Content marketing is getting too big—at least from a research-and-writing perspective. I was flooded with—and floored by—cool ideas, sharp insights, and innovative approaches while researching an article on the topic for DMN. In fact, I could only include a sliver of what I learned in that feature-length piece.
Because content marketing is poised for continued growth in the coming years, I’ll be doubling down on my own research of the emerging discipline in 2015. One area I’ll be paying closer attention to is the business-to-business (B2B) realm.
I recently spoke with Ben Rand, manager of content marketing for Xerox Corporation, about why the B2B company’s digital magazine Real Business is worth clicking. Here’s a summary of Xerox’s content marketing strategy broken down into four key elements:
Approach: Xerox’s content marketing is designed to build advocacy for the transformation of the company’s brand—from printer and copier manufacturer to a “leader in business services,” Rand says. Real Business is the centerpiece of the content marketing effort. The site’s editorial content targets business decision-makers with “sharp insight, bold thinking, practical solutions and new ideas” in four primary areas: customer care, healthcare, human resource services, and transportation, Rand explains.
Tone: Xerox steers clear of any editorial content that resembles, even slightly, a sales pitch. The headlines are as catchy as those in any top consumer print magazine: “Fantasy Football Makes You Better at Your Job (Really),” “Could We Be Living in a Virtual World and Not Know It,” and “Why Learning a Language Could Save Your Career.” The underlying goal of the content is to serve as a utility for readers.
Measurement: While the content marketing team tracks typical metrics (e.g., views), they’re just as focused on monitoring one-to-one engagement. For example, a Real Business article or video that generates a conversation on LinkedIn is considered extremely valuable. The team also carefully manages the quality of content and considers the fact that PR professionals routinely pitch Real Business as much as they do traditional consumer and B2B outlets a positive sign.
Risk Management: The biggest risk Real Business editors monitor is impractical content. The team wants every piece of content to provide some utility to its audience. So, running the site like a traditional newsroom with a rigorous editorial process helps ensure that each article, video, and infographic offers value and insight.
“We’ll be looking to inform and educate our customers as they tackle these large shifts in how they do business,” Rand says. “The goal is to change perceptions around the Xerox brand so people understand that we’re a global leader in technology-driven services.”