Content Marketing in B2B - why is it all about experts?
Marketing yourself, a business or a product via meaningful content is a main aspect of social media. Yet to understand it, you have to step back and rethink marketing. Content marketing is not about a quick sale or special offer - it is about creating a reputation and establishing thought leadership and expertise, though the end result can also be to generate new business and sales. The goal of sustaining long-term interaction with the audience is different to classical marketing and makes content marketing highly interesting in business-to-business (B2B), where relationships and business transactions strongly depend on expertise and specialized knowledge.
Why is being regarded as an expert so important?
Businesses need people from outside the company to contribute to their establishment sooner or later. It can be small, however some issues that require outside attention are very important to the future success of the company. It is always hard for business people to rely on ‘outsiders’ to complete important tasks, so if they have to work with other people or businesses they would much rather do that with people who know their business model well: experts.
Who is regarded as an expert - and how can everybody be one?
Everybody in business is an expert in his or her own field - if they are not, they should probably think about changing their profession or further developing their desired career. The important thing is to make people see what you excel in and make them trust your expertise. This is not done by simply stating you are an expert, but rather by showing knowledge, experience and understanding.
Note: The best way to show expertise is by doing an excellent job and having happy customers and business partners spread this message. (This is how your personal network works for your business.)
However, to show expertise outside your personal network, you have to put in a bit more effort: for example, by talking or writing about your expertise. This is large part of content marketing, where creating content establishing you as a thought leader (in other words, an expert).
Write about your knowledge, tell about projects you have done, let people know about the challenges you have faced and how you dealt with them, give advice and help. If you get this right, the readers of your content will believe you are an expert in your field. Keep in mind what is obvious in offline relationships: it is not so much about telling people you are an expert but proving it by providing information that only an expert can give.
How to find and be found as an expert?
Google is certainly a helpful tool to search for many things on the web, but it does not help find experts in business. Being listed on the first page in Google shows you got your SEO right; to be convinced you are an expert, people need more information about you and your business.
To be located and deemed an expert, you must find a way to get your knowledgeable content into a place where people are looking for an expert in your field. There are different ways to do this.
You can build and write your own blog, though this will take time and you will have to become familiar with SEO on your own. You can also publish in specialized magazines or guest post in blogs. This will give you instant visibility for the time the post is fresh. It will, however, be difficult to get all of your posts visible together, making it harder to show an extensive expert profile via a complete collection of articles. You can also build a social media following. This will give your content more exposure, but also take time to build; it is very hard to target people browsing for an expert at any given time, as the need for an expert is often a time sensitive issue.
These are only several reasons why there is a specific need for a specialized B2B content based network, where you can find the experts you are looking for when you need them and create an extensive expert profile based on content you publish.