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One great way to market your business is to position your company as an industry leader by developing and sharing unique content. Content marketing has become very popular in recent years, thanks in part to the advent of social media and online marketing. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute found that nine out of 10 marketers surveyed at the end of 2012 were using content marketing to promote their brand, with plans to do even more content marketing in 2013. B2B marketers are spending about 33 percent of their marketing budgets on content marketing, up 26 percent from last year. And most of them (54 percent) plan to increase their content marketing spending over the next year.

But B2B marketers also said that the most difficult challenge they faced in 2012 was producing enough content. Part of your content marketing should be re-posting articles or information from websites and news sources, but it's also important to create custom content to set your brand apart. So, I'm going to outline some ways that you can develop unique content to promote your brand.

Developing custom content
Small businesses shouldn't feel overwhelmed by the need to create content. Instead, sit down, strategize and figure out which content will work best for you. 

  • News articles: They're fairly simple to develop and are easily shared across different social media platforms. Figure out what kinds of topics you want to focus on based on your current customer and target customer base. Then find the websites, publications or data relevant to those markets and use that information as a launching point to develop your own custom news articles. 
  • EBooks: This is something we recently did at Fonality. Our eBook, "Putting Unified Communications to Work for You," focuses on how services like our Fonality On-Premise Business Phone Systems can help businesses do their work better. This kind of content is more in-depth (10+ pages) than others, so it should be viewed as a long-term project. Make sure that in addition to explanatory text, you incorporate compelling graphics. This kind of content can be a great way to position your business as an expert and is a great tool to have when describing your product to prospective clients.
  • Case studies: These are especially useful in B2B when you're trying to establish the usefulness of your product or service in a particular market. Trying to attract engineers to use your equipment monitoring devices? Then set up a case study and describe how an engineering plant could use your devices to better monitor the performance of their machines and prevent systems from failing. This can be a really effective way to target niche markets and explain how your product works.
  • Videos: A lot of companies balk at the thought of creating a video because it sounds overwhelming, expensive and complicated! But the truth is, smartphones and other handheld video cameras have made the process very straightforward. These devices work great for creating short videos that you may want to post on your social media feeds or websites. A short video about your product, service, company or even a video testimonial from a customer are all great things to be able to share with your online community.

These are just a few types of original content your company can create, but there are many more. Get creative, see what your customers respond to and adjust accordingly.