Seriously, why should you bother with a content marketing plan? It’s just a couple of blogs a month and maybe an email newsletter, right?
Just as you plan your budget and expenses for the year, you should plan out your B2B content marketing strategy. Find out what a successful content marketing strategy looks like for a B2B firm.
Why bother planning?
Spending time planning out your content strategy for the next 3, 6, or 12 months saves you time, money, and keeps you on track. Let me explain how a content strategy can help your business in the future.
Save Time Brainstorming
Here is a common scenario:
“Hey, it’s your turn to write a blog.” – Manager
“I don’t know what to write about.” – Direct Report
“Figure it out. The blog is due by the end of the day “– Manager
The Direct Report then spends the next few hours trying to think of a topic and over 2 hours writing and editing it. That’s 5+ hours of time to write a 350-500-word blog.
Is that the most efficient use of that Direct Report’s time? Probably not.
Here is a better scenario:
“Hey, it’s your turn to write the blog. The topic is How to Cut Costs and Save Time. The blog is due next month on the 10th. Be sure to discuss our top five tools for cutting costs listed in our sales brochure.” – Manager
“Yes, I have it on my calendar and have set aside 2 hours on Friday to outline and draft the blog. Thanks for the direction on what to include.” – Direct Report
The blog is drafted on time, on topic, and didn’t cut into the Direct Report’s regularly scheduled projects.
Isn’t that magical?
These two scenarios demonstrate how a little bit of planning now will save time in the future.
- Start creating your B2B content marketing strategy by brainstorming topics and jotting down a few ideas for what to cover in each blog. For many people, it’s easier to brainstorm a bunch of topics at one time than to spread it out over several months.
Planning Now Minimizes Costs
In the first scenario listed above, the Direct Report wasted a bunch of time brainstorming and drafting a blog. The Direct Report may have had to stay late to finish up necessary work or delayed getting necessary work down. For many businesses, employees working late can add up to additional overtime pay and the cost of keeping facilities open later. Or, if work is delayed, project deadlines are pushed out and that can cause a delay in collecting fees.
Conversely, in the second scenario, writing the blog only created a minor impact on the Direct Report’s schedule. This may be a minor simplification, but it’s been proven over and over again how planning now can streamline tasks and projects in the future.
- Once you have created your list of blog post topics, assign them out to the appropriate team members and assign dates to them. Share the schedule with everyone who will be contributing and remind them of their duty a week or a few days in advance.
Keep on Track with a Clear Strategy
An effective content marketing strategy includes projects, dates, and topics. For example, your B2B content strategy might include 2 original blog posts, a client newsletter, social media posts, a new case study, and a new webpage every month.
By creating a clear strategy for producing all of these content pieces, you can stay on track and ensure nothing gets lost or dropped. Additionally, by outlining all the topics for your content pieces, you stay on message and create content that your prospective clients are interested in reading or viewing.
- A content marketing strategy is great for SEO. If you are focusing on a particular product or service offering each month, you can tailor your content around that target offering. By focusing content on that offering (and related key terms), you can work towards improving your search engine rankings for it.
Don’t Let Creating a Strategy Overwhelm You
The process of creating a B2B content marketing strategy for your firm shouldn’t make you sweat. Keep it simple. Here is a mini-checklist to help you put together your strategy today:
- Schedule a time to sit down and brainstorm an editorial calendar (list of topics) for your blog.
- From the list of monthly topics, determine what content pieces to produce each month that are consistent with the blogs.
- Write down the topic for each monthly newsletter based on the blogs and determine which blogs and content pieces to feature in the newsletter.
- Start a list of 10 case studies that your sales team has been asking about. Schedule a case study to be created every 6 weeks.
- Look at your website. What’s missing? Write down a wish list of new content pages to create. Add those to the editorial calendar.
- Finalize your calendar, assign dates and who is responsible for which content pieces.
That’s it. Your content strategy has been created.
Is 2016 the year your firm plans on launching a B2B content marketing plan? Don’t put off creating your strategy. While a strategy may change slightly over the course of a year, a content strategy will ensure you, your team, and your marketing efforts stay on message and provide a considerable value to your potential clients.