The B2B Content Opportunity

Content marketing is top-of-mind for all marketers, not just those that sell directly to consumers.

Take Mercer, the human resource giant with $3.8 billion in annual revenue last year. It is using content marketing to differentiate itself. The company’s content strategy is built on its MThink corporate blog, which aims to help HR executives make business decisions. The blog is updated two to three times a week with stories around employer-related news like employers dealing with skyrocketing health-care costs.

By solidifying itself as a thought-leader about HR-related topics like healthcare, long-term benefits and workforce readiness, Mercer hopes to build deeper relationships with businesses and increase it revenue in the long run. Steven Faigen, a partner at Mercer, believes that content is crucial for B2B, but companies need to be ready to produce high-quality content, fast, which is something his firm has been struggling with.

Have you figured out social media yet?
Social media takes a lot of territory. We have gotten better at it. We clearly are doing more on our Twitter feed and have set up LinkedIn pages in various parts of the world. Like a lot of professional service providers, we are learning as we are going.

Why is content so important?
In our business, thought leadership is the primary way to differentiate in the marketplace. And the well has to be refreshed at a frequent interval to maintain that. We learned that success in social media is the fact that our content gets shared. People are retweeting our content and the media picks up our infographics. There are social principles involved in our content [hub] MThink. We started it from scratch last year and have grown it to 18,000 subscribers.

Content keeps coming up. Brands have always created content. How is it different now?
Brands have created content, broadly speaking. But, the bar has been raised in terms of the channels to distribute and the way content is developed and shaped. We are seeing that a one-size-fits-all content strategy is not appropriate. Even though our clients are the same, they have very different content needs over the course of their day and they have the need to look at things in a variety of ways. We develop content platforms to meet the dynamic and shifting needs people have.

How has content marketing faired for you thus far?
We know, for example, that folks that subscribe to MThink are more engaged in our other marketing assets. All of that interest is captured in a system where we score and produce leads for following up. This has been an impactful and efficient way to get qualified marketing leads. I think our content is a catalyst for a lot of our business. Much of the content we provide is the tip of the iceberg for other, deeper information and insight we have on a particular topic. The aggregate of people’s activities is a good way to see their level of interest.

What’s your biggest challenge with creating good content for a B2B audience?
Clients demand a high level of both frequency and quality of thought leadership. This makes the equation complex. It’s a challenge to figure out the type of insights and information that they expect and in what form.

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