Content Marketing for Inward Investment Promotion - How to Do It, and How Not to Do It.

Thursday 16 January 2014
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All of a sudden, everyone's talking about Content Marketing - the use of high-quality online content (text, video, data etc.)  to attract sales leads (or investment leads in our case) as a basis for winning business (or landing inward investments).
But it's one thing to talk about 'creating great online content' and another thing to actually do it. And I would argue that there's currently far more 'talking the talk' going on in this area than 'walking the walk'. There's a real lack of high-quality, original 'B2B' marketing content out there, including in the field of Inward Investment Marketing. This means that there's a big opportunity for Investment Promotion Agencies that do invest in great online content to gain an edge over those that don't.

But why is there so little high-quality B2B marketing content out there?

The simple answer is that most 'selling' organisations (including Investment Promotion Agencies) and 'Marketing and PR' agencies simply don't know how to create the right kind of content. Most still adhere to out-dated marketing paradigms that belong in the pre-internet age and typically look like this:

Example 1: 'Sales Spiel':

Example 2: The Press Release:

So what's wrong with these tried and tested approaches?

It's a very good question. Location marketing agencies have always trotted out claims that sound great but aren't necessarily backed up by reliable facts or data. And they've always fed the media with press releases, relating to 'news events', in which everybody who's anybody chips in their two-penneth and talks about themselves.

The problem is that the world has changed, and these traditional approaches to marketing (and PR) content are past their sell-by dates. Here's why:

  1. The extensive availability of information and data on the internet has empowered 'buying' organisations (e.g. investing businesses) to research their needs in depth before 'committing to buy' (e.g. selecting investment locations and sites). They no longer depend on 'selling' organisations (e.g. your Investment Promotion Agency) to provide them with the information they need. If your organisation is still trotting out sales spiel and spun facts, investing businesses will simply ignore you and find their information elsewhere (probably from competitor agencies).

  2. Press releases have their origins in a bygone era when access to the traditional media (newspapers, TV etc.) was essential for organisations seeking publicity - a media which, in turn, demanded a 'news angle' as a basis for publication. The traditional press release format therefore serves the needs of a traditional media hungry for news, not inward investors searching for facts. Today, investing businesses search online for the facts they need, and Investment Promotion Agencies are empowered to publish those facts themselves. This means that you can engage directly with investors, not only via a traditional media whose objectives inevitably aren't the same as your own.

Content Marketing for Inward Investment Promotion: how it should be done.

So, with the above insights in mind, what are the key ingredients of a winning online content marketing campaign for inward investment attraction? Here's a summary:

  1. Work hard to understand the location information and data that investing companies in your target industry sectors are likely to be searching for online.

  2. Provide them with the information they're searching for, including verifiable facts and data.

  3. Focus on the things that are likely to interest investing businesses, not the things that interest you (it's great that Coldplay are coming to your arena, but it's unlikely to impress a business person preparing a location business case).

  4. Include 'keywords' and phrases that match the likely search engine queries of investing businesses (that's SEO).

  5. Don't make claims that you can't back up or aren't true (i.e. 'sales spiel'). Investors won't trust it, or you if that's what you give them.

  6. Select content formats (text, video, graphics, data etc.) that put investors' needs - not your needs - first. Your boss may be impressed by a spinning graphic, but for the investor it'll probably just mean a clunky web page that takes too long to load.

  7. Think about the online forums and platforms that investing businesses in your target sectors are likely to use when searching for location and site information. Share your content there.

  8. Keep on creating, publishing and sharing great content that directly addresses the needs of inward investors. It'll help them to find you, and make them want to get in touch with you when they do.

  9. If you engage a marketing company to help you create, publish and share great content, find one with an in-depth understanding of the needs of investing businesses, not just general 'marketing processes'. (OK, so we would say that, but that doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do!)

  10. Contact Clarity today to develop your winning Inward Investment Content Marketing Strategy.

Nick Smillie

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