Data is a tried-and-true way to build the credibility of content marketing. But what happens when the data itself is bad?
Is My B2B Content Effective? [Simple 3-Step Guide]
Content is a vital part of B2B marketing – it defines the way your audience connects with your brand. Creating unique, relevant content about your subject matter is the best way to establish your brand as an authority, attract leads and move them through each stage of your sales funnel. So, is your B2B content up for the challenge? Here’s how to tell.
A comprehensive B2B content strategy is the foundation of your marketing activities. To reach the right person at the right time with the right level of material, you need a variety of content types all working together. Including:
- Guides/White Papers
- Case Studies
- ROI calculators
If developed and distributed correctly – whether through organic social media posts, emails or ad channels – this marketing content will bring more traffic to your website and grow your lead funnel.
So how can you tell if your B2B content is working to do just that? Follow this three-step guide.
#1. Establish What “Effective” Means to You
Not every B2B company views success in the same way. Plus, there are innate differences in “success” for companies that aim to sell a service versus a variety of products. It is important to nail down your business objectives in a list before moving any further.
In fact, your business objectives and content strategy often go hand in hand. A purposeful B2B content strategy gives your content creators the right action items and your business the best results. So, how do you create one? Get the full (and free) workbook here – and in the meantime, ask yourself these five questions:
- Who are your ideal clients and what do they want to know?
- What content do you need to produce to reach your audience?
- Where should your content live or go so buyers can find it?
- What should you do, how often and where do you start?
- What content KPIs are you using to measure performance?
Bonus questions to brainstorm include:
- How do you want your audience to feel after experiencing your content?
- How will your content push your audience to become your client?
Once you have answered these questions, you will not only have a well-crafted B2B content creation strategy but also know what effectiveness means to you. This generally falls into two main categories: quantitative and qualitative effectiveness.
#2. Quantitative B2B Content Effectiveness
Monitoring metrics is an informative and data-driven way to tell if your B2B content is effective. Of course, if you’re getting leads, you’re doing something right. But where are those leads coming from?
It is important to understand how to quantitively track the content you create. In general, some typical content that B2B companies create includes blogs, web pages, infographics, podcasts and videos. The results that each type of content generates are typically monitored a little differently due to the way they are consumed. Let’s explore some KPIs for each:
Informative articles that answer a specific question that your audience is asking.
While blogs aren’t supposed to be overly self-promotional, a good blog will provide real value and attract your audience to engage with your business. You can track the performance of blog posts through KPIs such as:
- Page views: how many people view your blog
- Average time on a page: how much time your audience spends reading your blog
- Returning visitors: how many people come back to get more information from your blog
- Goal conversion rate: the percentage of user sessions that have led to goal conversions (a.k.a. downloads, contact form fills, etc)
- SEO ranking: how the blog ranks on Google
Google Analytics is a popular tool used to track the first 4 metrics for blog posts.
Other SEO-related metrics can be found through tools like Semrush. SEO is probably the most important aspect of blog writing. A comprehensive collection of content that answers questions relating to what you specifically do will show users – and Google – that you are the authority. If you can get your blog posts in the top five search results on Google, you are golden.
Informative pages on your website that provide your audience with details about your brand, services and products.
Web page performance can be tracked through KPIs similar to blog posts, in addition to:
- Page clicks: how many clicks you get on your tracked links
- Session duration: how long a viewer spends on your web page
- Visitor flow: a graphical representation of the path visitors took through your site
- Bounce rate: the percentage of viewers who land on your web page and leave right away
Also, the way that your audience finds your web pages is important.
For example, are you noticing more traffic from organic sources or after some paid advertisements? Did a user find one of your web pages because it showed up in a Google search? Since your web pages are going to be linked within your content across the board, take note of how your viewers are getting to your site. That way, you can pin down the strategy that is working best.
Digital audio sessions where experts discuss a subject matter.
Podcasts are measured through KPIs like:
- Downloads: how many people download the podcast onto a device
- Listens: how many people listen to the podcast
- Subscribers: how many people subscribe to receive your podcast on a regular basis
If you provide a fresh, new take on subjects within your industry, your podcast will most likely grow organically. Podcasting is the latest and greatest way to produce marketing content, and it certainly provides B2B companies with a fun way to speak directly to their audience.
Visual assets that answer a question, cover an informative topic and/or showcase your brand.
There are a lot of different B2B video types you can try, but in general, you can track their success through metrics like:
- Play rate: the percentage of people who clicked “play”
- Watch time: how much of the video a user actually watched
- Likes: how many people “liked” the video
- Shares: how many people shared the video across digital platforms
- Comments: how many people commented (and the sentiment behind what they said)
We definitely recommend posting videos on YouTube – since it’s owned by Google, a solid video will also bolster your SEO efforts. You can also track the popularity of your channel as a whole after you post a new video.
All of this content is valuable, but it’s also important to examine how they perform in other contexts.
Tracking Content Distribution Metrics
Aside from posting on your website or video platform, you’re likely engaging in marketing activities like email and social media. Here’s how to see if your B2B content is effective through these channels.
Whether you’re distributing content through a drip campaign or monthly newsletter, email is still an effective way to personally reach your audience. Track campaign performance through email KPIs like:
- List growth: how many new people subscribe to your emails
- Open rate: how many people open your email upon receiving it in their inboxes
- Click rate: how many people click on links in your email after opening
Ultimately, if you’re sharing valuable content that your audience cares about, you’ll see positive results in your email campaigns. If you’re not seeing positive results, it could be time to change either something about your email or the content you’re promoting through it.
Social Media Posts
Measuring the growth of social media is a little different across each platform (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), but in general, you should track:
- New followers: how many new people start following your page
- Post reactions: how many people react to your content and what those reactions are
- Post reach: the number of people who saw your content on their news feed
- Post link clicks: the number of people who clicked the link you’re promoting in the post
Your social media content should attract new followers and drive those followers to click through to your website, ultimately increasing traffic and hopefully leading to a conversion.
This overview of metrics is a non-exhaustive list, and some metrics are more important than others, especially depending on what you care about as a business.
At the end of the day, the most important part of measuring all this content is discovering what moves a customer to choose your business.
All this data is going to show you, for example, what blog post attracted a new client, what podcast episode brought you a new subscriber, and what video got you the most attention at a trade show. Notice what is working and what is not, so you know what to do more (and less) of in the future.
#3. Qualitative B2B Content Effectiveness
Success is more than just a numbers game – you also must pay attention to the conversations that are happening around your business and what is changing in your industry.
Also, remember that each one of your clients has had an entirely unique experience when going through your marketing funnel. It’s important to get the full story and to find out how clients discover you and how they feel about working with you.
Asking for client feedback is the best way to, well, get client feedback. Upon meeting with a new client, you can ask questions like “How did you hear about us?” and you can send them a survey to fill out to get more information if needed. You should also plan to meet with them on a regular basis to ensure they are continuously happy with your services. Getting client feedback can help you understand the changes you need to make in order to grow and improve your business.
Additionally, if your content is truly valuable, reputable sources and publications will share it. The better your content is, the more people will consider your brand an industry expert, which means your content is going to be at the forefront of your market. This B2B PR approach is much more than just press releases – it is, like all things, part of an integrated B2B marketing strategy that will protect your position as a leader in your field.
Creating B2B content is an ever-growing project that can shape the growth and success of your brand. If you create the right content for your audience, you can create enviable results and become known as an authority figure in your industry.