We’ve seen the role of content marketing move to the center of marketing strategy in recent years, for big and small brands alike. Its rise is highlighted by the high amount of capital and talent the domain has been attracting. This trend is unsurprisingly growing in the B2B sector now that its effectiveness has been proven for the whole spectrum of businesses from enterprises to startups. Content marketing, as per a study, has been found to be thrice as effective as traditional outbound methods when it comes to B2B lead generation. It is helping a growing number of businesses to improve their visibility to target prospects and generate more leads in a systematic manner. Not only that, but it also costs significantly lesser when compared to other outbound methods of B2B lead generation.
At the same time, the failure of copycat attempts by unprepared content marketers has made the necessity of a coherent and well-researched content-strategy to succeed evidently. Chasing prospects in a competitive market segment by randomly publishing blog posts or producing inconsistent videos on YouTube is less likely to bring the inbound lead-generation success that businesses hope for. Success with content marketing requires deep market-research, a robust content strategy, and detailed planning followed by consistent implementation. When it comes to the highly competitive B2B domain, 91% of marketers have found it to be helpful when done right. Let’s take a look at some of the key ingredients that can help you craft an effective B2B content marketing strategy for your business.
Step 1: The Who ー Identifying Your Ideal Target Audience
The first step in developing your content strategy is to identify, learn about, and understand your audience. After understanding the informational needs and expectations of your target audience, creating a customer profile or buyer persona is a key requirement in building the initial structure for a robust content strategy. The prerequisite to building a detailed and accurate buyer persona is the process of gathering relevant data on your target business audience, including their purchase preferences.
For B2B marketing, you can create such personas of key decision-makers involved in the purchase process of the companies you’re targeting. The decision-maker could be a procurement manager, a Director of Technology, or even a VP of Growth.
Step 2: The Why ー Setting Specific, Clear, and Measurable Campaign Objectives
Any B2B content marketing strategy is likely to be more coherent if it serves a particular purpose, is clearly articulated, and is communicated to everyone involved in the content marketing efforts of your business. Remember to set quantifiable goals, such as getting 1000 new newsletter subscribers in 4 months. It is equally important to set realistic and effective goals for your B2B content marketing strategy. An example of a relevant and specific goal included in your content strategy could be to rank your website in the top 3 results of Google’s search engine rankings for relevant search phrases, within the next 12 months. You can chart out specific and clear sub-objectives for your campaign and individual content pieces as well, such as improving website-visitor engagement by 40%.
Step 3: The What ー Selecting Content Ideas that match your Goals
With a specific audience and goals in mind, you can focus on finding content ideas for your B2B content marketing campaign. Researching content ideas, formats, and distribution channels can be informed by observing what your competitors are doing and employing effective market-research methods and tools. One example is finding keywords to use in your posts doing keyword-research using online tools such as BuzzSumo, Quora, or Feedly to find trending topics related to your industry.
Instead of getting distracted by own vanity metrics such as likes or views, your content selection process should be guided and measured by two metrics that matter most for your business: lead generation rate and conversion rate.
Step 4: The How ー Creating Effective B2B Content That Converts
The next step in B2B content marketing is to figure out how to create content that will help you convert your website visitors into paying customers. Lead-magnet content such as an e-book, a video series, or an email newsletter offers prospects incentives to make the jump and opt-in to give the business a voluntary audience. It helps to have a compelling landing page that presents and promotes these offerings. The key ingredients that make up the secret sauce of successful B2B content marketing require being mindful of following insights and incorporating them into your content marketing strategy.
- Incorporate Storytelling: A successful B2B content marketing campaign is distinguished by the ability to connect with audiences by incorporating good storytelling. While you strive to educate your prospects, leads, and customers with informative and insightful content, you can connect with them on an emotional level by having their business needs into a captivating story.
- Explore Multiple Formats: To increase the likelihood of the success of your B2B content marketing campaign, you should diversify your efforts and go beyond blogging. You can create easy-to-consume content in different formats such as informative infographics, short explainer-videos, and interactive webinars.
- Focus on Personalization: Regardless of your industry-sector and niche, your target prospect will appreciate your efforts to deliver a personalized content experience. Having an in-depth understanding of your target prospects will enable you to create and share personalized content that addresses how your offer touches their pain points and solves their problems. Using audience data to get guiding insights on creating the right personalized content will go a long way to help you stand out from the rest of the crowd and build stronger relationships with your audience. To offer personalized content, you can classify your audience in demographic and professional segments, purchase-behavior personas, and buyer-journey stages.
- Cross-Pollination of Content: To get the most out of the content you produce, effective distribution needs to be a part of your content strategy. Guest posting on other well-known blogs is one of the most effective means to establish your industry thought leadership and promote your brand to your target audience. You can post on popular websites such as Entrepreneur or you can partner with niche influencers to co-create and share content on their website or social media channel. This form of cross-pollination is important to get your content in front of more people and to establish your industry authority. It will also help boost your search engine rankings by providing external links to your website.
- Tinker, Measure, and Optimize: B2B content marketing is a process that demands tinkering, measuring, and optimizing for metrics that define the success of your campaign. To be mindful and alert about how much your efforts are paying off, defining, and tracking metrics that can help you learn more about how your content is performing is essential. Understanding what is working and what isn’t will give you new tactic ideas to tinker with and will help you optimize your B2B content marketing strategy.
Leveraging content for generating and conversions is an opportunity laying in the open for B2B marketers. Depending on your business and your target audience, you might either need a completely new strategy or just a few minor tweaks to your current marketing campaign. If you’re able to incorporate these key insights into your existing marketing campaigns, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to connect the dots of B2B content marketing and create a successful campaign for your business.
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