Growth and success: two targets for 2019 content marketing strategies. While it’s easier said than done, there are several tips we’d like to share to help you set the stage for growth and success with your content efforts next year.
A Well-Defined and Supported Strategy
Plan: The best step to future success is a well-thought-out plan. This includes a B2B content marketing strategy that is clearly articulated.
Support: The next step is getting support for your plan. Of all the clients we’ve worked with on content marketing strategies, the most successful ones have the support of key internal stakeholders. It’s critical to not only have your sales team, subject matter experts, and leadership aware of your content marketing efforts – they need to understand AND support it. If they don’t support it, you won’t get the results you are looking for.
Determine Objectives: It’s near impossible to determine the success of a strategy if it doesn’t have clearly defined objectives. Determine what you intend to accomplish. Are you looking to build out lead nurturing materials, educational content or thought leadership articles? Know your objective.
Tracking: This doesn’t need much explanation, but it can be overlooked, especially when it comes to content marketing strategies. If you work with an experienced content marketing expert, they can help you with putting the right tracking in place.
Goals/Results: Set a goal of realistic results to measure the success of your B2B marketing strategy. Are you looking to grow organic traffic by 25% year over year? Do you intend to grow qualified leads by 10% every month? Do you hope to attract and close deals with two of your top 10 target prospects?
- Get buy-in internally
- Share objectives/outcomes
- Make sure tracking is in place
- Set realistic goals
Revisit Your Target Audience
Effective content marketing plans know exactly who the target audience is for each content piece. Take a moment to refresh your buyer personas. Write out one for each type of target audience. For example, if you are an HR software company, draft a persona for senior decision makers, software users, and the IT team supporting the users.
Another great option is to talk to your internal teams (sales, service delivery, customer service) and existing clients. Get to know what goals they are looking to achieve (even those not related to your products/services), what is their main objective in their role, and any needs that they have that aren’t being met. Use all of this information to define your target audience. This information will also go a long way to help you figure out what kind of content you need to create that will be useful.
- Refresh buyer personas
- Talk to sales/customer service/clients
- See what goals/objectives/needs clients have
Do a Content Audit
Content marketing isn’t just to educate prospects about your products and services and their benefits. In fact, strong B2B content marketing strategies that address the pain points of the target audience. Keep this in mind when you complete a content audit to figure out what kind of content is missing from your website or resource library, what kind of content is performing well, and what type of content you or your internal team would love to have created.
Building out your existing content is a great way to scale your content strategy and grow your business. Having a mix of buyer personas typically means you need to create a mix of content formats. A CEO may not have time to read a white paper but will read a short-form case study with data. An engineer may not be interested in a short blog about best practices but may download a long-form research guide with technical data. A salesperson may not be interested in a white paper or a blog but may join a webinar to learn tips on automating processes.
Be sure to explore new types of content. Consider trying video if you already have a good stock of white papers and blogs. If your content is purely instructional, consider hosting a quarterly webinar to train users on new features. If you have complicated information to convey and your white papers aren’t getting much engagement, consider infographics to relay this type of information.
- What’s missing?
- What’s thriving?
- What are nice-to-haves/must haves?
- Explore new types of content
Verify Everything Is Accurate/Working
Take a few moments and verify that all your assets are functioning properly, have the correct branding, and are getting information to the right folks in your organization (aka. leads, customer service requests, phone calls). Review all your social media accounts. Do a thorough audit of your B2B website. Test all the forms and the calls-to-action to make sure they are working as you expect them to. Video links get broken, pages get taken down, forms break – so check everything. Nothing is worse than spending $5,000 in ads that are sending interested prospects to a 404 error page.
If you are looking to expand your business, don’t make any assumptions. Don’t assume that your sales team knows how to handle a website lead. Don’t assume that your newsletter sign-ups are getting the latest email newsletters. Don’t assume that website leads are feeding into your CRM – check everything and ensure everyone knows how to handle the information.
- Check all social media
- Check your website (do a website audit)
- Verify proper lead handling
Turn to a Marketing Expert
Lastly, enlist the help of marketing experts. You know your business, but do you know the latest marketing tools, tips, and trends that work? Content marketing experts can help you sift through the noise and utilize strategies and tools that work. There is a lot of fluff out there and you don’t want to throw away $10,000 on an Account Based Marketing strategy that isn’t going to generate any leads. An expert marketing partner is an investment, but can often help you maximize the ROI of your content marketing efforts.