everything to know about content marketing and the b2b buyer journey

How do you think your potential customers are finding out about your company? 

Well, at least 72% are doing so via Google. 

That’s right: Today’s customers rely on content more than ever before. With 72 percent of buyers using Google during the “awareness” stage, brands need a strong content strategy if they’re going to attract new customers and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Content marketing is critical for B2B brands in order to: 

  • Increase visibility 
  • Improve search engine ranking
  • Attract new customers
  • Guide existing customers through the sales funnel or purchase journey
  • Tell your brand’s story

How does content marketing with Zen Media work? 

When you work with Zen, we’ll begin our B2B content marketing engagement by creating a detailed content map, matching content to each stage of the purchasing journey. 

We’ll also create content to match each of your buyer personas. By anticipating your buyers’ questions, understanding the information they’ll want and need, and knowing their pain points, our team can craft content that keeps buyers moving forward along the customer journey. 

And it’s not just the content team working for you when you sign on with us. Our content strategists work closely with our SEO team to ensure every piece of content we deliver is optimized and search engine-friendly. 

The Dark Social Model

The content that your brand creates—blogs, whitepapers, ebooks, podcasts, infographics, and more—affects the buyer’s journey even if you can’t visibly track the metrics. 

Your owned media works in conjunction with paid, earned, and shared media to increase your B2B brand’s share of voice and get it in front of as many people who need what you sell as possible.

Because of dark social, your content may not get the public engagement you want for your brand, but interactions are still occurring through various private communication channels, word of mouth, emails, DMs, text messages, and so on.

dark social model

The journey from trigger to the purchase decision-making is not a linear process because the way buyers shop and communicate has evolved. They are consuming content on social platforms and sharing that information through channels we can’t control. However, with our roots in social media, Zen knows how to strategically connect those private conversations to larger stories and digital campaigns that can be measured for your brand.  

From blog posts to long-form articles, webinars to podcasts, and whitepapers to ebooks, Zen Media can help you craft the ideal content strategy to meet your brand goals.

everything to know about sales-enabled pr

You know traditional PR: It’s all about getting hits, especially in conventional media outlets. It focuses on top-of-funnel integrations—not that most communications-only PR firms understand what that means—and is completely divorced from the sales process.

But sales-enabled PR? The Zen Media way? That’s all about locking in hits and using them as a springboard for your brand—like a motocross biker hitting a jump at just the right angle. Sales-enabled PR blends PR efforts into every level of the sales funnel and focuses on tangible business outcomes, not just press placements. 

What is Sales-Enabled PR?

So let’s break it down. Sales enablement refers to the process of supplying sales reps with the appropriate tools and resources to foster sales. And PR is focused on managing the relationship between an organization and the public. When we combine the two, we can make a lasting impact while building brand equity. We can use PR wins to enable a faster, more successful sales pipeline. Sales-enabled PR is in it for the long haul. Uninterested in just one single press hit, sales-enabled PR creates demand, nurtures leads, and drives revenue by intertwining PR throughout the entire sales cycle.

How do we do it? Simple.

How We Execute Sales-Enabled PR

Amplify and Repurpose

We still celebrate the initial press hit, but it doesn’t stop there: We keep climbing. Traditional PR sees a spike in visibility and traffic for a brand just after the press hit, but it fizzles out shortly after. With sales-enabled PR, the press hit is just the beginning of what strategic public relations can offer your brand. We can grow that hit to new heights by amplifying and repurposing it across a multi-channel marketing campaign.

Integrating social media with PR is imperative for success. First comes amplification. It is likely publication featuring your press hit will share it on its social media, and if it doesn’t, its audience will. But we can take that a step further by sharing the initial hit with our social media audiences as well.

Additionally, we can parcel out pieces of the press hit—quotes from your brand’s CEO, important statistics, poignant facts about your brand—and create owned content from them. By creating multiple pieces of owned content per press hit, we can bring the press hit’s spike to new heights and keep it lasting longer. Since press begets press, this keeps your brand in front of an audience, increasing visibility and ultimately growing share of voice. 

Related post: Why Social Media Marketing Matters for B2B

Integrate Earned Media

In addition to amplifying and repurposing a press hit, we can integrate earned media into every facet of the sales funnel. By sharing press hits directly with prospects in interesting and informative ways, we can ensure that leads, especially those at the bottom of the funnel, have plenty of reasons to convert. 

Since we are doing PR in the Modern Age, we know that press hits go beyond major media publications to include business leaders and social influencers, podcast hosts, niche industry media, and more. Nearly any positive public recognition published by a source other than your own brand can count as earned media these days—and we can use all of those hits during connections with prospects. (After all, sales-enabled PR knows that social media means people are the media now, too.) 

One way to accomplish this without seeming pushy is to integrate your earned media into email campaigns throughout the sales cycle. For prospects at the top of the funnel, you can share light-hearted, engaging B2B content—like brief video clips from interviews, audio clips from podcasts, or snippets in articles. For those in the middle of the funnel, you can share news as it relates to your industry at large, showcasing earned media that highlights how your brand helps companies like theirs overcome their greatest pain points.

And for prospects at the bottom of the funnel, you want to share content that converts. Linking your press hit as a “by the way” in an email is a casual way to show precisely the value you bring to the table. Sharing earned media from business influencers can be the tipping point for conversion. The idea that “If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us” can be a powerful tool when leveraging earned media. 

Related Post: How PR Can Revenue for Your Business

Leverage Dark Social

Dark social is where about 82% of social media conversations and sharing actually take place, according to a 2016 study by RadiumOne. That percentage was less than 50% in 2014, so we can imagine where it is now. Before we can leverage dark social, we must get comfortable with the idea that it is mostly an untrackable space—hence the darkness. Unfortunately, dark social is where most of the buyer’s journey takes place, but once we understand we can’t expect detailed data from that part of their journey, we can move towards leveraging that in your brand’s favor.

Brands can begin to embrace dark social by meeting their audience where they are at and doubling down on conversational content. Having a presence on dark social—like running a Discord chat for your brand, for example—is one way to infiltrate the space. Social media is an informal place, but dark social is personable. Real conversations between friends, family, and colleagues happen here. So sharing engaging, conversational content, like a poll or interactive video, gives your audience a chance to simultaneously engage with it and their peers. And, you guessed it, using PR hits to create that kind of content is key to the longevity of the hit. 

Broaden Your Audience

Sales-enabled PR accounts for all stakeholders, whether they’re customers, employees, media, or investors. Ensuring your content—earned or owned—is highly relatable and relevant to an audience beyond your leads is modern PR done right. Accounting for the interests and needs of current customers, engaged employees, news-searching media outlets, and investors expecting a return seems like a no-brainer. But in traditional B2B PR, the focus is lead generation and sales conversation.

Sales-enabled PR broadens that perspective to include touchpoints that make your existing customers want to return, keep your employees and investors happy, and create newsworthy content (rather than waiting for it to appear). 

Related Post: How PR Impacts the Sales Funnel

At Zen Media, our process includes getting to know you so well that we can easily integrate into your team. Our knowledge helps us plan a full strategy that includes locking in press opportunities, writing stellar and accurate articles (so you don’t have to), and amplifying your win to increase reach. Want to climb with us? Reach out.