Many corporate marketers and business professionals are trying to implement content marketing within their organization. In fact, 90% of organizations now market with content (Source: CMI).
So why are so many businesses jumping on the content marketing bandwagon? Cost is often the main reason as content marketing is 62% less expensive than traditional marketing (Source: Demand Metric).
However, while it’s great to see widespread adoption of content marketing tactics, many firms don’t have a clear content strategy. Content marketing without a plan is a sure way to fail. You need a clear content marketing plan to get results.
So what does a successful B2B content marketing plan look like?
Defined Content Goals and Objectives
The first step in the creation of a successful content marketing strategy is to define goals and objectives. Are you trying to increase brand awareness? Is lead generation your main objective? Is customer retention your main focus? In an ideal world, all of these would be accomplished by your B2B content marketing plan. However, if you are attempting several different objectives with your inbound marketing efforts, you need to prioritize your goals for effective tracking and evaluation.
Typically, brand awareness is the main goal for B2B content marketing efforts. A recent study reported that 84% of B2B marketers identified brand awareness as their main goal. (Source: CMI)
Lead Generation is often another goal of inbound content marketing efforts. Studies have shown that content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional marketing per dollar spent. (Source: Demand Metric)
As a B2B content marketing and web design agency in San Diego, we recommend focusing on 1-2 main objectives for your efforts. Once you have established your content plan and have had success with goals and conversions, you can expand your objectives.
Limit Your Scope
For many organizations, there are budget restrictions, limited staff, and never enough time or leads! As you craft your firm’s B2B content strategy, it’s best to limit your scope and focus on creating only a few types of content. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but trying to create and host a webinar, craft and send an email newsletter, drafting regular social media posts, publishing a weekly blog, and producing a premium content piece every month takes a full-time staff of designers, writers, and specialists.
In our experience working on B2B content marketing projects, we’ve determined that a monthly blog, social media posts, a monthly newsletter, and quarterly premium content pieces are typically manageable and effective for all different types of B2B companies.
A Clear Plan of Action with Duties Assigned
You can increase the success of your content marketing by 35% by simply having a documented content marketing strategy and following it very closely. (Source: CMI) We recommend putting together a written plan of action that clearly identifies duties, breaks down tasks, and assigns the people responsible for completing the tasks. For example, if a monthly blog post is part of your B2B content marketing strategy, it’s best to define:
- Who writes the blog post
- What topic the blog covers
- Who selects the blog images
- Who posts the blog to the website
- Who promotes the blog on social media
- Due dates for all tasks
A clear plan of action always includes names, dates, and as many details as possible. This ensures everyone is on the same page and is aware of what they need to accomplish.
Execution & Follow-Through
Once you have clearly documented your content marketing plan and assigned the duties to your team members and colleagues, it’s essential to follow-through. This can be particularly difficult if not everyone understands how the content marketing efforts affect the organization or is strapped for time. If you find that people are missing deadlines or aren’t completing their duties, it’s important to clarify how their efforts impact the content strategy and communicate the impact of content marketing to the business.
In many cases, an assigned blog writer may not understand that blog posts drive 30% of website traffic and have a 2% conversion rate (numbers are an example only). Relaying how B2B content marketing activities impact the organization, sales, and customer retention helps to get company-wide buy-in and improves participation rates.
Return On Investment is at the heart of all marketing activities, including content marketing. Without careful tracking and regular evaluation, it’s impossible to accurately gauge the ROI of your content marketing efforts. A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute discovered that having a documented content strategy nearly doubles the chance that an organization successfully tracks ROI.
What you measure is closely tied to the goals and objectives of your carefully laid out content marketing strategy. For example, if brand awareness is your goal, you may measure website visits, blog views, social shares, and page views. However, if lead generation is your main objective, it makes more sense to measure conversions of visitor to buyer. Regular evaluation is typically on a monthly basis and looks at comparative metrics (this quarter vs. last quarter) in order to account for anomalies or holidays.
Learn more about B2B content marketing, including how to build relationships with content marketing, the top 5 content marketing activities you should be doing, and how to reach more clients with the right content.
Sources: Demand Metric, CMO Survey, CMI and Marketing Profs