How to Create a B2B Content Strategy. However, among B2B companies, only around 30% see their content marketing as effective. A well-researched, documented content marketing strategy is the key to creating effective content that will appeal to your audience. Your content strategy should take into account elements like: What technology or platforms to use Who your audience is Where to post content and how often What kind of content and topics to create How you’ll repurpose and promote that content Who is accountable for content creation and promotion How the performance of your campaigns are tracked and measured What competitors are doing to engage your audience What goals you’re trying to achieve A content strategy doesn’t need to be a complex document that takes months to compile. Only about a third of B2B marketers feel their content efforts are “mature.” More than half of B2B marketers are still trying to figure out what works. Get granular with audience data and demographics, such as: Location Work information Personal data Decision-making behaviors That data will be used to shape the content at every stage of the buyer’s journey, including the message on landing pages, as well as the customized messages you’ll use across social media and lead-nurturing drip campaigns. Use that research to shape your content strategy. Research and define your goals Before you start creating content or fleshing out the bullet points of a content marketing strategy, you need to understand why you’re doing it. The research tips above will help you focus on the most critical elements to create a content strategy that is innovative and aligns with your company goals, yet is fluid enough to evolve with you as your audience and your business change. What does your process look like for researching and creating a B2B content marketing strategy?
The demand for quality content continues to climb among marketers and businesses.
Time and again, quality content has proven to generate the most organic search traffic and social shares, and it is the backbone of establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
It’s content that moves your prospects through the buyer’s journey, reinforcing relationships at every stage of the sales funnel.
But, without a strategy, it’s so much harder to hit your mark and create effective content.
It’s the difference between a marksman hitting a target at 100 yards with an accurate rifle vs. a shotgun.
Why you need a strategy
Content marketing is huge.
92% of marketers said their organization sees content as a critical business asset.
However, among B2B companies, only around 30% see their content marketing as effective. That may have something to do with the fact that only about 46% of marketers have a documented strategy.
What’s worse is that only 18% of marketers feel like their organization has the right technology in place to even manage their content marketing.
A well-researched, documented content marketing strategy is the key to creating effective content that will appeal to your audience.
It’s not just about outlining topics and mapping out where to post that content.
Your content strategy should take into account elements like:
- What technology or platforms to use
- Who your audience is
- Where to post content and how often
- What kind of content and topics to create
- How you’ll repurpose and promote that content
- Who is accountable for content creation and promotion
- How the performance of your campaigns are tracked and measured
- What competitors are doing to engage your audience
- What goals you’re trying to achieve
A content strategy doesn’t need to be a complex document that takes months to compile.
Truthfully, the simpler your documented strategy is, the easier it is to manage.
Who is your audience
Every strategy starts by taking into account whom you want to create content for.
Because it’s not about what you think is helpful.
It’s about what they’re looking for.
You need to consider what your audience needs help with, the struggles they have, and how you can align content with their interests and needs to provide the most value.
You have to create buyer personas, but it doesn’t stop there.
Developing buyer personas is a necessary part of your strategy, but you have to take it a step further.
You need to know which people among your audience are most likely to help your company grow.
You may discover your audience is split into multiple buyers. Should you create content for all of them?
Don’t spend too much time targeting prospects who won’t open their wallets to you. Refine your buyer personas to focus on those most likely to convert.
Here’s a perfect example of that:
Crowe Horwath is a public accounting and consulting firm. A company like this is going to have a varied customer base.
They decided to narrow the focus of their content strategy to target C-level prospects in financial institutions with $1 billion or more in assets.
With that targeting, they created a simple content marketing plan covering four specific content areas using a range of content types (infographics, a video, Q&As, case studies, and some executive briefs).
All of that content dealt with a common challenge for their target audience: compliance with financial regulations.
The infographic alone resulted in a 70% open rate and generated $250,000 in revenue for the company.
Focus on understanding what your audience wants (and needs).
Results like that come from researching your audience closely.
While you don’t want to spend too long nit-picking the smallest of details around your target audience, you do need to be able to answer the little questions that can impact the effectiveness of your content strategy.
What are they searching for… and why?
The intent of customers is a crucial part of your content strategy.
Every search query has intent behind it.
Your research could turn up the most popular articles on a certain topic that’s relevant to your audience, but that doesn’t tell you why it’s popular.
Why are they searching for it? What is it about that particular topic in relation to their needs and their business that makes it so valuable?
Don’t just track what they’re searching for. Find out why it’s relevant.
And do it without assuming you know what they want.
The best way to do that is to ask them.
Kapost went straight to their audience with a handful of questions to find out exactly what their customers wanted.
The questions were straightforward, such as:
- How much time do you spend consuming content?
- Who do you trust?
- How do you consume content?
Kapost asked their customers not only how they prefer to consume content, but also how they prefer to share it.
They also asked respondents where they go for the most relevant industry news and analytics.
This is a great question because it eliminated assumption and guesswork in trying to source the interests of the audience.
You can quickly discover their favorite sources for information and use that to create a seed list of topic ideas.
A key question I found to be highly relevant was Kapost asking its audience whether they liked data-heavy content or playful content.
For B2B marketers, this is an important question.
The right tone and approach play a huge part in capturing the attention of your audience and getting that content shared beyond your own promotion.
According to the results, 63% said they share factual content, while 67% said they share content with a playful tone. While that’s a close race, note that 31% said they strongly agree they share playful content, while only 20% strongly agree they share data-heavy material.
Research like this can help you develop and maintain the right voice for your brand and content strategy, as well as allow you to serve content to your audience that will keep them engaged.
Monitor competitors to see what’s working (and what isn’t)
It’s a given that you need to look to competitors to see what they’re doing, but don’t try to mimic their efforts.
They may have some content that does well, but that doesn’t mean everything they’re doing is effective.
Like so many others, they could just be shotgunning their efforts without a strategy.
Only about a third of B2B marketers feel their content efforts are “mature.”
More than half of B2B marketers are still trying to figure out what works.
And less than a third of B2B marketers even feel their efforts are effective.
So, what should you be looking into when researching your competitors?
- How they promote their content
- Where the content is being posted