"Content marketing" is the all the rage among today's B2B marketers, along with the overused phrase "content is king." But for those of us who live and breathe this stuff, we know that a good deal of it is really good public relations.
A March 2014 study by Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab looked at three types of content—branded (company-generated) content, user reviews, and third-party expert content. Hands down, the expert content had the most impact on buyers throughout the purchasing cycle, the study found.
Why? The implied endorsement of third-party experts holds much more weight to consumers than anything a company can say about itself.
B2B marketers should take a page out of the B2C playbook, and actively seek out such experts. Before exploring the realm of third-party reviews, let's take a quick look at both branded content and user reviews. They, too, can help build your content kingdom.
Branded Content and User Reviews
A perfect example of branded content is the Nielsen/inPowered study I mentioned, which was widely quoted in the business media.
inPowered offers a content marketing platform, and publishing an industry report with a respected research firm helps to elevate its thought leadership status. And I'm a perfect example of a third party indirectly promoting the company by referencing its research.
Other examples of branded content include e-books, webinars, blogs, infographics, and more.
Philip (Phil) Paranicas is director of new product development at ThomasNet.com. He is responsible for creating new products and services that support ThomasNet's mission of helping bring buyers together with sellers. Reach him via email@example.com.
LinkedIn: Phil Paranicas