June 20, 2017

Co-Marketing: the Next Step in the Evolution of Content?

According to the findings of a recent Kissmetrics report, content marketing has broken through the threshold of the mainstream, and should be considered essentially ubiquitous across industries in 2017. Based on the report, 94 percent of small businesses, 93 percent of B2B organizations and 77 percent of B2Cs use content marketing. 

Just several years ago, early-adopters were able to leverage content as a competitive advantage. But with nearly all organizations participating today, it has become more difficult to set yourself apart from the pack.

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As such, it is critical to cultivate new and innovative content strategies that can once again distance you from your competitors. One such way to deliver more impactful, differentiating content is to leverage partnerships to develop co-marketed content for dissemination across all participants’ channels.

Co-marketing partnerships are ideal because they can greatly enhance your presence, while simultaneously opening up doors to new markets. When you co-market, your brand will be emblazoned on a piece of content that is blasted out to your partner’s social channels, email campaigns and on their blog. Their readers may have tangential interest in your services, and will be inclined to work with you due to their preexisting relationship with your media partner.

Now imagine co-marketing a piece of content with multiple partners. In theory, you may be able to exponentially increase brand awareness and cross-sale opportunities!

But perhaps most importantly, co-marketing partnerships can help you discover methods for creating quality content that is more engaging. Here are several examples of how you can pursue a co-marketing initiative:

Create an industry panel: Reach out to other organizations within your industry and craft a piece of content designed to look like a roundtable panel discussion. This will enable you to build a reputation as a thought-leader in your field, take a deep dive into the latest trends in your industry, and foster a lively and collaborative discussion.

Reach across industries to speak on broader business topics: If you’re more interested in pursuing potential cross-promotional opportunities with partners outside your specific industry, craft a similar panel that speaks to a broader topic, such as customer experience, the Internet of Things or communications enablement. This will allow readers to look at these topics from a variety of perspectives, while you establish connections with businesses outside your field that may still be able to bring you new business.

Stage a debate: It’s a shame that debates only get the spotlight during election cycles. Debates can be lively, entertaining, and can help educate your customers in a unique way. Find a partner willing to debate the pros and cons of your products, services, or another industry-specific subject. This can lead to greater engagement and communication from customers, and can also open up new opportunities for revenue.

But while co-marketing may present many unique benefits for marketing departments looking for a new way to craft content, there are challenges. The writing must be nuanced enough so that all participants come out looking like the winners of the debate, the smartest person in the room, and the go-to business for all their customers’ needs. As such, developing these partnerships and crafting content can be challenging for those without a dedicated, experienced content arm.

In such cases, it can be beneficial to outsource to a dedicated, independent content marketing agency. Not only will you be able to craft more impactful content, but agencies with many clients may even be able to help you find the best partners to develop a co-marketing strategy.

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