If you are looking to generate more inbound leads for your business, it’s a great time to get started with content marketing. Whatever your political beliefs, it’s clear that things are going to be uncertain for the near future, possibly the rest of 2020. However, attracting inbound website leads continues to be an effective way to acquire new clients, regardless of location.
Now is a great time to strategize and set the foundation for getting the maximum ROI from your B2B content marketing plan. Here, we share tips for building a strong foundation for content marketing.
Determine Your Advantage or Direction
Just like building a house, you need a strong foundation. However, you can’t just start pouring concrete. You need to have a clear direction. Are you building a 3,000 square foot house or will it have a 1,000 square foot foundation and have two stories? A defined direction enables you to get started.
The first thing you need to decide is what is your advantage or the direction that you will take with your content marketing. This is a high-level view. Below are a few questions to consider:
- What is the purpose of your content marketing? Attract leads? Attract investors? Build rapport? Create brand awareness?
- What is your advantage going into content marketing? Do you have an elite team of industry experts? Do you have a founder who is well-connected? Do you have engineers who have deep industry experience? Is your sales team technical?
- What direction do you plan on taking your content marketing? Will you focus on heavily researched white papers that average 60 pages? Will concise blog posts work best for conveying information? Do you plan on interviewing experts outside of your company?
When it comes to defining your advantage, this is critical to the success of your content marketing strategy. You can’t be everything to everyone, so stick with your strengths. In terms of the direction you take, you may have a comprehensive, detailed content marketing strategy, or you may focus on posting 1 – 2 blogs a month and sending a newsletter. The direction you take will depend on the resources you have available.
Define Your Audience
In our experience, companies that can’t clearly define their target audience struggle with content marketing. If you don’t know who you are talking to, how can you create anything that is worthwhile to them?
The best strategy is to come up with a buyer persona that is a clear description of your ideal buyer. We’ve found it most effective to start from the top down. Below is a list of audience attributes to consider, arranged in the broadest to most narrow:
- Company industry
- Products or services they sell
- Seniority level (CTO, VP, Manager, etc)
- Job title or position (Engineer, Project Manager, Developer, Customer Service, etc)
- Challenges (Deadlines, compliance, inefficient processes, budgets, etc)
- Personal attributes (background, education, experience, capabilities, etc)
Most companies will produce at least 2 – 3 personas. However, if you operate in 10+ industries, you may have 2 – 3 per industry. At this point, it’s best to focus on your top 2 or 3 revenue sources/industries and start there.
It’s also beneficial to chat with multiple members of your sales team to find out who the real decision makers are vs. the people who they speak with initially. For example, a purchaser may be the first person to make contact and/or take a demo, but the CFO and the engineering team may be involved in the decision to purchase. Having a buyer persona to match each person involved in the decision making process enables you to craft a B2B content strategy that speaks directly to each of them.
Create a Plan
Once you have determined your direction, the main competitive advantage, and who you are speaking to, you can start creating your B2B content marketing plan. It’s critical to complete the steps laid out in this blog before you dive into content marketing. Not taking the time to build the foundation can lead to a disjointed, confusing, and most of all – ineffective content marketing strategy.
Remember, content marketing is not just scribbling out a few blog posts and slapping them up on your website. It’s a strategy that needs to deliver value to your target audience in order to be effective and meet your goals.
Here are a few additional resources to get you started: