There are B2B companies that have much to offer but still can’t beat the competition. The reason? They don’t have a robust B2B content marketing strategy in place.
Content marketing is straight-up the best way to engage with your prospects and turn them into potential customers.
According to statistics, successful B2B marketing spends 40% of their marketing budget on content marketing.
But, unlike B2C companies targeting general consumers who gravitate to entertaining and attractive content, B2B content marketing is a different ball game.
It’s also more than scouring a list of keywords to write occasional blogs or running paid ads on social media once a month.
You need to precisely understand your target audience to develop a solid B2B content marketing strategy that yields results.
In this blog, we will see how you can create a lead-generating, prospect engaging content marketing B2B strategy from scratch.
Why is B2B Content Marketing Strategy Important?
A B2B content marketing strategy is a blueprint to get your content ideas, objectives, and efforts aligned to gain traffic, increase brand awareness, generate leads, and ultimately convert businesses into your customers.
You may be creating content better than anyone in your competitive landscape, but it won’t win unless you have a strategy at play.
A robust content marketing campaign has too many moving parts at once. It is possible to lose sight of your goal and quit sooner on the idea.
For longevity and smoother workflow, you need to know things like:
- Who is your audience?
- What problem will your content solve?
- What type of content will you produce?
- How and when are you going to distribute it?
- Which part of the marketing funnel does it belong to?
With a documented strategy at hand, you can set each piece of content based on your customer cycle and prepare for a content marketing campaign that breeds results.
Moreover, a well-documented strategy allows you to quickly pivot your marketing efforts and adapt in times of crisis, such as the recent pandemic.
Look in this survey how B2B marketers were able to shift their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic because they had a well-documented content marketing strategy handy.
To conclude, a B2B content marketing strategy is a surefire way to create the right content at the right time consistently.
7 Steps to Create a B2B Content Marketing Strategy
69% of businesses with a well-documented content strategy consider themselves as the best players in content marketing.
It’s time for you to join the league!
Let’s dig deep into 7 fundamentals every content marketer should know to create a powerful B2B content marketing strategy.
Step 1: Identify Your Audience
The first and foremost thing is to know – Who is your audience?
I mean, they are the reason why you have started in the first place. The aim is to engage your audience with the help of your content and ultimately turn them into paying customers.
So, make sure you know the people you want to reach and target with your content.
How to start, though? Build a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a dummy character that represents the characteristics of your ideal customer. You can create it based on your existing customer data and competitor analysis.
While creating a persona, these are some of the factors that you need to consider:
Once you zero down on your buyer persona, the road to creating valuable content that resonates with your audience becomes as flat as a pancake.
Step 2: Decide on Your Marketing Goals
Next comes the big WHAT.
What do you want to achieve with your content marketing strategy? It is essential to define your primary content marketing strategy goal from the onset.
So what is it?
It could be getting more exposure, thought leadership, customer engagement, lead generation, sales, conversion, upsell, or many more things.
These are some of the primary goals you can strive for. But, things are not finished here. Every goal you choose should be ambitious on paper yet realistic to achieve in the field.
How do you strike that balance? Buy using the good old S.M.A.R.T goal-setting technique.
Specific: You need to decide tasks based on your goal.
For example, if you want to increase your traffic by 10%, then set up a work objective to improve the weekly blog publishing frequency from 2 to 3.
Measurable: Your goals should be measurable. So if your goal is to increase lead generation, then set a goal in numbers. Say, I want to increase the lead generation by 10%.
Attainable: It’s no guessing game. Find out what has worked for you in the past and build on it.
For example, if increasing the blog social media post frequency pumped up your traffic, then strive to do the same but more.
Relevant: Is your content marketing strategy pertinent to your goals? Don’t just knock on the wrong doors.
Time-bound: Set deadlines for your targets.
Step 3: Understand Your Buyer’s Journey
So you are ready with your goals and know who your audience is, it’s time to find out where your audience is.
No, I am not talking about their geographical location, but their funnel location, aka where they are in their buyer’s journey.
A typical buyer’s journey or funnel includes three stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.
As buyers move from one stage to another their needs change and so is the content you provide them with.
In the Awareness stage, your content focuses on their pain points and helps buyers find their problems.
Next, in the Consideration stage, you use content to give them solutions to solve their problems.
Finally, in the Conversion stage, you create brand-specific content to show why your product or service is the best bet to solve their problems.
Knowing your buyer’s journey adds an extra layer of information to thoroughly understand your buyer persona. This ultimately helps you answer through the content that your buyers are seeking at that moment.
Step 4: Come up With Fantastic Content Ideas
The content you will create is part and parcel of your B2B content marketing strategy.
However, it is also the most daunting task.
Though, with the knowledge of your buyer persona and buyer’s journey choosing the right content format will be simple for you.
Here’s the list of proven content types that work wonders for B2B marketers in different stages of the buyer’s journey (see the image in the previous section for more):
- Blog Posts
- Long-Form Articles
- Original Research
- Case Studies
- Quizzes and Polls
- Templates and Checklists
- Email Newsletters
But first, you will have to identify the topics to create content that will drive value for your core business.
Use content curation tool: You can use content curation tools to find out the topics that are gaining the most traction in your niche. Use the real-time data to tailor your content.
Competitor’s analysis: Competitor’s analysis also plays a vital role in seeing the gaps in your content. You can examine what your competitors are writing about and add the same topics in your content pipeline.
Keyword analysis: Keyword research is the mandatory part of creating new content. Analyze which keywords in your niche are hot and feed them in Google search to find new search terms and phrases.
At SocialPilot, we understood that our readers majorly belong to small businesses or marketing agencies looking for digital marketing advice.
So we segregated our resources, such as blogs, listicles, ebooks, and audio-video content covering knowledge to help the marketers at each stage of their journey.
Step 5: Choose Your Distribution Platforms
Only creating great content won’t do you any good if not promoted wisely.
As the saying goes, “It’s not the best content that wins. It’s the best promoted content that wins.”
The good news is that there are tons of channels to market your content effectively. All you have to do is find which one works the best for you.
Linkedin has been one of the most fruitful platforms for B2B marketers. Social media statistics say that around 89% of B2B marketers rely on LinkedIn for lead generation.
But, LinkedIn might not work for you. Here also, rely on your buyer persona. Find out the platforms where your audience spent most of their time.
It’s always an excellent decision to spread your content distribution on different platforms.
For a busy marketer, things can get hectic to manage so many platforms at once. In such a case, use a social media scheduling tool to make things simpler.
For instance, SocialPilot is a great platform to create and schedule your content posts on multiple platforms simultaneously.
Apart from social media marketing, you should also use email, SEO, paid promotion, Reddit, Quora, and collaboration channels to promote your content.
Step 6: Organize Your Strategy for Better Execution
The next step is to organize everything you have researched so far to convert your content marketing plans into a well-documented strategy.
An organized document keeps every piece of your content marketing in control.
All you need is to create an editorial or content calendar.
A content calendar outlines your goals, buyer personas, the buyer’s journey, voice and tone, keyword research, content ideas, content types, publishing date, and writer’s name.
Having a content calendar makes it transparent and easy for every team member to easily give inputs and pre-plan their tasks.
In a nutshell, a content calendar:
- Keeps you organized and on track
- Avoids last-minute rush
- Gives enough time to brainstorm
- Maintains consistent publishing
- Streamline the writing process
- Gives an idea of the broader picture
- Makes collaboration easier
- Figure out what isn’t working
Step 7: Measure Your Success and Setbacks
When all planned and done, it’s important to check whether your B2B content marketing strategy is worth it.
Did you achieve the SMART goals you set earlier?
For that, you need to keep track of how your content is performing.
95% of successful marketers use metrics to measure content performance. Also, 83% of marketers associate KPIs to measure their success precisely.
Good thing you have already set up content marketing KPIs in the beginning. Now, as you go along, you can easily track which of your content works best and which ones need improvement.
You can do the evaluation every quarter or month to keep a constant tab on your performance. However, do not get upset about not meeting the goals. The idea is to keep improving.
Phew, doesn’t that look like an overwhelming task? Yes, it sure is an uphill task.
On the flip side, content marketing for B2B businesses is the best way to establish yourself as a thought leader and attract qualified marketing and sales leads.
The engagement, trust, and value you generate through your content play a pivotal role in convincing businesses to choose your company over your competitors.
And that indeed makes crafting a B2B content marketing strategy worth it.
So, use all the steps we discussed earlier to create a road map that will let you create a stellar content marketing campaign.