Content marketing is the most cost effective of the traditional marketing options (generally), but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. You need a proper content marketing strategy tailored to your target audience if you want to achieve your goals. In this case, you’re targeting a government audience.
Business-to-government marketing (B2G) requires a different approach to B2B and B2C online content marketing due to its unique nature.
We’re going to look at the importance of content marketing in B2G sales and how it can be crafted to encourage engagement with potential customers, build brand awareness and loyalty, and boost goal conversions.
Content Marketing Methods
There are four primary methods to deliver valuable content to your audience.
Each method can be divided into sub-sections. For example, text includes white papers, blog posts, website content, and case studies.
Some sub-sections overlap; for instance, case studies can also include images and blog posts can include video.
The method you use depends on your audience and goals.
Video marketing demonstrates how your product solves contracting authorities’ problems. White papers demonstrate your authority in your field.
White papers, case studies, research, and reports are good vehicles to deliver content marketing to government authorities.
The Importance Of Tone Of Voice In Content Marketing
The tone of voice is kind of like the feeling and motivation behind content creation. It’s how the message is perceived and it has a big impact on your brand’s reputation, customer engagement, and business growth.
According to SEMRUSH, tone of voice can be divided into four sets.
- Funny – serious
- Casual – formal
- Respectful – irreverent
- Enthusiastic – pragmatic
Each set has several variants.
- Funny can be witty and playful.
- Serious can be conservative and informative.
- Casual can be conversational and friendly.
- Formal can be professional and trustworthy
- Respectful can be authoritative and caring.
- Irreverent can be sarcastic and provocative.
- Enthusiastic can be passionate and upbeat.
- Pragmatic can be matter-of-fact and dry.
These are not mutually exclusive, for example, your tone of voice can be respectful and casual or serious and caring, etc.
What’s a suitable tone of voice for B2G marketing?
Government procurement is quite a serious business, which makes serious and formal tones of voice good options in your content strategy.
That’s not to say that you’re limited to formal language. It’s possible to veer into more casual language when the situation calls for it, perhaps when announcing a fundraising event to raise money for a local jobs expo to combat unemployment in the community.
Generally, however, it’s a good idea to stick to informative and professional tones of voice in your B2G content marketing strategy. Leave irreverent on the table.
Consistency runs through it
One of the most important things to remember about tone of voice is that it must be consistent across all channels of communication, from blog content to social media posts.
Consistent doesn’t mean identical.
Think of it as your brand’s personality.
Your personality stays the same whether you’re in a business meeting, at a birthday party, or having dinner with the in-laws. But, different aspects of your personality come to the fore, depending on the circumstance.
So, your brand’s tone of voice (personality) can be more casual for the social media aspect of your content strategy.
A webinar, on the other hand, should be more informative and matter-of-fact, like explaining how your product works to solve pain points for existing customers (and prospective customers who are interested in your services).
You can be witty in a blog post and enthusiastic in a podcast.
The only thing that matters is that the personality is always recognisable (maintain consistency). It’s your identity that sets you apart from your competitors.
OK, so language matters as much as a consistent tone of voice in B2G marketing strategies.
It’s perhaps more accurate to say that words matter. The right turn of phrase can swing conversions your way. However, the wrong word in the wrong place could explain a high bounce rate on your product pages.
Dos and don’ts of using language in content marketing
We’re going to look at some dos and don’ts that B2G companies need to bear in mind in their content marketing efforts.
Use user-friendly jargon (jargon-lite). Create content that contains just enough jargon to demonstrate you fully understand the field and can communicate that to contracting authorities with a working knowledge of the subject.
Use jargon-heavy language that only an experienced professional will understand.
Here’s a healthcare example:
Instead of “activities of daily living aids (ADLs),” say, “personal care tasks.”
Use professional and consistent content to establish your expertise and trustworthiness.
Use professional language to sound pretentious. You’ll scupper your content marketing objectives more quickly than you can say, “scupper content marketing objectives.”
Here’s a general example:
Instead of “eschew obfuscation,” say, “don’t confuse the issue.”
Use informative language to attract new customers and increase existing customer retention.
Use condescending language to alienate your target audience.
Here’s a procurement example:
Instead of “Unfortunately, despite operating for three years, you still haven’t been able to solve the problem, but our simple solution will meet your goals in just three days,” say, “Our high-quality product solves X pain points.”
Use authoritative language that generates high-quality leads and establishes you as a thought leader in the field.
Use arrogant language to diminish customers’ capabilities.
Here’s a construction example:
Instead of “I don’t think you should consider X when electrical engineers clearly can’t do without Y, which our experts have developed”, say, “According to our research, 78% of electrical engineers intend incorporating X in their systems within the next six months.”
Use casual language when the situation calls for it.
Use over-familiar language, no matter what the situation.
Here’s a social value example:
Instead of “Join us for a rad day and have hectic fun while filling X’s piggy bank. Dig deep in your pockets and cough up some dosh for a good cause,” say, “Join us for a family picnic with fun activities for children of all ages. Tickets cost X, all of which will be donated to Y’s community cleaning project.”
Is Content Marketing Worth It?
Absolutely! The importance of content marketing in B2G business models can’t be overstated. It provides an essential lift to traditional marketing tactics, increasing its effectiveness to attract more traffic to websites or direct customers to a specific landing page.
A well-structured content marketing plan that delivers engaging and relevant content can do wonders for your reputation as an industry leader.
One of the reasons content marketing is so important is the role it plays in online search results, increasing your exposure to potential customers.
This helps content marketers use quality content to position your B2G business ahead of your competitors so that you’re the go-to public sector supplier.
The trick is that you must provide valuable, relevant, and high-quality content regularly to retain your authority online.
How to use content marketing to boost B2G sales
You must cater to your target audience, which means you must know where to focus your content marketing efforts.
We’ve established that the B2G market is a relatively serious place, with formal and professional communication. As a result, government authorities are more likely to use the types of content marketing that suit their position in the public sector.
Think about your audience content.
Are you likely to find utilities departments on TikTok? Probably not.
Are they more likely to subscribe to online trade magazines or newsletters? Yes, probably.
You can skip over TikTok for Business and direct your energy towards creating an article with valuable information that is snapped up by a magazine and consequently shared via email (subscribers) and social media by industry newsletters and influencers.
Here are some additional benefits of content marketing
First, do some research to find out which content/communication channels are most popular with your target audience.
Then tailor your online content marketing strategy to capitalise on those channels.
What channels are likely to be favoured by the public sector?
Let’s look at the most common communication platforms that attract prospective customers and maintain existing customer retention.
1. Blog posts
Blogs are an excellent platform to establish your credibility as a supplier. Not only can you generate unique content, but repurposing content is a great way to keep content fresh for readers – and search engines.
For example, you can update old content with new findings. You can summarise a webinar, or take one point from a webinar and expand on it in the blog post.
Blogs can be short (500 words) or mid-length (800 words). Long-form content is over 1000 words. However, if the blog gains momentum and goes beyond 3000 words, it might be worth considering a white paper instead.
It’s worth noting that long posts can be broken up into bite-sized pieces with paragraphs, bullet points, engaging images, graphs, videos, and infographics. Using a lot of technical graphics and flowcharts, however, could be a sign to switch to a white paper.
Video marketing is great because it gives your business a human face and can help distinguish you from your competitors. You can use videos for virtually anything.
A quick look at the types of videos people watch for entertainment or education
- Short five-minute videos for product announcements, brand updates, and accomplishments.
- Fifteen-minute videos to explain products or concepts. Using other visuals, like simple graphs and research snippets keeps the videos engaging for potential and current customers
- Twenty to 30-minute videos are great for interviews and panel discussions with industry experts.
Videos longer than 30 minutes can deter customers who don’t have the time or inclination to spend so long on business videos. Your hard work and high-quality content go to waste.
If your video is heading towards 45 or 60 minutes you might want to consider creating a webinar instead.
Which video platforms should you use?
Think carefully about where to publish videos. YouTube channels work well, but it might be better to embed them in your website and then link them to YouTube.
If you are going to include YouTube in your content marketing strategy, ensure you produce enough useful content to keep the channel fresh and relevant.
One video once a year isn’t going to have any effect on your content marketing plan. Uploading videos once or twice a month will have a far greater effect on your marketing goals, for example, to increase website traffic and generate leads.
You could use LinkedIn or a Facebook business account to post videos, but first, ensure that your target audience has a presence on these social media platforms.
Webinars are perfect for establishing yourself as a thought leader and innovator. They allow you to expand on any points made in videos or blogs or create original content in the form of tutorials, interviews, panel discussions, etc.
It’s a good idea to have live webinars where attendees can engage with the host(s) and guest(s) and participate in a Q&A session. This form of customer engagement can generate interest in your brand and prompt public sector buyers to investigate further on your website and even social media posts.
A good content marketing strategy is to record webinars and offer them on-demand as gated content.
4. White papers
If you want to present yourself as a leader in your field, white papers are the way to do it. They are perfect for presenting useful and interesting information from your own research or reports.
They tend to be gated. This means anyone interested in them must ‘buy’ access by submitting their email address, which is one of the best ways to generate qualified leads.
They’re not opinion pieces. Data contained in the white paper is supported by evidence, preferably your own, but extra proof from reliable external sources goes a long way to substantiating your research and cementing your position as a thought leader.
Email content marketing is as old as the hills, but it’s still an effective digital marketing tool. Modern email marketing is more of an art than it used to be. It takes skill to craft powerful content that optimises everything from subject lines to signing off.
Content marketers don’t just have to focus on creating quality content for customers, but they also need to bear search engines in mind.
Search engine optimisation is an important element of all digital marketing campaigns because it puts your brand front and centre in search results and generates more traffic to your website or targeted landing page.
It’s worth spending time on your email marketing strategy, creating quality content for all search engines, including Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo!.
6. Website content
One thing should stand out when you look at the above five content marketing channels.
They are not sales pitches.
The whole point is to provide valuable content that is interesting, informative, and engaging. As soon as you include sales-speak, your audience checks out.
Website content, on the other hand, is designed to capture attention and direct customers to the beginning of the buyer’s journey.
That’s not to say you can launch into a kitschy sales spiel. Compelling high-quality content is far better at generating leads in the B2G market.
Search engine optimised images and graphics also improve website usability, so be sure to include them when planning content marketing.
When it comes to marketing content on your website, think subtle, not sledgehammer.
Compelling Communication Secures Prominence In Public Sector Procurement
There’s nothing like an intelligent content strategy to bolster your overall B2G digital marketing strategy. Quality content can be adapted to any situation and serve infinite purposes.
Want to promote your social value initiatives? Choose social media content, blog posts, email marketing, and press release platforms to create awareness without appearing arrogant.
Want to increase conversions and generate leads? Dedicated website landing pages, email marketing, and engaging visuals can contain calls to action directing your audience to hard-sell (not pushy) product pages. Here you can include additional calls to action to get to the heart of all digital marketing strategies – converting leads into the successful completion of the buyer’s journey.
It’s no simple feat, however, which is why the smart decision is to engage the services of a specialist B2G inbound marketing agency. Cadence Marketing specialises in public sector marketing, including content marketing, targeting government agencies that need a pool of reliable and trustworthy suppliers.
The Cadence Difference
A well-thought-out content strategy is not just cost-effective, it also ensures your brand is visible online so more new customers can do their bit to drive website traffic and increase your exposure to public sector buyers locally and nationally. This is where Cadence Marketing comes to the fore.
We provide a range of public sector marketing services, including email content marketing campaigns and webinars. Through our partnership with BiP Solutions, we have decades of experience creating high-quality content for marketing purposes.
Contact Cadence Marketing and book a free consultation to find out how our expert services can help develop valuable content to generate new leads for your sales team.