Is content marketing a smart move for your geospatial business?
Content marketing can increase awareness, interest, and consideration from your company’s ideal customers or clients without breaking the bank. It’s also a great way to stand out from the competition and give your audience the information they need to confidently choose your business.
Getting started with content marketing doesn’t require a large team or expertise. Instead, it requires planning, follow-through, and collaboration with other teams in the organisation.
Take a deeper dive into what content marketing is, why it’s an important part of geospatial marketing, and how you can tackle future content marketing projects that will make you into a superstar!
What Is Content Marketing?
Content? And Marketing? Put simply, content marketing is planning, creating, and sharing content that benefits your audience while also supporting those big old fat juicy business goals. This content can have several objectives such as teaching, entertaining, providing an offer, or differentiating you from competitors. Oooh, tell me more! Plez!
You may be asking why you need content marketing if you’re already focusing on marketing efforts in other areas like social media or email. Here’s the reason: most geospatial companies operate in the B2B space (or businesses selling to other businesses), and B2B buyers love content! In fact, B2B buyers will look at about 13 pieces of content during the buying process – “really, Elaine?” – and most of that content comes from the product or service provider as opposed to a third party.
In the geospatial industry, creating content can be complex since a company’s audience can include potential customers with different levels of technical knowledge. For instance, a technology provider like TopoDOT, a point cloud processing company that sells software to surveyors, would have an audience made of geospatial experts and non-experts. This creates a unique challenge for geospatial marketers as they plan their content projects and decide who to write for. It can be overwhelming and mind-boggling, to say the least!
The Basics of Content Marketing Operations
Content marketing is nothing new. Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi published a timeline of early examples of content marketing going back to Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1732. The almanac gave farmers helpful and entertaining information like weather forecasts and puzzles while also promoting Franklin’s printing business.
Just like historic examples of content marketing, modern content marketing should provide value to the audience while supporting the business. Although the right content can provide a high return on investment (ROI) for businesses, creating it doesn’t have to be complicated. Instead, think about it in three simple parts: strategy, creation, and analytics.
Content strategy simply refers to your marketing plan for content. Set the goals you want your content to accomplish and create a plan for achieving them. For example, if you work for a surveying company, then one of the company’s goals for the year could be to increase awareness locally about your services. You could aim to do that by posting regularly on your company’s blog.
As part of your content strategy, you would plan a content calendar detailing when to post and what topics to cover. Then, you’d determine which metrics to use to measure your success. You could set goals for the number of page views and time spent on the page to determine content performance.
Whether you focus on blogging, creating YouTube videos, hosting webinars, or other content, making a plan is essential.
This is the fun part! Start creating the content that you put on your content calendar. Enlist the help of your colleagues when you can. For instance, ask a surveyor or product developer to be featured in a video or quoted in a blog post. You can also ask the company leaders to share their thoughts on where the industry is headed or future plans for the company, which is considered “thought leadership” content.
Make geospatial marketing a team effort, and look for strong writers – note STRONG writers – or colleagues who are engaging on camera to feature. You will be super surprised at how many you have in your organisation! If you are a one-person company, ask your nearest and dearest clients to chip in! They’ll more than likely jump at the chance to help since sharing their story will be a win for them AND you.
Now that the most time-consuming part is over, it’s time to see how well your efforts worked. Look back at the metrics you chose to track in your content plan and see how your content performed. Google Analytics can help you track metrics on your website like page views, and other platforms like YouTube will have built-in analytics.
Look at the data and think about questions like:
1 ) Did I achieve my goals? Why or why not?
2 ) Should I adjust my goals in the future or set new ones?
3 ) Which content was most successful, and how can I create similar content in the future?
4 ) Which content was least successful, and should I avoid similar content going forward?
You won’t have all of the answers at first, but over time, you’ll start to notice patterns in the data that help you to make better content in the future.
Why Content Marketing Matters for Geospatialers
New companies make their way into the geospatial industry every year, from hardware and software providers to service providers and consultancies. As companies try to find their place, they’re often competing with other start-ups as well as big-name companies that dominate in their markets.
Even when companies have a strong USP, or unique selling point, it can be hard for them to differentiate themselves in the eyes of customers. That’s where content marketing comes in. BOOM!
Content marketing helps businesses in crowded spaces (where you are sandwiched in like a sardine in a tin) to stand out from the competition. It gives them a chance to emphasize their values and the value they offer customers and clients.
Content marketing also gives businesses a chance to connect with the different types of clients that they serve. For instance, if a company makes geospatial software that can be used by transportation, forestry, and government departments, it’s not likely that one message will resonate with decision-makers in each of those spaces.
Businesses can create separate content assets for each industry focus. Once they have those assets, they can share them in strategic locations where the right audience will find them: on industry pages on their website, in groups on social media, and in targeted email campaigns.
5 Tips for Successful Geospatial Content Marketing
Now that you know why content marketing matters for geospatialers, it’s time to get started. Keep these five tips in mind when building your strategy, creating content, and analysing performance.
1 ) “Show, Don’t Tell”
Anyone who’s taken a writing class has probably heard this advice before. “Show, don’t tell” basically means to paint a picture for the reader to experience and interpret instead of spelling everything out for them. This advice is handy for content marketers as well.
Instead of listing out features and benefits in content, use quotes or stories from customers to show how your products or services have helped them. Or, describe scenarios where the product or service can help potential customers. Tell a story instead of sharing product specs.
2 ) Experiment with Content Mediums
Let’s say you have the idea to share one tip each week about land surveying for estate managers like the National Parks UK. The purpose of sharing these tips is to demystify land surveying for people who are unfamiliar and to highlight your expertise in the area. Should this be a video series, blog posts, LinkedIn posts, or a Facebook Live event?
If you don’t yet have historical data to help you make the decision, you can try one medium for a few weeks and then switch it up if you think you can get better results. You can also post to multiple mediums and compare the engagement results. Or, you can see what’s working for other geospatial companies, and start there. Over time, you’ll start to see what gives you the best ROI for the time and money you put into your geospatial marketing.
3 ) Find Out Where Your Customers Spend Time
Where you distribute your content should be based on where your ideal customer hangs out. Are they on LinkedIn? Do they spend a lot of time on YouTube? Are they in Facebook groups or industry forums like Laser Scanning Forum? Do they usually prefer email newsletters?
You can find out this info in a few ways. One is to send surveys to your past customers to understand where they prefer to see your content. You can also check out the spaces where your competitors distribute content to get an idea of channels to try. Another key place to find data: ask the sales team! They’re working face-to-face with potential customers every day and are bound to have some insights based on conversations with them.
4 ) Repurpose Your Content
With content marketing, work smarter, not harder. Once you’ve created content that’s performing well, brainstorm ways to turn that content into more content. You can turn videos into blog posts, blog posts into an email series, and emails into podcast topics. Content projects shouldn’t be one-offs, especially when they perform well. Reach larger audiences through additional mediums.
5 ) Do More of What Works
Set regular intervals to examine your content performance – monthly is a good place to start. Take a look at the data, and see which pieces of content performed the best and met your goals. Use that data to plan future topics, rethink content mediums and distribution channels, and set even higher goals.
Taking the Next Step Toward Content
Content marketing is a low-cost way for geospatial companies to stand out in a constantly expanding industry. From surveyors to equipment makers and everyone in between, each business has something to say; geospatial marketing content offers the chance to share your message in a way that benefits customers and clients.
Although content marketing can be complex, it doesn’t have to be. Focusing on three steps – planning content, following the plan, and analyzing the results – can bring companies closer to their business goals.