How To Build A B2B Content Marketing Strategy That Drives Results
49% of B2B marketers believe that stagnancy in achieving results with content marketing occurs due to strategy issues: the lack of knowing what to do or even figuring out what to change, fast enough.
That’s a worrying and confusing statistic because 72% of content marketers state that they owe their success to having a better content marketing strategy.
Put these two together and there’s only one logical conclusion you can make of it: Marketers that have found the right content marketing strategy for their business are flourishing while the others are just as clueless.
Marketers that have found the right content marketing strategy for their business are flourishing while the others are just as clueless.
This post isn’t meant for the former. In fact, I’d be grateful if you guys could send over some wisdomous tips my way. It’s for the guys on the other end.
Knowing what to create
70% of B2B content marketers plan to increase the amount of content they create this year. While that’s a great strategy to adopt, it comes with a far more important question: how to finalize on what to create?
The traditional sales funnel has now morphed into a content marketing funnel as content is relevant across stages of a person’s purchase decision journey.
The kind of content you create depends entirely on who you are as a business and what you want to achieve.
For eg: If you’re selling a SaaS tool meant for small to medium-sized businesses, you probably need to focus on creating a robust directory of content that reduces the time taken by a user to derive value from your product. The faster a person sees value, with as little intervention from your support team, the better.
The spread of different types of content, across the content marketing funnel, is entirely dependent on what your priorities are as a business. Here’s an informative post on the types of content you should create at different stages of the funnel.
Tracking competitors and industry
Another great way to beef up your B2B content marketing strategy is by keeping an eye out for what your competition is up to.
I use Hootsuite on a daily basis and find their content to be super useful. They are clearly the leaders of their pack and create a significantly larger number of content pieces that their competitors.
EpicTrack shows me that Hootsuite creates the most amount of content in their genre and also gets majority of the engagement (984.2). When compared with others like Buffer and SproutSocial, they’re leading by 4X or more when it comes to average engagement. But for one exception: adding Coschedule to the mix completely changes the metrics. Coschedule got an average engagement of 2.6K last year. I dug a little deeper to find that the spike in numbers came from a single post published by Coschedule in the month of April last year.
With a whopping total engagement score of 131.6K, this post beats all the others, hands down. Remove this one piece of content from the equation and Coschedule’s average engagement is just like the other competitors: a fraction of what Hootsuite manages to get.
It makes sense to keep your eyes (and ears open) to see what your competition is up to. Sometimes it helps to find ideas that you haven’t thought of. At other times, if you’re vigilant enough, it helps you secure your place right on top. 😜
Documenting your strategy
Once you’ve nailed the purpose of your content and chalked out the rest of the details: topics, formats, types etc., it’s time to get down and dirty and tackle the specifics.
Crucial thing to remember while finalizing your content marketing strategy: Write it down!
I’ve seen it so many times with the personal goals I’ve set out to achieve (get beach body ready: Plan Number 378). Taking stock of all the plans that have either taken off or missed the mark, the one common factor among all the successes was that they were written down in some shape or form. Documenting your content marketing strategy gives you something to measure yourself against, check for inconsistencies, re-plan and re-hash over and over again if you lose track.
In fact, as per CMI’s latest B2B report, 61% of the most successful B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
Right time to throw in a oft-ignored fact: a content marketing strategy differs from a content strategy. A content marketing strategy focusses on specific campaign or product level goals and objectives, the audience is caters to, and is attached to time-bound, measurable goals. A content strategy, on the other hand, deals with the overarching way in which an organization plans to effectively and efficiently manage all of its content.
As Robert Rose puts it oh so succinctly in this post, “All great, spontaneous, and effortless-looking content marketing strategies are formed and scaled with a smart content strategy at their core.”
Promotion: organic, paid, and earned
Facebook receives over 4 million likes every minute. Twitter sees over 6000 tweets every second.
<insert jaw-dropping statistic on the ginormous amount of data created every minute>
Now that we’re done stating the obvious, here’s coming to the most crucial step after content creation: getting your content out in front of your audience.
Just like other steps in crafting your content marketing strategy, promotion also requires that you answer three basic questions:
- Who is your audience and why will your content matter to them?
- Where do they like to consume this content and in what format?
- What are your goals tied to?
This post does a brilliant job of explaining the difference between content promotion and content distribution. While the specifics of your strategy depend on a number of factors, ensuring that you promote the content created is imperative to discovery.
Craft your promotion strategy keeping in mind the ideal mix of owned, paid, and earned that you need to incorporate into your content marketing strategy to ensure results.
ROI and measurement
54% of B2B marketers consider having well-defined business goals for content to be an important element of their content marketing strategy making it one of the top-most priorities in the list.
Yet boardroom discussions continue to get uncomfortable right when those three magical letters- R.O.I come together. *sweaty palms*
A big aspect of finding the solution is being able to finalize the end goal of the content right at the idea stage. Ask yourself:
What are the goals I am trying to achieve through this content marketing campaign?
Are you looking for greater visibility and awareness about your brand? Driving leads back to your site? Getting more signups for your product?
Tying content to quantifiable goals helps in getting a realistic idea of how well (or badly) it has performed. As Rob Yogel rightly puts it,
“Yes, you may have 1,000 Facebook “likes” this month compared to 500 last month, but who’s reading your website content, and who is it being shared with? Did these same people take a desired action that helped your business make money or save money as a result of consuming your content? And most importantly, did anyone who took a desired action ultimately become a customer?”
By categorizing performance metrics into four sections: acquisition, content engagement, social interactions and conversion, EpicTrack helps in measuring content against the goals it was created for. Each section is further broken down into sub-metrics that contribute to the total score. By tracking content performance across each section, marketers can accurately identify how closely each piece of content is accomplishing its goal.
Here are the five steps you need to follow to build a B2B content marketing strategy worth its salt:
- Identify what you need to create keeping in mind not just who your audience is but also who you are as a business and what you want to achieve.
- Look for inspiration: your competition and the industry as a whole
- Document every aspect of your content marketing strategy: break it into bite-sized goals and write them all down
- Finalize your promotion strategy based on your priorities and a realistic understanding of the space you’re operating in
- Evaluate, measure, and fine-tune at every step
And if you’re looking for a tool and a team that can help you with almost all of that; well, hit us up for a chat!