Content marketing is not a mere trend or buzzword in the marketing world. It’s an effective strategy for building unique, informative pieces that help to educate and nurture potential clients, while also engaging and retaining existing customers. Building and executing an effective, sustainable content marketing strategy doesn’t happen overnight. It takes thoughtful discussion, needs exploration, and collaboration.
Define the Purpose
Before you can build anything, you need to define its purpose. Saying you are doing content marketing simply because you know you have to or because your competitors are doing it is not good enough. At its core, content marketing enables your firm to produce insightful thought leadership and sales tools to guide prospects to your company, to explain your products and services, to share the benefits of partnering with your firm, and answer any questions your prospects may have, just to name a few.
Here are a few common objectives of B2B content marketing:
- Attract new prospects to your company
- Build up your SEO to attract more website visitors
- Establish your company as a thought leader in your industry
- Build credibility with sales prospects, potential partners, and investors
- Support sales efforts and nurture prospects
Defining the purpose of your content marketing before you move forward will help keep you on track when creating your content strategy.
Now that you have defined your purpose, determine what the key performance indicators (KPIs) will be for your efforts. If you are looking to attract more website traffic, your KPI will likely be number of visitors, time on site, and number of pages per session. One thing to keep in mind is that whatever KPIs you set out, one of them will typically be new leads. While content marketing is a great way to build up your brand, increase awareness and drive interest, it’s essential to support the business by attracting new clients in the form of new leads.
Clearly establish what KPIs you are going to be tracking and set a baseline. Then ensure all tracking metrics and any reporting tools you are using (like Google Analytics) are in place on your website.
Allocate Resources & Budget
It’s unlikely that you have unlimited resources and budget at your disposal. Take stock of what resources you have available and what budget you can earmark for your B2B content marketing strategy and execution.
The resources you will need often include:
- Subject matter experts (people who know your product or services inside and out)
- Copywriters (those who will interview the SMEs and write the copy)
- Designers to take the copy and make it look visually appealing
- Strategists to ensure everything is in line with your goals
- Analysts to track your efforts and report
- Specialists to post, optimize, and share all your content.
Sound like a big team?
If you don’t have the internal resources to execute your content marketing strategy, look for an outside source who can handle the day to day strategy and execution of your plan. Working with a content marketing agency can sound expensive, but will always be less expensive than hiring a team of 6 – 10 people to effectively carry out your plan. Additionally, as experts in content marketing, they can remove the trial and error portion and make sure all your efforts fall in line with best practices.
Ask What Prospects & Clients Want
You’ve got your goals, your KPIs, and your resources all set out. Now it’s time to determine what will be included in your B2B content marketing strategy. Even if you aren’t new to content marketing, it’s imperative that you find out what your potential prospects and existing clients want.
There are a few ways to determine what prospects and clients want:
- Ask them in a survey.
- Talk to your sales team – ask what will help with the sales process.
- Do research – find out what keywords people are searching.
- Chat with customer service – what are common questions, problems, etc.?
- See what your competition is doing.
- Look at your analytics – what do people look at on your website?
Your findings should guide you in deciding what content topics to focus on when crafting your content strategy and editorial calendar.
Write Out an Editorial Calendar
A content marketing strategy often revolves around an editorial calendar. The calendar can be a simple list of blog topics or it can be a more detailed list of monthly content pieces that will be created, including blog posts, case studies, white papers, FAQs, guides, interviews, webinars, infographics, presentations, or slideshares. Either way, as long as it is a clearly defined calendar of topics and timelines, it is the best tool for keeping your strategy on track.
Once your strategy is defined, don’t waste any time. Get started and keep going.
Need help with your B2B content marketing strategy? Contact us today to schedule a personalized consultation with our content marketing experts.