Content marketing is all the rage. Enabled by digital technology and positioned as an effective and efficient marketing strategy, particularly for B2B brands, it increasingly forms the foundation for many inbound and account-based marketing initiatives.
Content marketing machines do, however, need feeding with a steady stream of high-quality, relevant and engaging material. Case studies, research, comment on industry trends, or just an interesting story that brings together your “solution” with a broader interest. Multiple formats including words, graphics, images and video delivered across a range of channels from social media to live events help to appeal to audiences with different information preferences, but the key factor is the story. How can you tell your story in a relevant, fresh and repeatable manner that will resonate to the various personas in your target audience?
Content marketing and sponsorship! Now there’s an idea! An appropriate sponsorship is a great way to provide on-going material to fuel the machine to engage and grow your audience.
What is an appropriate sponsorship? Several criteria apply. The standout factor for the most successful sponsorships, certainly in the B2B space is relevance and authenticity. Is the partnership providing some kind of showcase for your products or services? Is this showcase credible in the eyes of your audience? For anything apart from a sponsorship motivated by pure brand awareness, these are ultimately more important than the size or demographic of the addressable audience. What is more, people will engage with a credible and relevant theme whether they are regular fans or have not even heard of whatever you have partnered with.
Of course, content marketing and sponsorship are both powerful marketing strategies in their own right. When combined, the two provide a multiplication or leverage that sends ROI rocketing as long as you have followed the guidelines above. You might have a great story to tell about your technology solution that enhances the fan experience such as IBM at the tennis Grand Slams. Perhaps your offering enables the participants to perform better as demonstrated by multiple data-centric partnerships in F1 and motorsport, sailing, rugby, football and just about every other sport. Maybe you simply provide a better, faster, cheaper, more convenient or more efficient way of putting on the show, such as the partnership between Tata Communications and F1, where they are delivering a digital transformation that includes the connectivity and content delivery network to enable remote live multi-channel, multi-screen broadcasts, reducing cost and meeting the viewing preferences of different audiences.
Whatever your solution, embedding it into a meaningful sponsorship and leveraging this through your content marketing programme will provide a far bigger return than either approach on a standalone basis.