B2B content marketing came into its own in 2013 and the New Year is the perfect opportunity for you to get on board. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to begin actively thinking about how to generate and share content that’s relevant and informative for your target audience.
Here are tips for molding your 2014 B2B content marketing strategy:
Know your audience. Marketing campaigns only work if you know the people and businesses you’re trying to reach. What are their pain points? What are their primary concerns? Are you making use of the many resources available to gauge what’s important to them? Email surveys are one popular tool for assessing customer concerns, but a more convenient approach is through avenues offered by social media, where your business customers regularly gather in forums and chat rooms to discuss key industry challenges and opportunities. The issues they discuss offer great fodder for your upcoming content efforts.
Conduct an audit of your existing content library. Some businesses hesitate to embark on an aggressive content marketing campaign because they assume content creation is a long and arduous process. Not so! There’s a good chance your business has already generated sufficient content to get started early on in 2014. Conduct an audit of content already existing in your archives—everything from published whitepapers, videos and blog posts to newsletters, case studies and feature articles appearing on your website.
Don’t stop there. Look at content that’s appeared on your microsites, mobile apps, print newsletters, podcasts and infographics. How much of this material can be repurposed to provide value for B2B customers? For example, a recent interview with your CEO outlining issues facing the industry can be recalibrated into a quick, easy-to-read Q&A that addresses the specific topics your target audience cares most about.
Create customer-focused content. Remember, content marketing isn’t about advertising or promoting your products or services (at least, not overtly). The key is to produce and distribute content that offers value to your B2B customers. They’re not interested in hearing about all the features you have to offer, only how those features can benefit them and solve problems they face going into the new year.
They also want to read content that’s clear and free of technical jargon. The broader the appeal, the more likely it is that your content will be read and shared across different social media channels.
Set up an editorial calendar. Your content marketing efforts should be organized, rather than haphazard. This means creating an editorial calendar that establishes the following:
- When new content will appear (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
- Where new content will appear (in blog posts, whitepapers, social media, etc.)
- Who will produce new content (from internal experts or outsourced professionals)
- What resources you need to generate content today and through the rest of 2014
Begin promoting new content. Great content only works if the right people know about it. Be sure to actively promote new content when it appears—through alerts on your websites, in email messages, on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Also, take time to read and comment on content produced elsewhere (blog posts, articles, etc.) and, where appropriate, offer links to your own materials. Get conversations going around B2B issues. This will spur new ideas for future content generation.
Design metrics to track your efforts. No B2B content marketing plan is complete without metrics to track and measure the success of your efforts. Include a variety of metrics in your strategic plan, such as:
- Amount of web traffic generated by your content
- Sales leads (both quantity and quality)
- Social media sharing
- Customer feedback
- SEO ranking
- Direct sales
The B2B sales cycle can be long and complex. Generating content offers an excellent way to nurture qualified sales leads, by establishing a reputation and resource for content that offers quantifiable benefits to your B2B customer base. Ready to start your content marketing strategy, but can’t think up new topic ideas? Download our “Content Refresh” guide for new topics and tips.