Content marketing is not merely blogging for blogging’s sake. It’s a proven way to increase brand awareness, attract the right traffic to your website, build up authority in your industry, generate new leads, and nurture existing leads.
Whether you are new to content marketing or just looking to increase your existing efforts, this guide is your resource for leveraging content marketing to increase revenue.
This guide explores how to maximize content marketing by:
- Having a clear strategy
- Choosing the right time to launch your strategy
- Effectively launching a strategy
- Creating content that closes deals
- Picking content with a strong ROI
- Thinking about SEO
Effective content relies on a clear strategy
Just as you plan out your budget and expenses for the year, you should plan out your content marketing strategy. An effective content marketing strategy includes projects, dates, task managers, blog topics, content offers, and more.
Why bother planning?
Spending time planning out your content strategy for the next 3, 6, or 12 months will save you time and money and keep you on track. A well-crafted plan is also flexible and adaptable. Things change over time, so agility is key to continually creating relevant content.
Brainstorming to save time
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. A little bit of planning now will save time in the future.
Planning minimizes cost & increases revenue
Employees working late on blogs or content pieces can add up to additional overtime pay and keeping facilities open later. Or, if work is delayed, project deadlines are pushed out and that can manifest into a delay in collecting fees from current clients.
Once you have created your list of blog post topics, assign them to the appropriate team members along with due dates. Share the schedule with everyone who will be contributing and remind them of their duty a week or a few days in advance.
Keep messaging consistent
By creating a clear strategy for producing all 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 ensure you are staying on message and creating 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.
Don’t put off creating your strategy. While a strategy may change slightly over the course of a year, a content strategy will ensure your marketing efforts stay on message and provide value to your potential clients.
Content strategy checklist
Schedule a time to brainstorm a content calendar.
Choose content pieces (guides, white papers, case studies, etc.) to produce each month that are consistent with the blogs.
Select a topic for each monthly newsletter on that month’s content.
List 10 case studies your sales team has requested and add to the calendar.
What’s missing from your website? Include new content pages to create.
Finalize your calendar and assign dates and subject matter experts to each item.
Launching your content strategy
When is the best time to launch a new strategy to get the best results? Generally, launching a content plan sooner rather than later is ideal. However, there are several points in time when it’s best to launch a B2B content strategy.
The center stone of a digital marketing and content marketing strategy is a professional website. If you are in the process of redesigning your website or are about to launch a new B2B website, now is the time to plan for your content strategy.
After a rebrand
It’s not uncommon for companies to rebrand or shift their brand focus to adapt to the market or to gain a competitive advantage. If you don’t already have a content marketing plan in place, immediately after a rebrand is the ideal time to launch a content marketing strategy. Content pieces like blogs, brochures, white papers, case studies, email newsletters, and social media posts are excellent ways to communicate and control the messaging about a company rebrand.
Before launching a new brand or a rebrand, it’s essential to have a clearly defined content strategy in place to ensure the rebrand is a success. Prior to flipping the switch on a rebrand, plan and put into place an actionable content marketing strategy to address the the new branding, anticipate questions, and discuss why the change was necessary. Launching a rebrand with these items in place ensures clarity and easy adoption for your audience.
Product or service launch support
New product or service launches can be a very exciting time, but if you don’t have a content strategy in place to support the launch, you aren’t firing on all cylinders. During a new product or service launch, it’s essential to equip your sales team with the content tools they need to explain the benefits and features of the new product or service. Having well-designed and carefully crafted content pieces ensures the sales team can easily and clearly communicate how and why the prospect should be interested.
During the process of a product or service launch, design a content strategy that includes helpful content resources for the sales and support team. Include things like blogs, press releases, FAQs, product sheets, case studies, and testimonials. to make sure you have a variety of material to address questions, concerns, and any client doubt.
New lead generation
Last, but not least, the best time to launch a content marketing strategy is when you want to garner new leads. Inbound marketing is a proven way to drive new traffic and acquire new client leads. However, before you start blogging or creating press releases, it’s imperative you create a solid content marketing strategy.
3 steps for successful content strategy launch
Once you have your intangible and tangible assets established, we have three golden rules to maintaining your brand integrityrn
1Goals + clear strategy
Start with defining SMART goals for your strategy. They must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. A smart goal for a content marketing strategy is to increase new traffic to the website by 10% in three months. Setting SMART goals ensures you are able to track and measure your efforts.
Set a clear strategy. The strategy should include a general plan of blogging, social media publication, client newsletter distribution, and other types of content pieces. Additionally, the plan should have specific details, such as how many blogs per month, when the newsletters will be sent, and how often to publish on social media.
The most effective content strategies are executed by multiple individuals across several departments. It’s important to get buy-in from not only the individuals who will be directly contributing to the strategy, but from the management team and all others who can benefit.
If the sales team doesn’t understand or support the content strategy, they won’t use the content tools effectively and they will be wasted. If management doesn’t understand the importance of the strategy and support it, they won’t prioritize content-related tasks for themselves or members of their team. It’s best to head off any of these issues by presenting the B2B content strategy and getting internal approval and support.
The most successful strategies are properly and consistently executed. Continually blogging, sending newsletters, and sharing on social media are keys to an effective strategy. The biggest failure for a content marketing strategy is when it falls behind or blogging drops off or gets pushed back. Content marketing is like staying in shape, you’ve got to exercise consistently and often to get results.
Creating content that closes deals
The foundation of crafting great content is content that provides significant value – it helps your prospects to do their jobs better. This should be the underlying value and the driver of all your content creation.
Types of content to create
You can turn any piece of content into a tempting lure for prospects, however, several types of content tend to perform well for attracting visitors and will increase the overall ROI of your content efforts.
A How-To Guide that provides a clear step-by-step process for completing a task or process is alluring for prospects. Create a clear, actionable guide that teaches prospects and customers how to do something related to their job. Many guides are gated, which means they are focused on gathering new leads.
Every product or service will have a short list of frequently asked questions. Create a list of five or 10 common questions and answers. These are great lead nurturing and sales tools to help move prospects down the sales funnel.
In the B2B space, a sale isn’t just a sale, it’s the beginning of a partnership. A list of useful, relevant, recent statistics about your products or services makes a case for your products or services and provides your prospects with real metrics so they can internally make the case for partnering with your firm. By providing your prospects with the tools they need to succeed in their job, you are nurturing them into becoming clients or even client advocates!
Lists are popular because they are organized, easy to scan, and typically offer quick tips. Lists such as “Top 10s”, “5 Ways to” and “3 Things You Need to Know,” are all great ways to communicate a lot of information in a succinct way. The popularity of lists can increase the reach of your blog post, which can improve the engagement with it, and increase the amount of traffic to your site – all good for your return on investment.
Not only do case studies demonstrate the value of your product or services, they also tell potential prospects what they can expect in terms of results and how the whole process works. Again, another great tool for nurturing leads and moving a prospect closer to becoming a new client.
7 tips to create great content
1Know your audience
Create content from your audience’s perspective. Make sure whatever you create matters to them.
2Fill a need
Answer a question, teach a prospect how to do something, make them look good to their boss, and/or make their lives easier.
3Create an enticing headline
Get prospects and clients to check out your content by drawing them in. Headlines that appeal to emotions, are inflammatory, are negative, or discuss a benefit all provide significant draw.
Make it accessible – remove all references to industry jargon or overly technical language (unless your audience is technical).
5Review and revise
Internally vet your content to make sure it’s a great piece of content and delivers the right information.
6Post and promote
Don’t just post it and wait for traffic. Promote it on the right channels – social media, emails, ads, etc.
7Quality over quantity
By focusing on quality over quantity, you can create the right kind of content or content that your prospects will find irresistible.
Pick content with a strong ROI
You likely already have a good idea of what your next content topic should be – you just don’t know it yet. Here’s how to create content that will deliver the best results, be it for lead generation, nurturing, or retention.
What is severely lacking?
A triage style of content marketing creates a clear priority list for content topics. It’s not worthwhile to create entertaining blogs if potential clients have no idea what your software actually does.
What is sales asking for?
Stop ignoring sales. Whether you are trying to determine a content topic for a blog post, premium content piece, or social media campaign, your sales team can provide excellent insight into what potential clients are asking about.
What will make closing a sale easier?
Now, this information may come from sales, but it could also come from product, customer service, accounting, or the management team. This can be a variety of things from a typical project schedule to an estimated budget to a list of deliverables. Whatever content marketing piece you create next, make sure to repurpose it for a variety of different formats to ensure it reaches all potential clients.
Retain clients & make projects smoother
Content marketing isn’t done once a client signs on the dotted line. There are a lot of things that you can create to keep that client and make the relationship smoother. A blog can be a great retention tool to share posts about how to get the most out of your services or answer common questions.
Repurpose or refresh existing content
Not all content is evergreen or ages well. However, that doesn’t mean you need to remove it or take it down. Often, most content can be repurposed into a different format or medium or just needs a refresh to make it relevant and engaging. This is especially effective if you “hit a wall” or run out of ideas. Look at your website, social media, and sales materials to see what is ripe for a refresh or to be re-used in another way.
Always ask “What’s next?”
Don’t ever get complacent with your B2B content marketing. Always be fishing for new ideas and new content pieces or blog topics that will add real value to your team and your clients. Great content ideas come from anyone and anywhere in your company or from prospects and clients.
SEO + Content Marketing
WHAT IS SEARCH ENGINE-ACCESSIBLE CONTENT? Accessible content can be easily crawled by search engine bots. What? Is that even English? Here is what you need to know: accessible content = good SEO. Let’s face it – search engines are the middleman of content marketing. You have to work with them and adhere to their rules in order to get to the end user who is searching for your products or services. Therefore, anything that is great for SEO is also great for your content investment. By simply making your content accessible to search engines, you can increase the ROI of all your digital marketing efforts.
SEO considerations for content
Use headlines and sub-headlines
In the code for your website or in your Content Management System (CMS), use H tags (H1, H2, H3, etc) to categorize your titles and subtitles according to their importance. (The H in H tag stands for “Heading.”) Search engine crawlers look at these header tags for clues on what the content is about and the overall structure of the page.
Schema mark-up provides a map
What Is Schema? According to Schema.org, “Schema.org provides a collection of shared vocabularies webmasters can use to market up their pages in ways that can be understood by the major search engines: Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo.” Schema mark-up is essentially microdata that provides additional information to search engines that people reading the webpage would normally understand. This microdata labels different items on a webpage, such as “name,” “address,” “person,” or “review.”
Why use Schema on your website?
A person looking at a web page can typically identify these things easily, but a search engine cannot. The microdata labels the things in the code so search engines can understand what they are and improve the accuracy of search engine results.
Provide transcripts for video and audio media
Search engine bots can identify video and audio files on a website, but they can’t crawl them for content like they can text. Create and provide written text transcripts of the videos and audio files you host on your website.
Make PDFs accessible with OCR
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. In terms of accessibility and your website, OCR technology is helpful for converting uncrawlable files, like PDFs, into crawlable text. The benefit here is that if you have a lot of information in PDFs, since that makes them easy for users to download, you can now make them easy for search engines to view and understand as well.
Do guest blogging outreach
Guest blogging is outreach to relevant industry websites or publications to pitch original, educational articles the websites will publish and share with their audiences.
Getting your guest blog posts featured on a relevant, industry website is a great way to:
- Expand your audience reach
- Build up your authority on the topic
- Connect with other industry professionals
- Build credible back-links to your website (good for SEO even if they are no follow)
- Drive new visitors to your website
- Gain new followers in your industry
Don’t immediately try to get featured on Forbes or a national publication. Instead, focus on publications that are specific to the industry you serve, whether it be cybersecurity, healthcare, manufacturing, accounting, or another niche.
Keep an eye on your ROI
The return on investment for your content marketing efforts is something that needs to be continually tracked and evaluated. What worked well last year for content offers may not be effective this year. Keep your finger on the pulse of what is improving your ROI and adjust your strategy accordingly.