers in the industry know all too much about this shortfall. In fact, we think it’s high time that everyone gets a better idea of what digital sharecropping is and how best to avoid it.

Here’s what our native English content writers think about digital sharecropping and some advice on what not to do.

person holding black DSLR camera

What is Digital Sharecropping?

The term ‘digital sharecropping’ was first used by the author Nicholas Carr. He used it to describe a common occurrence on the Web 2.0 (today’s internet). Being one of the knowledgeable native English content writers in the industry, he said:

 “One of the fundamental economic characteristics of Web 2.0 is the distribution of production into the hands of the many and the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few.”

Simply put, the more content that’s put onto free platforms, the more valuable those platforms become. So, the more you add to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. the richer you’re making them. To make matters more unfair, once you publish that content on the platform, it no longer belongs to you, even if you’ve created it.

The reason it’s called digital sharecropping is that it draws parallels to a form of agriculture called sharecropping. With this system, those who farm the land don’t actually own it. Instead, they work the land that is owned by a larger entity and receive a small portion of the profits of their labour.

So, if you imagine that Facebook is the landowner, your business would be the farmer doing the actual work. You work the ‘land’, producing content that brings traffic and attention to the site. What our native English content writers hate most about this is that, even after the effort, your content no longer belongs to you once it’s online. And, yes, you may get some customer interest out of it, but you have little control of what happens to it once it’s on there.

How We Can Tell if You’re Guilty of Digital Sharecropping

Our team native English content writers will tell you to stay far away from digital sharecropping. But that’s easier said than done. How do you even know if that’s what you’re doing?

The horrible truth is that tons of businesses are victims of digital sharecropping without even knowing it. For those that use PR teams and media managers that aren’t native English content writers, this is a travesty. Their teams should know better. But, alas, when you make content for so many different platforms, it’s easy to lose track and forget about who actually owns that content. It’s easy to assume that it’s still yours.

Here are some questions that our team of native English content writers use to determine their level of digital sharecropping:

  1. Is the content credited to me?

  2. Am I able to control when, where, and how my content is displayed?

  3. Can I say when my content is deleted, edited, or taken offline?

  4. Can I download or archive my content from the site it’s on?

If the answer to the question above is “no”, then you’re probably digital sharecropping. Yikes.

What’s SO Bad About Digital Sharecropping Anyway?

Unless, like us, you’re one of the native English content writers that understand the ins and outs of digital sharecropping, you may not see the downside. Sure, your content brings in money for the social media site. And sure, you may not have control over the content once it’s posted. What’s the harm in all that? You’re still getting your name out there, right? While that may be true, it’s not always for the best.


digital sharecropping good or bad

You need to remember that there is a difference between having a well-rounded marketing strategy and relying on a platform to do your marketing for you. It’s the latter that we want to avoid. Native English content writers in the marketing industry will tell you that it’s important to use all kinds of social media to promote your business. It’s a great way to engage with your audience and promote your business. But, you should be doing more than just that.

Here’s why our native English content writers think you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket:

Platforms Come and Go Overnight

When was the last time you thought about Vine, the video-sharing platform? Crazy to think it was once the most popular video-sharing platform out there. And then, it disappeared overnight.

Websites and third-party platforms can lose popularity quickly for various reasons. So, if you’re investing significant amounts of time, energy, and money into one of these platforms, you stand to lose a lot if it goes bust.

The scariest part of all is that there’s little way to tell when the ship might sink. You’re taking a huge gamble on the platform doing well. If it does start to lose popularity, you’ll have fewer eyes on your content and your reach will start to dwindle. This is our native English content writers’ collective nightmare.

There’s No Customisation

Unless you own the platform, there’s little room for creative control of your content. Our team of native English content writers often bemoan the fact that there’s a word limit for posts – unless you buy more characters. But, it goes further than this.

What if your business uses outstanding photos as part of its marketing. These platforms often compress the images, taking away the impact. And, if you use video content, your videos have to meet certain requirements to be shown. I can hear the rest of our team of native English content writers cringing from here!

On the topic of videos, platforms like Facebook will place ads on them. While this brings in revenue, you have no control over the types of ads they use. What if the ad doesn’t align with your brand? What if it’s an ad for your competitors’ products?

Ultimately, relying solely on these platforms leads to a compromise in terms of quality and originality of content. For our native English content writers, quality comes before everything.

It’s Out of Your Hands

Our native English content writers know all too well that, once your content is posted, it’s out of your hands. You’re at the mercy of the platform. If they suddenly decide to change their policy, and your content doesn’t adhere to it, you get the boot. No warning, no time to change.

This is particularly true of platforms that use algorithms to promote content. If your content isn’t in line with the policy, it won’t be shown as often as you hope. It goes even further, to the point where a platform can suspend your page/content altogether. You have little recourse in the matter.

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

By now, you may be thinking that our native English content writers hate all social media platforms. This is not the case. We just know how detrimental digital sharecropping can be to a business. Social media platforms are fantastic when used as part of a greater social media marketing strategy. It shouldn’t, however, be the bulk of your digital marketing efforts.

This is why it’s so important to have a team of professional content marketers on your side, especially if they involve our native English content writers. With their help, you should be able to steer clear of digital sharecropping.

What Other Options Do I Have?

So, say you’ve taken our native English content writers’ advice and decided to avoid digital sharecropping. What kind of solutions do you have?

  • Firstly, you need to make sure that your website is up to scratch. After all, this is where your potential customers are going to be looking. Make sure that your website is professionally designed, optimised for SEO purposes, and is mobile friendly.

  • Secondly, start posting content to your website. This can be in the form of videos, blogs, or infographics. Whatever you choose, you’ll be the one that owns it. This means that you have full control over when and how it’s posted, and how it’s distributed. Your content will be completely customised to suit your standards. Our team of native English content writers can be a great help with this part.

  • Finally, build your brand on your own terms. Seeing as you’re no longer beholden to the whims of the platform execs, you can decide how you want your brand to work. You get to choose how you advertise and who you partner with.

Don’t Say Goodbye to Social Media Just Yet

Your website is great on its own, but it would be silly to discredit how powerful social media is. Simply for the fact that so many people use it every day. As part of your marketing plan, it’s a great idea to use social media posts to promote your content. That way, you’re getting the best of both worlds.

The goal in this instance is to use those platforms to drive traffic to your site. So, instead of relying on the site for all the information they need, your customers will find you on there and rely on your own website instead.

A great way to make sure you’re hitting a good balance is to write a blog for your website, then post a summary of the blog to the social media site. Make sure to link the blog so that people can keep reading if they’re interested. This is where our native English content writers can make things much easier for you.

How Goodman Lantern’s Native English Content Writers Can Help You

Hopefully, you’ve got a better understanding of what digital sharecropping is and how to avoid it. But, our native English content writers know that understanding and implementation are two different things. That’s why it’s better to choose well-versed, knowledgeable native English content writers to do the job for you. That’s us!

With a deep understanding of language, phrasing, and nuance, our native English content writers can help you produce excellent content. And, with an allergy to digital sharecropping, they’ll make sure your content remains yours and yours alone.

Our team of native English content writers can help you avoid the dreaded digital sharecropping. Contact us today!

Copywriting vs SEO Content Writing Service: What's the Difference?

Copywriting and SEO content writing – you’ve heard of them both but are they really different?

Which one is more important for your business?

Should you invest in an SEO content writing service?

Or should you focus on a copywriting service instead?

Here’s the quick answer: They’re two sides of the same coin. You need BOTH.

person holding ballpoint pen writing on notebook

The Two Crucial Branches of Content Marketing

SEO writing and copywriting, when implemented correctly, will help you reach, engage, and convert your leads into customers.

Some marketers will tell you that these two types of content development are the same thing. Others will tell you that you only need one and not the other.

The simple fact is this:
Sometimes the two overlap but there are some distinct differences to be aware of.

SEO writing and copywriting, combined, are the foundations of content marketing. It’s the differences in delivery that set them apart from one another.

You might want to tell precisely the same story to different people but your delivery will be different.

Consider a real-life example:

When telling your friend what you did over the weekend vs telling a colleague, you’re not going to choose the same words. You might also include or exclude a few juicy tidbits, depending on your relationship with your “audience”.

The same applies to content marketing. SEO writing is reserved for one audience while copywriting is reserved for another.

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting helps build brand awareness and motivates consumers towards a particular call to action – usually a purchase or a sign-up. Copywriting is usually persuasive.

Copywriting is suited to a wide variety of different content marketing projects, taking on many forms including:

  • Emails

  • Web pages

  • Landing pages

  • Video/audio scripts

  • Advertising copy

goodman lantern copywriting service

What are the Main Elements of Good Copywriting?

  1. Targeted
    Copywriters need to develop copy that targets a specific audience. The content needs to address a particular problem or pain point in that target group while making sure to present the brand as a solution. There’s a need to understand the psychology of the target audience; learning to subtly push the right buttons.

  2. Emotionally Appealing
    Copywriting needs to elicit an emotional response from the reader. It’s all about the art of knowing which words to use and which words to leave out. Copywriters use their words to create an experience for the reader.

The key to solid copywriting lies in a) developing audience personas and b) knowing how to hook the reader.

What is SEO Content Writing?

SEO is the big, confusing elephant in the room for so many people.

SEO writing, or on-page SEO, focuses on developing textual content that is both search engine and reader-friendly.

The main mistake people make when crafting this type of content is worrying too much about the search engines and forgetting about the real-life human they need to target. That’s often where a professional SEO content writing service comes in.

SEO writing is only successful if you avoid the following:

  • Keyword stuffing

  • Cloaking

  • Buying backlinks

Effective SEO content is both informative and user friendly. It should be scannable, consumable, and easily discoverable.

What are the Key Components of SEO Writing?

  1. Keyword Research
    When conducting keyword research, an SEO writer hunts for words that people search for in relation to your product or service. These words (or phrases) are used to map out a clever strategy for your content. More often than not, these keywords will be used to answer a specific question that readers are asking or to address prevalent thoughts/opinions the audience might have.

  2. A “Readers First” Attitude
    Newbie SEO writers will target search engines with their content. Professional writers know that people come first. Yes, it is important to make content crawlable by inserting keywords. But that doesn’t mean neglecting the reader’s experience. Google ranks content based on user intent and how much time is spent on a particular page. Additionally, good content is always shared by readers – this results in tons of backlinks and, ultimately, higher discoverability.

Differences and Similarities Between Copywriting and SEO Content Writing

The main goal of copywriting and SEO writing is:
to hook, engage, and convert leads.

That’s the one big similarity.

While both disciplines have the same goal, they approach them differently.

So What’s the Difference?

There are two major differences worth noting: consumption and target audience.

  1. Consumption
    SEO writing meets the audience on a webpage, while copywriting may meet them anywhere else. SEO writing can be found in long-form content like articles and blog posts, seeking to answer questions. Copywriting happens in a specific brand voice and is related directly to the selling of your product/service.

  2. Audience
    SEO writing is for people who are at the top of the funnel. It’s for people who are looking for solutions to a problem or answers to a question. Copywriting is aimed at warm leads who are already leaning towards buying.

What’s the Benefit of a Professional SEO Content Writing Service?

Marketers often resort to “black hat techniques” to pump out their version of SEO-optimised content.

Unfortunately, without the skills required to craft impactful content, these pieces are often keyword-stuffed and badly structured.

The latest Google algorithm updates prevent lacklustre content from ranking. You need solid, well-written content packed full of value if you want to succeed at the SEO game.

An SEO content writing service is backed by experienced writers who know when to tug at the audience’s heartstrings and when not to. They know which keywords will work and which won’t. Ultimately, they’ll guide you towards content marketing strategy that will work for you.